India played out a goalless draw against England in an entertaining Pool D match to remain in contention for a direct quarter-final berth in the FIH Men's Hockey World Cup, in Rourkela, on Sunday.
England got eight penalty-corners as against India's four, but the home team's penalty-corners defence was impeccable as both the sides failed frittered away chances galore at the jam-packed Birsa Munda Stadium.
England and India are now on four points each from two matches. The team that tops the pool and qualifies directly for the quarter-finals. That will be decided on January 19 when India plays Wales while England take on Spain, at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
If two teams are on equal points and have won same number of matches, the side which has a better goal difference will be ranked higher.
England have a goal difference of plus-five after beating Wales 5-0 in their opening match as against plus-two of India, who emerged 2-0 winners against Spain.
It was England who dominated in the first quarter as they got five penalty-corners one after the other. India defended them quite well as Manpreet Singh was the first to rush out and narrow down the angle.
Mandeep Singh won India's first penalty-corner towards the end of the first quarter but Manpreet's stop was not the best one, forcing captain Harmanpreet Singh to abort his drag flick.
As soon as the second quarter started, Wallace Zachary's hit from inside the Indian circle came off Krishan Bahadur Pathak high and England got their sixth PC but again wasted it.
England kept entering the Indian circle and got their seventh penalty-corner but first rusher Amit Rohidas was quick enough to fend off the strike.
It was end-to-end stuff for a few minutes before Harmanpreet earned a penalty- corner for India, the second of the match, but fluffed it.
After Nilam Sanjeep Xess made a last minute clearance in the Indian 'D' in the 24th minute, Hardik Singh attempted a fierce reverse shot from the top of England circle, only to miss the target by a whisker.
India pressed and earned their fourth PC but England were able to clear after a scramble inside the circle. It was then the turn of Varun Kumar to try his luck but his shot failed to cause any harm.
India were the dominant side in the second quarter but could not score as the two sides failed to break the deadlock at half time.
David Condon had a try in the 37th minute but went wide.
India were unlucky not to have taken the lead the next minute as Hardik's double shot was saved by the England goalie.
The match was spiced up and it was the turn of England to get a golden chance as the Indian defence allowed Sam Ward to take a reverse shot from a one-on-one situation with goalie P R Sreejesh but it went wide.
India responded quickly and it was Mandep who had a glorious chance to score in the 41st minute as he got a free hit just near the top of England 'D' but he missed the target.
The full capacity crowd of 21,000 thought India had taken the lead in the last minute of the third quarter, which was contested evenly, after the ball landed into the English goal but the umpire ruled that it had already hit an Indian foot.
India were one man down in the last few minutes of the match and England pressed for the winner but failed to breach the home team's defence. They got a PC in the last minute but wasted it.
Spain hand Wales second defeat
Earlier, Marc Reyna and Marc Miralles scored twice each as Spain outplayed Wales 5-1 in a Pool D match to register their first victory in the tournament.
Reyna sounded the board in the 16th and 38th minute while Miralles scored in the 32nd and 56th.
Skipper Alvaro Iglesias got the other goal in the 22nd minute.
Wales's lone goal was scored by James Carson in the 52nd minute.
Wales suffered their second defeat in as many outings.
Spain had earlier lost 0-2 to India in their tournament opener, while Wales were defeated 0-5 by England.
Spain will take on England in their final pool match on January 19 in Bhubaneswar, while Wales will face India.