INDIA: India and England played to a goalless draw in their second match in Pool D of the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup on Sunday.
Very little distinguished the two teams after World No. 5 India and England, ranked sixth, failed to break the tie after 60 minutes of intense competition.
England secured its top spot in Pool D with the draw, as they had a higher goal difference than India.
India and England started their campaigns with victories. India defeated Spain 2-0 in their tournament opener, while England beat Wales 5-0.
The Indians began aggressively and kept up the tempo till the final whistle. Akashdeep Singh made early inroads into the English circle, but the defenders kept him at bay. Mandeep Singh then tried unsuccessfully to weave his way into the circle from the wings.
Manpreet threaded a fiery pinpoint pass to Abhishek at the circle’s edge, but the English defence came up big again.
Jack Wallace tried to sneak the ball through the tightest of angles in the second quarter, but Pathak Krishan Bahadur closed the gap between his legs in the nick of time.
There was a scary moment in the third quarter when Rushmere was accidentally hit on his face. He bled profusely through the deep laceration on his left cheek. A few moments later, Mandeep celebrated a goal that the referee disallowed.
The ball flew past the English goalkeeper and into the goal, but India didn’t have a referral left then, and the on-field decision stayed.
India was dealt a blow in the form of an injured Hardik. He fell to the ground in visible pain, and the referees brought in the physios. Hardik hobbled off the pitch, assisted by the physios.
With 19 seconds left on the clock, England won a penalty corner. However, Bandurak only managed to hit the post, floundering a solid goal opportunity.
In their final group match on January 19 in Bhubaneswar, India will play Wales, the pool’s lowest-ranked team, while England will play Spain.
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