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Rediff.com  » Sports » India out of semifinal race, lose to England 2-3

India out of semifinal race, lose to England 2-3

Last updated on: March 06, 2010 23:02 IST

England edged India 3-2 in an entertaining Pool B match at the 12th men's World Cup hockey in New Delhi on Saturday to not only secure their fourth straight win but also end the hosts' hope of a semi-final berth.

It was India's third straight defeat following the lone win over Pakistan in their opening match.

India lacked the hunger for victory after their back-to-back defeats and looked like a club side in front of their home crowd, committing numerous errors in the all departments of the game.

The Indians seemed to have not learnt from their mistakes in the last two matches as they kept on giving open spaces to their opponents inside their circle. 

India's ball-control and trapping was awful. To add to it, the defence, for the third consecutive day, faltered.      Dhanjay Mahadik and Sandeep Singh were guilty of giving away the ball to their opponents on more than one occasion.

The mid-field was no better -- not only they failed to co-ordinate between the defence and the forward-line, they also lost ball-control at crucial junctures.

However, what was heartening in India's performance was their fighting spirit as they fought till the last breath to dig out at least something from the encounter.

In contrast, England showed their intention from the very beginning of the match as they came up with their first scoring chance as early as in the sixth minute.

For most part of the first half, England caught the Indian defence napping with their one-touch passes.

Going into the match England and India had met six times in the World Cup with the former winning twice and the latter on three occasions.

However, to England's advantage, they had won their last two World Cup encounters with the hosts, whose last win in the tournament against the visitors came way back in the 1994 edition.

The ongoing tournament has seen England in imperious form, winning all of their opening three matches.

And it was the visitors' who drew the first blood, in the 16th minute, James Tindall deflecting a precise cross on the right post from compatriot Nick Catlin.

The match progressed on an even keel thereafter till towards the end of the opening half when both the team had a chance apiece.

In the 29th minute it was goalkeeper Adrian D'souza's brilliance that parried the reverse stick shot by rival captain Barry Middleton.

Four minutes later, England goalkeeper James Fair was equally alert to the dragflick by Diwakar.

England lead by that lone goal at half time.

The second half witnessed attacking play from both the teams.

Seven minutes after the breather a superb dragflick by Ashley Jackson put England 2-0 up.

And five minutes later, Catlin made it 3-0.

Down and out, India hit back in the 54th minute, Gurwinder Singh Chandi latching onto a cross from Gurbaj Singh to score his first goal of the tournament.

Four minutes later, a terrific team effort ensured the hosts' their second goal.

Shivendra Singh, back from a two-match suspension, passed Sarvanjit Singh who in turn set it  up for captain Rajpal Singh to deflect the ball home and reduce the arrears to 3-2.

But the home side, despite many efforts, failed to find the equaliser.

The hosts are now languishing at the fourth position in Pool B tally with only three points in their kitty out of the four matches they have played so far.