Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Hockey World Cup: England men oust Spain as title form grows

Bhubaneswar — Four years ago on this pitch, England were involved in a final group day fraught with nerves, four goals in four minutes during a manic spell against Ireland. The 2018 collective took a giant leap towards the World Cup quarter-finals on Thursday night with a four-goal blitz over Spain, qualifying without conceding a goal for the first time in the group stages.

This was an almost siesta-like atmosphere compared to Rourkela and once England were out of sight. Spain ultimately folded and into the cross-overs as England again showed defensive grit, midfield dominance and backboard finishes to earn a rest until Wednesday instead of a cross-over match. 

Player of the match Phil Roper and David Condon had given England a sound lead at half-time before Liam Ansell and Nick Bandurak netted twice in as many minutes to sound further warnings of their title credentials. Five days with no hockey and they will be itching to get going next week on this showing.

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