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Third wins for Great Britain and India in Santiago
05 Mar 2008 03:47

Photo (c) FIH / Fernando Fernández

On day 3 at the WorldHockey Olympic Qualifier in Santiago, India had an easy and prolific afternoon against Mexico, Austria struggled to beat Russia, and Great Britain played a strong game to defeat the host team Chile.

Game 7 – Mexico v. India: 1-18 (half-time: 0-8)

The first game of the day, in scorching heat, started well for Mexico with 3 penalty-corners in a row. They were well executed but did not fool the Indian defense, leaving Mexico still chasing their first goal of the competition. India was not in a rush, and took the lead as soon as they pushed up the pace, scoring two goals by Rajpal SINGH in quick succession.

They then scored at ease, their individual skills and collective speed overwhelming the inexperienced Mexican players, who looked very tired today and far less dynamic than in their first two games. Rajpal SINGH had completed his hat-trick before half-time, reached on the run-away score of 8-0.

The second half was nearly entirely played in front of the Mexican goal. The Mexican players never gave up but could not prevent the score from escalating to 18-0, with 5 goals each for Rajpal SINGH and V.R. RAGHUNATH, and 4 for Prabhjot SINGH. Mexico were rewarded for their perseverance by scoring a goal in the last minute of play, when some untidy Indian defense gave the opportunity to Pol MORENO QUIROZ to score the first Mexican goal in the competition.

Game 8 – Austria v. Russia: 4-3 (half-time: 1-2)

The two teams playing the next game, Austria and Russia, are probably more used to face each other in indoor competitions. Austria was the logical favorite, based on their World Ranking (25th vs. 45th for Russia) but mostly based on their excellent beginning of competition with a surprise win on host Chile. Nevertheless, Russia was first on the score sheet with an excellent penalty corner by Dmitry AZAROV, followed by another goal by Alexey MAMOSHKIN, receiving alone in front of the keeper a ball carried the whole length of the field by Alexander PLATONOV!

Austria reacted immediately and closed the gap with a penalty corner by Michael KÖRPER, but could not really grab control of the play and half-time was reached with a deserved 2-1 lead for Russia. Austria were more dominant in the second half, using quick short passes to keep control of the ball, while Russia were using long balls that were easily intercepted. Austria wasted a few opportunities, including a number of penalty-corners and a ball that rolled on the line without anybody able to push it in goal. They finally came back level in the 49th minute, when Georg JELINEK finished a superb run by Peter PROKSCH.

The two teams then rapidly traded goals, first Dmitry AZAROV gave back the lead to Russia on penalty-corner, and then Peter PROKSCH tied the score once more with a field goal. Austria’s domination was finally rewarded in the 59th minute, when Michael KÖRPER scored on a penalty-corner, his second of the day, giving the lead to his team for the first time of the game. Soon after, Peter PROKSCH scored a sumptuous goal to make the break and seal the fate of the Russian team.

Game 9 – Chile v. Great Britain: 1-4 (half-time: 0-0)

The very important game between Chile and Great Britain was played in front of a large assistance that came after work to cheer the host team trying to stay alive in the competition. After their surprise loss to Austria on opening day, the Chileans could not afford any more misshape, and worked very hard to survive the initial British surge without any damage on the scoreboard. Great Britain had 6 penalty-corners in the first 20 minutes, but could not fool the well organized Chilean defense.

With tempers flaring, Sebastian KAPSCH received a yellow card and Chile were reduced to ten players. They nevertheless managed to threaten Alistair McGREGOR in the British goal on a fast action by Thomas KRUSSIG concluded by a superb shot at full speed that shaved the goal post.

Great Britain was playing with more poise, while Chile were showing signs of nervousness as the game progressed and they were pushed back time after time by the well organized British defense. Simon MANTELL had a good opportunity in the last minute of the period, after a clever build-up by Barry MIDDLETON, but halftime was reached on the tied score of 0-0.

The second half was very intense, played at higher pace in the cooler air of the evening. The Chilean defense was stretched on occasions and Great Britain benefited from more penalty-corners. On one of them, Richard MANTELL finally slotted his flick low inside the left post, opening the scoring. Soon after, on a broken penalty-corner at the other end, the British defense didn’t regroup fast enough and the ball came back to Esteban KRAINZ who just had to deflect it in goal to tie the game, much to the delight of the home crowd.

Their pleasure was short lived as Great Britain regained the lead a few minutes later, Barry MIDDLETON finishing in style a good penetrating run by Jonty CLARKE. They deepened the gap by James TINDALL, after a clever set-up by Simon MANTELL who faked a shot to force the goalkeeper to commit then managed to slide the ball to his partner in front of the empty goal. TINDALL scored his second goal of the night in the 66th minute, benefiting this time of the preparatory work of Barry MIDDLETON.

For their first real test of the competition, Great Britain showed a compact defensive organization and some interesting speed and flair in midfield and in the forward line. They deservingly won the match, spoiling in the process the hopes of Chile to make it to the Final on Sunday.

India and Great Britain are, as expected, at the top of the Points Table, followed by Austria and Chile, while Russia and Mexico are still chasing their first point.

The WorldHockey Olympic Qualifier continues on Thursday in Santiago with the much anticipated game between India and Great Britain, then Austria take on Mexico, and Russia conclude the day against host Chile.

WorldHockey Olympic Qualifier, Men – Santiago, Chile
Results day 3: Tuesday 4 March 2008

Mexico - India 1:18 (0:8)
 9mn  Prabhjot Singh (FG)  0:1
11mn  Rajpal Singh (FG)  0:2
16mn  Shivendra Singh (FG)  0:3
19mn Tushar Khandekar (FG)  0:4
21mn  Rajpal Singh (FG)  0:5
24mn  Shivendra Singh (FG)  0:6
29mn  V.R. Raghunath (PC)  0:7
30mn  Rajpal Singh (FG)  0:8
37mn  V.R. Raghunath (PC)  0:9
39mn  Rajpal Singh (FG)  0:10
50mn  Prabhjot Singh (FG)  0:11
54mn  V.R. Raghunath (FG)  0:12
57mn  V.R. Raghunath (PC)  0:13
60mn  Prabhjot Singh (FG)  0:14
61mn  Prabhjot Singh (FG)  0:15
62mn  V.R. Raghunath (PC)  0:16
65mn  Sardar Singh (FG)  0:17
69mn  Rajpal Singh (FG)  0:18
70mn  Pol Moreno Quiroz (FG)  1:18

Austria - Russia 5:4 (1:2)
23mn  Dmitry Azarov (PC)  0:1
25mn  Alexey Mamoshkin (FG)  0:2
28mn  Michael Körper (PC)  1:2
49mn  Georg Jelinek (FG)  2:2
52mn  Dmitry Azarov (PC)  2:3
53mn  Peter Proksch (FG)  3:3
59mn  Michael Körper (PC)  4:3
65mn  Peter Proksch (FG)  5:3
67mn  Alexander Korolev (FG)  5:4

Chile - Great Britain 1:4 (0:0)
42mn  Richard Mantell (PC)  0:1
47mn  Esteban Krainz (FG)  1:1
50mn  Barry Middleton (FG)  1:2
56mn  James Tindall (FG)  1:3
66mn  James Tindall (FG)  1:4

Standings: 1) India 2) Great Britain 3) Austria 4) Chile 5) Russia 6) Mexico

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