Monday, June 2, 2014

Another late goal allows England sink India 2-1

There are always lessons to be learnt from every game, but for the Indian men’s hockey team it’s more a case of ‘lessons unlearned’. Even as the team was licking the wounds of a late John-John Dohmen goal that enabled Belgium to pull through 3-2, another disaster awaited them as they were ‘determined’ not to learn from that game and frittered away all their good work to another ‘late’ goal – you have heard it right – only the name has changed – Simon Mantell did what Dohmen did to us two days back.

The upshot is that India lost their second consecutive match in the 2014 World Cup, and with it whatever little hopes the team had of reaching the semifinals have gone up in smoke.

Things started on a promising note for India as they enjoyed bulk of the possession early on, hustling England out of their stride with quick passing play. The hard work resulted in three back-to-back penalty corners, and each time the injection left a lot to be desired, leading to us bungling those scoring opportunities.

Skipper Sardar Singh worked manfully in the midfield and served as an ‘engine’ for all Indian raids. He fed Akashdeep Singh with a nice through which the latter slammed it wide. Indian looked good to go 1-0 up but Mandeep Singh blazed it over the English cross bar after being nicely set up by Dharamvir Singh.

India were made to pay for their profligacy when Glennhorne put England ahead close to half-time. India ensured the English ‘joy’ was short-lived as Sardar essayed a menacing run down the middle and fed Dharamvir, who banged it home from the top of the striking circle.

Sreejesh kept India in the contest as he foiled England’s second PC at the stroke of half-time as both teams took the break with a 1-1 scoreline.
Indian forwardline lacked cohesion with the experienced SV Sunil looking grossly off-colour leaving Dharamvir rely on feeds from Sardar to penetrate the English defence.

The youngsters Akashdeep and Mandeep shone only in patches, but were never really able to impose themselves on the opposition.

Yuvraj Walmiki drilled a fine reverse shot which was just off the England goal – perhaps the best chance India had in the second half – for a change Sunil coming up with cross from the left.

Just when it looked India would get their first points in the tournament, Simon Mantell poured cold water on those hopes - his reverse shot breaching the Indian citadel after Sreejesh foiled the first attempt off a short corner.

India will now play Spain on Thursday.

In other men's matches of the day, Australia beat Spain 3-0 while Belgium pipped Malaysia 6-2. In the women's section, hosts the Netherlands swamped Belgium 4-0, Korea beat New Zealand 1-0 while Australia beat Korea 3-2.

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