Bhubaneswar: England knocked out Ireland in a thrilling 4-2 victory in their Pool B encounter to cruise past the knockout stages of the ongoing Men’s Hockey World Cup here on Friday.
In the first half, England took the lead when David Condon smashed the first goal for his team. Liam Ansell, on the other hand, continued his fine form by dribbling the ball and ensuring smart passes to his teammates to keep the Irish team at bay. He had a chance of scoring two goals, along with Mark Gleghorne, but their shots went off target.
In the second half, the script of the match became more intense as both the teams played aggressive hockey to gain an upper hand in the game. While Ireland desperately tried to search for an equaliser, England continued to keep Ireland at bay. Ultimately, in the 35th minute, Chris Cargo netted a goal to make it 1-1.
Ireland’s brief respite was short-lived as Ansell once again came to the fore and gave England their second goal to maintain their dominance in the game. However, Ireland replied back with yet another goal with a beautiful drag-flick from Shane O’Donoghue from a penalty-corner to make it 2-2.
As the match approached towards the end, England further upped the ante by scoring their third goal with a superb deflection from James Gall. Ireland remained in the hunt and nearly scored another equaliser but Michael Darling missed the target.
In the dying moments of the game, England converted a penalty-corner for their fourth goal by Mark Gleghorne, breaking the hearts of the Irish fans. With this, England qualified for the knockout stages of the tournament. Ireland’s first appearance at a Hockey World Cup in 28 years came to an end.
A draw would have sent Ireland through to the next round, but they were unlucky of not getting their shots converted into goals. They have now finished fourth in the Pool B table with Australia topping the group. England, with its victory, moved to the second spot, while China was pushed to the third spot.
The teams that finish second and third in a group will next play crossover matches.
Earlier in the first game, Australia finished their Pool B campaign with a dominating 11-0 win over a hapless China to qualify for the knockout stages. With this result, Australia qualified for the knockout stages while China was eliminated from the tournament.
England will next play against New Zealand, while China will take on France in the crossover matches on December 10.