Hockey WC: England secure quarters berth after beating Kiwis in crossover clash

Bhubaneswar: England secured a quarter-final berth after registering a 2-0 victory over New Zealand in the first crossover clash of the ongoing Men’s Hockey World Cup here at the Kalinga Stadium on Monday.

In the must-win game, both the teams fought a cut-to-cut battle on the field as they deprived each other of any point despite making several penetrations in the circle area. With 51 per cent ball possession in the first half, England were clearly holding the ground.

With first quarter gone without a goal being scored, the deadlock was finally broken in the 25th minute of the match when England smashed the first goal of the match. English skipper Phil Roper dribbled past three defenders on the right to create a scoring opportunity. He made a cutting pass from the baseline to Will Calnan who, in the end, made a smooth finish.

The game was blown open as both the teams missed a couple of opportunities after the first goal. At the end of the first half, England were leading 2-0 in the match. The second half saw a tough competition as the teams struggled to score. Brilliant chances and exceptional saves were some of the highlights of the second half.

In the penultimate minute of the third quarter, Luke Taylor doubled England’s lead with a superb smash into the roof of the net. The match seemed to be slipping out of the hands of New Zealand as they could not capitalize on the chances created by them on the field. The final quarter did not bring any respite to New Zealand either as they failed to open their goal account against England.

With the final hooter, the scoreline read 2-0 in England’s favour.