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India, England to meet in final
March 09, 2008 07:47 IST
India ended its league campaign on a winning note, beating Chile 4-1, en route to the final of the World Hockey Olympic qualifying tournament, at the Prince of Wales Country Club, in Snatiago, Chile on Saturday.
With a berth in Sunday's final already confirmed following Britain's 4-0 win over Austria, the Indians played freely and with confidence, but missed far too many scoring opportunities.
Drag-flick specialist V Ramachandra Raghunath was again in the thick of things, scoring two goals (23rd minute, 61st), including one from India's only penalty-corner to take his tournament tally to 10. Prabhjot Singh (9th minute) and Bharat Chhikara (23rd) scored one apiece.
For Chile, which defended with great fortitude, Felipe Montegu converted their lone penalty-corner in the 63rd minute much to the delight of the partisan crowd.
India thus finished second overall, behind Britain (15), with 12 points, followed by Austria (9), Russia [Images] (6), Chile (3) and Mexico (0).
The Indians rested Gurbaj Singh and Shivendra Singh for the game and the reshuffled half-line was quite solid overall despite a few blemishes.
Meanwhile, playing at half-pace, Britain beat Austria to complete their league engagements and finish unbeaten in the six-team league.
Leading 3-0 at half-time, Britain scored through James Tindall (5th minute), Ashley Jackson (12th), Richard Mantell (22nd) and Rob Moore (69th).
Looking ahead to the final against India, Britain coach Jason Lee said it would be a close game that could go either way.
"We have met India a few times in the past, and each time, the contest has been well-fought and fairly even. It will be much the same in the final. We need to play far better than we did on Thursday when we beat India 3-2," the coach said.
Later, in an inconsequential game, Russia recorded their second win in five matches by defeating winless Mexico 9-1.