The Hague, Netherlands, 2 June 2014: England edged past an improved Indian side with last Penalty Corner minute goal by Simon Mantell in their second match of the Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014, being played at the Kyocera Stadium, The Hague, Netherlands.
Both the teams started by attacking each other but the first half was almost a dry run till the 27th minute when finally Mark Gleghorne opened England’s account through penalty corner. While PR Sreejesh has been going through great form but this time he was unable to stop the goal and gave England the lead of 1-0.
In the very next minute England’s Middleton attacked again but PR Sreejesh saved brilliantly yet again. In the 30th minute this time it was India who went on the attack and Dharamvir managed to score a field goal giving India the much required equalizer. The game post that went alive as both the teams were pepped up and wanted to take the lead before going into the break. England closed in again in the final moments of the first half but Sreejesh at his best saved yet another goal and the teams went into break with 1-1 on the scoreboard.
Going into the second half everyone expected more goals to be scored but while both the teams tried their chances but were unable to convert the chances that they got. In the 69th minute when both the teams were aware that they were hardly 90 seconds away from the final whistle England got a penalty corner opportunity.
This immediately got the memories of the last match when India lost the game to Belgium in the final 15 seconds. While the defense including Sreejesh were adamant to not allow history to repeat itself with them and with great relief Sreejesh saved the penalty corner but unfortunately Simon Mantell hit back the ball and this time scored successfully, giving England the lead and the win.
On scoring the winning goal, Simon Mantell said: “You don’t have time to think, the ball just dropped and I knew I had to get a good connection on it and fortunately it went in. That might be the most important goal I’ve scored for England. Goals at the end of a game when you’re level always feel important. The main thing is the three points, though. It was crucial we got the win.”
On England’s performance today, Head Coach Bobby Crutchley said: “It was an incredibly tight game that could easily have gone either way. I thought India played very well, put us under pressure and negated us. We were a bit sloppy in some of our play but in the end we’re delighted to have got the win.”
On Ashley Jackson’s injury: “Ashley’s got a problem with his shoulder. As you can see he’s not flicking the ball. The one he did flick caused some pain. You have to feel for the Indian goalkeeper. That was one of the best saves I’ve seen and yet the rebound still ends up in net. Hopefully with two more days off, Ashley can recover in time for the Malaysia game.”
England Captain Barry Middleton said on performance and staying focussed: “It was a tough game and was hard work for both sides. We were a bit sloppy in the first half and we were upset at half time with the way we were playing. Our use of the ball wasn’t how we wanted it to be, but the second half we felt better and felt like we had more control. We battled hard and even when we don’t play at our best we want to be hard to beat and able to grind out results. That’s how you get through tournaments and we’ve shown that today. We rode our luck at times but we fought to the end.”
“For a team who’s quite young and still growing in world hockey we showed a lot of control and composure to score a goal late on and then see the game out.”
India will take on Spain on 5th June 2014. England men’s next game is against Malaysia on Thursday at 1200 (BST). England’s women play tomorrow in their second Pool B game against China at 1200 (BST). All matches will be shown live on Sky Sports with expert analysis from a host of international stars including Kwan Browne and Chloe Rogers.
Rabobank World Cup Pool standings/Points Table:
|Men’s Pool A|
Men’s Pool B