On day 2 at the WorldHockey Olympic Qualifier in Santiago, Great Britain collected another easy win against Russia, but Chile and India struggled more than expected to win against Mexico and Austria.
Game 4 – Great Britain v. Russia: 8-0 (half-time: 4-0)
Great Britain and Russia opened the day in the scorching heat of the Chilean summer, and the pace of the game suffered accordingly. Russia did not seem to have recuperated from their valiant effort of the previous day against India, and Great Britain controlled the proceedings without exerting themselves, scoring two penalty-corners early by Barry MIDDLETON and Glenn KIRKHAM (celebrating his 100th Cap for GB).
The game turned into an untidy contest, with unforced errors on both sides. Great Britain scored two other goals before half-time, a superb field goal by Matt DALY and another penalty-corner on a direct hit by Mark RALPH.
The second half was a very impassionate affair, giving few opportunities for excitement to the crowd. Great Britain added 4 goals to their tally while Russia had their lone goal disallowed by the video-umpire. The British team now has two wins, against the two weakest teams in the competition, but will certainly be more tested in their third game against Chile on Day 3.
Game 5 – Mexico v. Chile: 0-4 (half-time: 0-1)
For the second game of the day, the facility was filled to capacity by a Sunday crowd that came to enjoy a beautiful summer afternoon and cheer the host team. Despite the gap in rankings and experience, Chile struggled to break through a well organized and dynamic young Mexican team. Once again, Moises VARGAS GARCIA was outstanding in the Mexican goal. He had to concede a penalty-stroke in the 23rd minute, but Ian KOPPENBERGER saw his shot hit the post.
Nothing was going Chile’s way, and they spoiled a number of clear opportunities, perfectly built up but always missing the last touch. Once more, it fell down to Chilean Captain Felipe MONTEGU to put his team back on track, with a straight shot on a penalty-corner, but the one-goal lead was a very meager advantage for a team hoping to challenge the favorites.
Things didn’t get better for the host at the beginning of second half, with Mexico building interesting attacks and threatening the Chilean goal, including on a well-taken penalty-corner that went just wide. With pressure progressively switching back towards the Mexican defensive zone, it was again Felipe MONTEGU who managed to relieve his team (and the crowd) with a decisive shot from the top of the circle that left no chance to the goal-keeper.
Chile was denied another goal during the longest time by the well organized Mexican defense, playing with a lot of poise and backed by stunning goalkeeping. It is only in the last two minutes, when they played with a… two men advantage, that Chile managed to increase their tally by Matias AMOROSO, then Felipe MONTEGU who completed his second hat-trick in so many games.
Despite collecting the three points of the win, the Chileans can’t be too happy with their performance today. Meanwhile, despite two losses, Mexico is so far the good surprise of the competition. On average 23 years old and with limited international experience, they played without inhibition against their more experienced opponents and produced an entertaining style of hockey.
Game 6– Austria v. India: 3-7 (half-time: 2-2)
The last match of the day started with a bang when Robert BUCHTA opened the scoring for Austria in the second minute of play, after collecting a good pass by Benjamin STANZL. India equalized soon after on a penalty-corner by Dilip TIRKEY, but the Austrian team had given a clear indication that they were not exceedingly impressed by their illustrious opponents of the day.
After Dilip TIRKEY added another penalty-corner, much to the pleasure of the large flag waving and drum beating Indian contingent in the crowd, Austria increased their pressure and earned a series of penalty-corner, leveling the game on a strong direct hit by Christian MINAR. The Indian attackers were launching their trademark fast runs with the ball, but the Austrian defense managed well to cut them from their partners when approaching the circle.
No more goals were scored until half-time, reached on the tied score of 2-2, a pleasant surprise for most observers, who were not expecting the Austrians to hold their ground so effectively against the mighty Indian squad.
Ignace TIRKEY was at the conclusion of a superb Indian attacking wave to finally break the deadlock in the 41st minute, but the game was nothing but a walk in the park for the higher ranked Indians, who stayed during the longest time under the threat of the fast paced Austrian counter-attacks. As was already the case yesterday, the Austrians, possibly more used to the shorter indoor games, faded dramatically in the last fifteen, letting the floodgates open for the Indian attackers, with 4 goals in so many minutes by, Shivendra SINGH (2), BHARATH and Rajpal SINGH.
Christian MINAR closed the gap with another straight hit on penalty-corner, for a final score of 7-3 for India, after a very entertaining game well appreciated by the crowd.
After the second day of competition, Great Britain and India are leading the points table, but the top teams have yet to meet each other. The WorldHockey Olympic Qualifier continues on Tuesday in Santiago when Mexico meet India, Austria take on Russia, and host Chile conclude the day against Great Britain.
WorldHockey Olympic Qualifier, Men – Santiago, Chile
Results day 2: Sunday 2 March 2008
Great Britain - Russia 8:0 (4:0)
7mn Barry Middleton (PC) 1:0
11mn Glenn Kirkham (PC) 2:0
25mn Matt Daly (FG) 3:0
31mn Mark Ralph (PC) 4:0
37mn Barry Middleton (FG) 5:0
41mn James Tindall (FG) 6:0
46mn Matt Daly (FG) 7:0
65mn Glenn Kirkham (FG) 8:0
Mexico - Chile 0:4 (0:1)
29mn Felipe Montegu (PC) 0:1
46mn Felipe Montegu (FG) 0:2
68mn Matias Amoroso (PC) 0:3
70mn Felipe Montegu (PC) 0:4
Austria - India 3:7 (2:2)
2mn Robert Buchta (FG) 1:0
9mn Dilip Tirkey (PC) 1:1
23mn Dilip Tirkey (PC) 1:2
28mn Christian Minar (PC) 2:2
41mn Ignace Tirkey (FG) 2:3
51mn Shivendra Singh (FG) 2:4
53mn Bharath (FG) 2:5
53mn Rajpal Singh (FG) 2:6
55mn Shivendra Singh 2:7
60mn Christian Minar (PC) 3:7
Standings: 1) Great Britain 2) India 3) Chile 4) Austria 5) Mexico 6) Russia
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