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Hockey World League: Sloppy India lose to England

Last updated on: December 02, 2017 21:52 IST


IMAGE: Rupinder Pal Singh converts a penalty corner. Photograph: Hockey India/Facebook

Sloppy defending cost India dearly as Sam Ward scored a brace for England to hand the home team a heart-breaking 2-3 defeat in a hard-fought Pool B match of the Hockey World League (HWL) Final, in Bhubaneswar, on Saturday.


Ward (43rd, 57th minutes) struck two field goals for England after David Goodfield gave them the lead in the 25th minute.

India's both goals came from penalty corner conversions by Akashdeep Singh (47th) and Rupinderpal Singh (50th).

It was a dull first quarter as both the teams failed to create any real scoring opportunities despite playing fast, aggressive hockey. The Indians were nowhere near to the level that they displayed in their first match against Australia.

If the Indians looked orgainsed and controlled against the Kookaburras on Friday, it was completely the opposite, at least in the first quarter, on Saturday.

While SV Sunil was guilty of holding on to the ball for too long on more than one occasion, Mandeep Singh's ball trap and waiting was found wanting inside the circle.

England, on the other hand, were happy to sit back and defend and put pressure on the Indian defence when the opportunity came.

India will next play Germany in their final pool match on Monday.

Meanwhile, in the other Pool B game of the day, Germany and Australia played out a 2-2 draw.

Marco Miltkau (7th minute) and skipper Martin Haner (58th) scored for the Germany while Australia's goals came from the sticks of Blake Govers (39th) and Aaron Kleinschmidt (49th).

Australia will finish off the pool engagements against England on Monday. 

Belgium, Spain register upset wins


IMAGE: Action between Argentina and Belgium in Pool A of Hockey World League Final in Bhubaneswar on Saturday. Photograph: BCCI

It was a day of upsets in the Pool A matches of the Hockey World League (HWL) Final, in Bhubaneswar, on Saturday, as Belgium and Spain stunned Olympic champions Argentina and European champions Netherlands in their opening matches of elite eight-nation tournament.

While Belgium shocked world number one Argentina 2-3, lowest-ranked team of the tournament, Spain pulled off the biggest upset of the tournament so far by defeating World Cup silver medallist Netherlands by an identical margin.

In the first match of the day, the win enabled world number three Belgium to avenge their loss to Argentina in the title clash of the 2016 Rio Olympics.

It was an exciting, end-to-end affair between the two Rio Games finalists but it was the Red Lions who drew the first blood in the ninth minute when Loick Luypaert converted a penalty corner.

After a barren second and third quarters where both the teams struggled to get an edge over each other, the final 10 minutes witnessed an edge-of-the-seat tussle with the teams pumping in as many as four goals.

After Belgium doubled their lead in the 51st minute through a field goal by Amaury Keusters, Argentina pulled one back a minute later when Maico Casella found the net from a field effort.

But Belgium restored their two goal lead four minutes later through another penalty corner conversion by their dragflick expert Tom Boon.

The Argentines, however, did not give up without a fight and scored again to reduce the deficit a minute later through Gonzalo Peillat's (57th minute) penalty corner strike.

It was Argentina all the way in the last three minutes of the game but Belgium defended stoutly to held on to their lead.

Meanwhile in the second match of Pool A, Spain, ranked ninth in the world, punched above their weight to outclass two-time Olympic champions Netherlands.

Spain scored their goals through Pau Quemada (15th minute), Enrique Gonzalez (35th) and Diego Arana (39th), while Lars Balk (37th) and Mirco Pruijser (55th) were the goal getters for the Dutchmen.

Spain will face Argentina in their next pool match on Sunday, while Belgium will be up against Netherlands. 

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