India defeated France, 6-2, in its first serious challenge of the competition. India is now the only team with three wins. Canada, France and Poland are tied at six points. Canada scored 15 goals to top the young Singaporean team. Poland earned its second win of the competition against Italy, 7-2.
Singapore vs. Canada: 1-15 (half-time: 1-8)
Canada took its time to get into the match, then scored two goals in less than 30 seconds, by Philip Wright and Mark Pearson, around the seven-minute mark. The third goal was from veteran Rob Short and the issue of the game was beyond doubt within ten minutes of play.
Singapore scored an excellent goal by Chia Kai Bin before Canada scored again, on penalty-corner this time by Scott Tupper. They maintained their pressure on the Singaporean circle and increased their tally at regular interval, scoring eight goals before half-time without exerting themselves too much.
Canada maintained its relentless pressure in second half, playing nearly exclusively in the Singaporean half. They worked as much on their collective play and combinations as on their goal scoring, reached ten goals by Richard Hildreth in the 45th minute of play and fifteen goals by Short with two minutes to spare in the match.
Final score was 15-1, the same as India three days ago against the same Singaporean team, and the highest score for Canada in international match since their win 13-0 against Mexico at the 2000 Pan American Cup in Cuba.
Player of the Match was Mark Pearson, who scored five goals for Canada today.
For more information on SIN v CAN, click here.
Poland vs. Italy: 7-2 (half-time: 4-2)
After its loss on opening day to France, Poland had momentum from its last-second win over Canada, while Italy was still to waiting collect its first point of the competition. Poland did not waste time making their intentions clear: Miroslaw Juszczak scored a penalty-corner in the 6th minute and Szymon Hutek added a penalty-stroke soon after.
Italy pulled to within one goal, but Poland re-established its two-goal lead when Szymon Oszyjcczyk ran through the defense, dodged the Italian goal-keeper and slotted the ball in goal from a difficult angle. The score see-sawed once more, with Daniele Malta scoring on a penalty-corner and Juszczak responding in similar fashion at the other end, for a half-time score of 4-2.
Poland managed to score once more half way through the second period, but had a difficult time controlling play against a very hard working Italian team. Italy missed a golden opportunity to close the gap when Agustin Nunez failed to score on a penalty-stroke well saved by Arkadiusz Matuszak in the Polish goal.
Poland scored two more goals for a final score of 7-2, earning its second win of the competition and a total of six points in the standings.
Player of the Match was Miroslaw Juszczak of Poland.
For more information on POL v ITA, click here.
France vs. India: 2-6 (half-time: 1-3)
Expecting a tougher challenge from France than in its two previous matches, India immediately pushed the French team on their heels and opened the scoring in the first four minutes of play. Soon after, Sandeep Singh added an unstoppable penalty-corner, throwing the adoring crowd into ecstasy. Having taken the measure of their opponents, India relaxed its pressure, giving a chance to the French to gather their thoughts and shake their initial nerves.
France missed a chance on penalty-corner and were saved on the next play by their goal-keeper Matthias Dierckens, left alone to deal with two high forwards. They suffered another goal at the hands of Singh, this time on a penalty-stroke after a defender deliberately obstructed a forward rushing towards goal with the ball.
France had a first chance in the last minute of play by Simon Martin-Brisac running alone in the circle, but cleanly stopped by the keeper, and finally opened their tally by Lucas Sevestre on a last second penalty-corner.
It only took India a few minutes in second period to add two more goals, first by Singh yet again on penalty-corner, then by Sunil Sowmarpet Vitalacharya left with an easy tap-in after a swift exchange of passes amongst retreating defenders. France fought tooth and nail to prevent another goal and were the next ones on the score sheet, Fabien Magner sinking a low flick on a penalty-corner that the Indian goal-keeper could only deflect high on his own net.
Tushar Khandker added a goal with a powerful shot from the top of the circle and the match ended with a clear 6-2 win for India, but a very respectful performance by the French team. India is now the only team with three wins, with Canada, France and Poland in hot pursuit with two wins each.
For more information on FRA v IND, click here.
Schedule for Wednesday February 22:
12h00: Poland vs. Singapore
16h00: Italy vs. France
20h00: Canada vs. India
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