x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

India too good for Pakistan in World Cup

Sandeep Singh scores from two penalty corners as India beat fierce rivals Pakistan at the men's hockey World Cup, while England have a surprise win over Australia.

India's Gurwinder Singh Chandi, left, is challenged by Pakistan's Syed Abbas on Sunday.
India's Gurwinder Singh Chandi, left, is challenged by Pakistan's Syed Abbas on Sunday.

NEW DELHI // Sandeep Singh scored from two penalty corners yesterday as India beat fierce rivals Pakistan 4-1 at the men's hockey World Cup, and European champions England had an upset 3-2 win over Australia. Shivendra Singh gave India the lead in the 25th minute after capitalising on a penalty corner rebound, and Sandeep Singh made it 2-0 just before half-time with a low shot. Prabhjot Singh struck in open play in the 37th after a pass from Arjun Halappa, and Sandeep Singh scored with a drag-flick in the 56th. Pakistan pulled one back through a penalty corner conversion by Sohail Abbas three minutes later. India last beat Pakistan in a world cup game 35 years ago in Kuala Lumpur. This win in front of a huge partisan crowd at the National Stadium also was sweet revenge after Pakistan inflicted the most crushing of defeats, a 7-1 thrashing in the 1982 Asian Games at the same venue. The India coach Jose Brasa, however, asked his boys to keep their feet on the ground and not get carried away. "We have to see this win as just another win from which we got three points. My boys have to keep their feet on ground and celebrate tonight. But from tomorrow we have to think about the next match and move ahead," said the Spaniard. Brasa was particularly happy about the fact that the Indians kept their emotions under check and played cleverly to outsmart the Pakistanis, who had won the last three encounters. "Players were calm and not emotional. We were clever in the mid-field, cutting their passes. We had complete control of the game and am happy that we ended on a winning note," he said. The captain Rajpal Singh said that the gameplan was to create more short corners. "We had an aim to create more penalty corners and give Sandeep Singh more opportunities," he said.

World No 2 Australia, who won a record tenth Champions Trophy in December, dominated the first half with speedy forays but failed to convert any of their five penalty corners. Captain and forward Jamie Dwyer finally put them in the lead through a penalty stroke before Ashley Jackson equalised through a penalty corner after some solid goalkeeping by England's James Fair. Tindall then converted a penalty corner and made it 3-1 when following up for an opportunistic goal. Dwyer cut the lead with four minutes remaining through a penalty corner but England defended well in the final minutes for their first win against their traditional rivals in the World Cup since 1975 and only their fifth in 52 meetings.

In another Pool B match on the opening day, the Olympic silver medallists Spain recovered from a slow start to beat South Africa 4-2. * With agencies