England Men will play Argentina in the Odisha Hockey World Cup quarter-finals after beating New Zealand 2-0 in the first crossover match on Monday in Bhubaneswar, India.
The first quarter saw both teams settling on their gameplans, with Mark Gleghorne’s penalty corner shot the only real chance of note.
With both teams playing attacking hockey in the second quarter, the deadlock was broken in the 25th minute when Phil Roper chipped the ball across goal for Wlll Calnan to volley home at the right post to put England ahead.
Two minutes later England came close to doubling their lead, Surbiton’s James Gall finding Liam Ansell, who after running to the right, slipped the ball past the right post in trying to elude the Black Sticks’ defenders.
New Zealand had chances in the third quarter, Stephen Jenness firing past the right post from the top of the circle in the 34th minute and then seven minutes later having further chances to equalise. First, he almost caught the England defence flat-footed with a deflection which sailed wide of the left post and then from the next attack, forced a save from goalkeeper George Pinner before completely missing the goal from the rebound.
England had two chances to score from penalty corners in between, Surbiton’s Luke Taylor mis-hitting the ball before the getting a second chance from a subsequent penalty corner which saw his shot saved by New Zealand goalkeeper Richard Joyce.
However it was third time lucky in the 44th minute when from England’s fourth penalty corner of the match, Taylor was on hand to smash the ball into the goal after Adam Dixon’s shot struck the right post to give England a two goal lead.
With just under ten minutes to play, New Zealand replaced Joyce with Cory Bennett as a kicking back, a position which Bennett held for just over three minutes before having to go off with an ankle injury after being struck during England’s fifth penalty corner as the Black Sticks’ lead runner.
Shea McAleese took over the blue kicking back bib for the last six minutes and thirty-nine seconds, but New Zealand’s faint hopes finally ended twelve seconds from time when Pinner saved a final penalty corner attempt to confirm England’s victory.
Surbiton’s Harry Gibson was not used during the game and Gall was in the starting lineup. Zach Wallace, who forced some fine saves from Joyce came on as a fourth minute substitute with Taylor joining him a minute later.
More information about the tournament, including confirmation of push back details for England’s quarter-final match on Wednesday 12 December can be found at the FIH website
The matches are being shown live on BT Sport and the schedule for all their channels can be found here
The England Hockey match report can be found here