England and China advance ahead of Ireland from Pool B

©: Frank Uijlenbroek / World Sport Pics



England and China took the crossover places from the Hockey World Cup Pool B in dramatic style as they edged out Ireland in Bhubaneswar.

For China, they were made to live on their nerves as they were crushed 11-0 by Australia. It meant a draw of any description would see them eliminated and, at a number of times, it looked possible that England and Ireland could serve up that result. Whoever lost, meanwhile, would be eliminated.

David Condon opened the scoring in the last minute of the first quarter with a strong finish from a pull-back from Will Calnan following a quick counter-attack.

The start of the second half was full of excitement. Ireland had to put pressure on to try and find an equaliser to ensure a place in the next round. They managed to do so in the 35th minute through Chris Cargo.

However, two minutes later, Liam Ansell gave the lead again to England thanks to a fantastic hit into the roof of the net.

This was not enough to discourage the Green Machine who, just a few seconds later, equalized again with a drag-flick from Shane O’Donoghue from a penalty-corner.

But England went immediately on the attack again and scored a third goal only one minute later with a superb deflection from James Gall. Ireland nearly equalized again seconds before the end of the third quarter but Cargo volleyed wide.

In the last minute of the game, England converted a penalty-corner for their fourth goal by Mark Gleghorne. That meant that England qualified for the cross-overs while Ireland were eliminated.

England’s Luke Taylor said: “Today we took our chances. That really helped us and that will give us confidence going forward. We’re not going to worry about anyone else. We’re going to go out there and play our game and do the best we can, really.”

On Saturday, Pool C comes to a close with Belgium facing South Africa and India taking on Canada.