India go down fighting to England
India suffered their third successive defeat in the men's hockey World Cup when they went down fighting 2-3 to England in a Pool B match at the National stadium in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.
In earlier matches in the same pool, Australia whipped Cuba 6-0 while Japan beat Poland 2-1.
India have just one point from a 2-2 draw with Japan in their opening match in the competition and have no chance of making it to the semi-finals.
England have nine points from four matches.
England's victory, their first over India in any World Cup, sets up a three-horse race between them, Korea and Malaysia, with the Aussies looking good to top Pool B.
England threatened the Indian goal twice in the opening minutes and forced a penalty-corner in the fifth but could not score from it. With the Indians taking time to settle down, England continued to apply pressue and forced another penalty-corner in the 10th minute. This time Danny Hall was on target to put England into the lead.
The Indians soon found their bearings and launched an onslaught on the English goal. They forced three successive penalty-corners between the 23rd and 25th minutes but without success. Kanwalpreet Singh hit into goalkeeper Simon
Mason, Baljit Singh Dhillon flicked high but saw his flick deflected away and Daljit Dhillon came close with a flick from an indirect variation. They then maintained the solid pressure but their forwards just could not get the ball into goal.
The second session was a battle royal as the Indians went all out. They forced a penalty-corner in the 44th minute and this time Dilip Tirkey drove hard and true to bring them level.
However, their joy was shortlived as England scored again a minute later through Danny Hall.
And despite the Indians making more of the play, England went further ahead in the 52nd minute through Tom Bertram from a penalty-corner. India goalkeeper Jude Menezes was immediately replaced by Devesh Chauhan after the goal.
India managed to reduce the margin in the 56th minute through skipper Baljit Dhillon from a penalty-corner but that was as far as they could get despite launching an all-out search for the equaliser.
England sustained considerable pressure in the last five minutes but held on thanks to some great keeping by Simon Mason.
Mail Sports Editor