By Elton Gomes
India registered a comprehensive 5-1 victory over Canada to march into the quarterfinals of the 2018 Hockey World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Saturday.
Lalit Upadhyay scored twice while Harmanpreet Singh, Chinglensana Singh, and Amit Rohidas scored a goal each, and India registered a thumping win against the World No.11 team. In their final pool match, India were off to a superb start and scored a goal in the first quarter itself.
Harmanpreet Singh scored in the 12th minute through a penalty corner, giving India an early lead in the match. However, after the opening goal, the second quarter went goalless as both teams failed to find the back of the net.
In the third quarter, Floris van Son stunned the Indian team, and scored the equaliser for Canada. In the final quarter of the match, Indian attackers pushed forward and scored four goals in quick succession to register a convincing 5-1 victory.
Belgium defeat South Africa 5-1
In the earlier match on Saturday, Olympic silver medallists Belgium thrashed South Africa 5-1 in their last Pool C match to remain in the hunt for a direct quarterfinal berth at the men’s hockey World Cup.
Alexander Hendrickx (14th, 22nd minutes) scored a brace while Simon Gougnard (18th), Loick Luypaert (30th), and Cedric Charlier (48th) managed to score for Belgium.
South Africa, on the other hand, stunned Belgium just 36 seconds from the start through Nicholas Spooner’s field strike.
Malaysia hold Pakistan; Netherlands trashed
On Wednesday, Pakistan were held to a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Malaysia in their second match of the Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar.
Pakistan scored the first goal in the 51st minute through Muhammad Atiq’s goal before Malaysia struck back with a goal after Faizal Saari converted a penalty corner.
The draw means, both Pakistan and Malaysia remain in the hunt for the knock-out stages, having collected a point from the game.
Pakistan now stands at the third spot while Malaysia sits at the bottom of Pool D.
In the earlier game on Wednesday, Germany thrashed Netherlands 4-1 in a completely one-sided Pool D match.
After this comprehensive victory, Germany topped Pool D with two wins from as many games, while Netherlands are placed second with three points.
After securing a win against the Netherlands, Germany became the first team in this edition of the World Cup to earn direct qualification into the quarter-finals.
Mirco Pruijser drew first blood for the Dutch in the 13th minute. However, they failed to extend their lead as the Germans gradually piled on the pressure from the second quarter onwards.
Germany’s Mathias Muller found the back of the net to bring his team on level terms in the 30th minute.
After a goalless third quarter, the fourth period saw Germany completely dominate over their opponents as Lukas Windfeder’s powerful dragflick into the bottom right corner made the scoreline 2-1 in the 52nd minute.
Two minutes later, Marco Miltkau extended Germany’s lead before Christopher Ruhr converted a penalty stroke in the 58th.
France stun Argentina; Spain eliminated
A resurgent France defeated Argentina with a dominating 5-3 margin in a Pool A match on Thursday.
Argentina won an early penalty corner in the first quarter, but Gonzalo Peillat missed the chance as his dragflick faced a stick deflection from the French runner.
In the 12th minute, Argentina won another penalty corner. As Peillat passed it to Maico Casella on the right side, the angle of the strike made it difficult for Casella to score, and the ball was eventually blocked by France.
In the second quarter, French captain Hugo Genestet dribbled his way through a crowded Argentinean area and opened the score-line for his side in the 18th minute of the match. To double the lead, Victor Charlet, in the 23rd minute, managed to score from the second penalty corner with a brilliant dragflick into the right bottom corner.
In the 47th minute, Argentina won another penalty corner. This time they made no mistake, and Peillat converted the chance into the third goal for his side. France’s Francois Goyet scored the fifth goal for his country and ended the match with a 5-3 victory.
In the earlier game, Spain, who drew 2-2 with New Zealand, crashed out of the tournament after finishing fourth. Both France, who finished second in the group and third-placed New Zealand will play crossover games. Despite the loss, Argentina topped Pool A and secured a spot in the quarter-finals.
Australia trounce China 11-0
A brilliant performance saw Australia trounce China 11-0 in a Pool B match on Friday.
Blake Govers scored a hat-trick (10th minute, 19th and 34th), Tim Brand (33rd, 55th) scored a brace, while goals from Flynn Ogilvie (49th), Jake Whetton (29th), Aran Zalewski (15th), Tom Craig (16th), Dylan Wotherspoon (38th), and Jeremy Hayward (22nd) helped Australia secure their second highest win.
From the start of the match, the Australians dominated the game and continued to press their opponent’s defence regularly.
Australia topped the group with nine points. Meanwhile, China will face France, who finished second in Pool A, in the cross-over, with the winner meeting Australia in the last eight.
In the second match on Friday, England knocked out Ireland after securing a 4-2 win.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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