Prime News, International and National Sport, Hockey, Bhubaneswar (Odisha), December 11:- England registered a comfortable 2-0 win over New Zealand on Monday in the first cross-over match and entered the quarter-finals of Men’s Hockey World Cup 2018 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
In the second cross-over match, France managed a narrow 1-0 win over debutants China to book their place in the quarters, where they will be up against two-time defending champions and World number 1 Australia.
England eased past New Zealand through Will Calnan’s (25th minute) field strike and penalty corner conversion by Luke Taylor (44th minute) and will face Argentina in the first quarter-final on Wednesday.
The Black Sticks tried to bounce back but they could find the net after entering the England circle.
England earned their fourth penalty corner just a minute away from the final quarter and Taylor scored after David Condon’s initial try was saved by New Zealand goalkeeper Richard Joyce.
New Zealand came close to reducing the margin in the 49th minute but Stephen Jenness’ shot from inside the box was easily parried away by England goalie Pinner.
With two goals down, a desperate New Zealand took out their goalkeeper Joyce nine minutes from the final hooter for an extra player but the move backfired as England became the only team to earn two penalty corners without a goalkeeper but Cory Bennett put his body on the line and took a heavy knock to keep England at bay.
In the final minute of the match, New Zealand secured another penalty corner but Pinner made a smart save to keep a clean slate and keep intact England’s record of never finishing below eighth in the World Cup.
On Monday, they started on a bright note against World number 17 China and took the early initiative by earning four back-to-back penalty corners as early as in the second minute but wasted all the opportunities.
China made a subdued start to the game and allowed France to dominate the possession, relying mostly on their counter-attacking ability to stun their opponents.
France finally broke the resolute Chinese defence in the 36th minute through Clement.
The move was started by Viktor Lockwood, who got to the baseline with a blazing run down the left flank and cut back to Maximilien Branicki in the centre. Branicki unleashed a fierce reverse stick at the far post which was deflected by Clement into the net.
A minute later, China secured their first penalty corner of the match but failed to capitalise on it. The third quarter witnessed three penalty corners — one to France and two to China.
In a desperate need for a goal to take the match into shoot-out, China pressed hard and earned two penalty corners in succession minutes away from full time but the French goalkeeper Thieffry was upto to the task on both occasions to keep a clean slate and ensure a last eight berth for his side. (Inputs: Agencies, NGB)