In the shoot-out for top spot in Group B, Ireland cruised to a comfortable 4-0 victory over Russia, netting twice in each half, to take the laurels ahead of France who were pegged back by Scotland to record a 3-2 success.
In the earlier of the two games, the Irish withstood the stifling heat well to nip into the lead when David Ames set up Mikey Watt for a simple opener.
And they dominated for much of the game. Ronan Gormley set the second goal in motion, his disguised pass found Peter Caruth alone on the right wing and he laid on a perfectly weighted diagonal pass for Chris Cargo to tip in at the back post.
In the heat, Russia were not really helping themselves with three players binned in the first half alone and they fell further behind in the 44th minute.
It was another cracking effort. Eugene Magee smacked it into the corner from the circle’s edge after Ames jinked past two defenders, laying on a first time shooting chance for the Banbridge man.
And Peter Blakeney completed the rout in the 63rd minute from the first penalty corner of the game, zipping past Roman Rogov’s diving stick.
France, meanwhile, produced a blistering second half performance to bounce back from a half-time deficit. Fergus Dunn’s rising drag-flick was the only goal of the first half. But three goals from play in quick succession from Tom Genestet, Lucas Sevestre and a third of the tournament from Matthieu Catonnet put France well in control.
Dan Coultas added another corner goal to Scotland’s tally late on and they piled forward looking for an equaliser but the French defence stood firm for the three points.
In Group B, the US got off the mark in the competition but were unable to get the three-goal they needed to boost themselves off the foot of the Group A table, their 1-0 win leaving Austria third in the standings.
Patrick Harris created and scored their 44th minute winner, earning the penalty corner with a surge into the circle and duly drove home a low drag-flick.
With the European side needing a win to move second in the group and the Americans needing more goals to affect their standing, the closing phases were tough and tetchy with plenty of cards dished out.
Michael Korper went closest to a leveller, his drag-flick denied by a combination of post and defensive post-man 15 minutes from time. Another couple of chances bounced around the front of Tom Sheridan’s goal but none were snapped up in spite of the Americans being reduced to nine men and conceding late penalty corners. The result confirmed the Czech Republic as group runners-up with China top.
That was because earlier the Chinese denied a late Czech charge to hold on and guarantee top spot in Group A.
They held out a two penalty corners on the final hooter. Both were kept out with just four defenders in the goal as the experimental rule came into effect whereby a player breaking the line is sent to the halfway and not replaced.
But without key striker Tomas Prochazka, binned for dissent, the Czechs were unable to find a way through Yongbo Yin’s defences. In truth, it would have been a major steal. China dominated throughout drawing several brilliant saves from Tomas Hanus, standing in for the experienced Filip Neusser.
He was unable to deny a neatly worked Long Sun diving corner deflection. China, though, were unable to put the game to bed despite Yang Dong, Zhixin Sun and Fenghui Lu’s best efforts.
And 15 minutes from time, the Czechs snatched a corner from which Prochazka took a big hit from the Chinese runner but still managed to plant the ball down the middle of the goal for 1-1.
It means Ireland face the US – who feature former Dublin-based youth player Liam Walsh in their number; China play Scotland, hosts France are up against Austria in an alpine battle while Russia and the Czechs is the other game.
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