Azlan Shah Cup shows the scale of Ireland’s task in World Cup
Men’s team have suffered a series of heavy defeats, conceding 17 goals in four games
Shane O’Donoghue: was on target for Ireland in the 4-1 defeat to world number one side, Argentina. Photograph: Rowland White/Inpho/Presseye
The Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia is a glimpse of what Ireland will experience in this year’s World Cup in India, which begins in late November.
Ireland have yet to win a match with Wednesday’s 4-1 defeat by the world number one side Australia more of the same following defeats to Malaysia, Argentina and England with a combined 17 goals against.
That’s four goals from Malaysia, England and Australia and five from Argentina. Ireland face India this morning before going into the playoff phase of the tournament. India crushed hosts Malaysia 5-1 and drew 1-1 with England.
The results have not been good although, in Ireland’s defence, all the teams they will face, apart from the hosts are above them in the world rankings.
Australia are the world number one side, Argentina are rated two, England seven and India six. Malaysia are ranked 12th in the world, two places behind Ireland.
Australia won their game against Ireland with some ease and were 2-0 up after just 14 minutes with Jake Whetton scoring from play and Daniel Beale extending the lead three minutes later.
Blake Glovers, after a number of wasted penalty corners, scooped high into the net on 21 minutes for Australia to take a 3-0 lead. With 10 minutes remaining the favourites claimed their fourth goal with Jake Harvie steering in a cross from Beale. Shane O’Donoghue scored Ireland’s lone goal in the 57th minute to complete the final 4-1 scoreline.
Ireland do not have the services of David Harte, who was twice voted best goalkeeper in the world in recent years. Still the blend of youth and experience, which makes up the Irish squad, have been given an eye opener and a taste of what they will face come the end of the year in India at the World Cup finals.