Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Hosts India played out a thrilling and hard-fought goalless draw against England in their high-voltage second Group D match of the FIH Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup 2023 at Birsa Munda stadium in Rourkela on Sunday. 

In the first quarter of the high-octane encounter, none of the teams could score a goal with England getting more opportunities. In the second quarter, India missed plenty of chances, though they put on a better show. 

The third quarter saw India being further better on the attack but a goal was always missing. In the fourth quarter, England attacked relentlessly only to be thwarted by agile and alert Indian defenders.

There was hardly any difference to separate between both the teams as they failed to break the deadlock after 60 minutes of intense battle.

While England got as many as eight penalty corners, India earned four penalty corners in the match. However, both the teams failed to convert a single of those opportunities into goals against some brilliant defense.

However, the draw ensured the top spot for England in Pool D on account of a better goal difference than India.

English keeper Oliver Payne was awarded player of the match.

“We had a good game overall but are a little disappointed not to have capitalised on the scoring opportunities we had today. It was a game we could’ve won, but it’s a hard-earned point and we will take it,” said Payne.

Both India and England had made winning starts to the marquee event. The hosts had swept aside Spain 2-0 in their opening match, thanks to goals from Amit Rohidas and Hardik Singh. On the other hand, England had resorted to a more aggressive style of hockey to thrash debutants Wales 5-0.

India will take on Wales, the lowest-ranked team in the pool, in their final group match at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on January 19.

In another match of the pool at the newly-built Birsa Munda stadium Rourkela, Spain had spanked Wales 5-1 earlier in the evening.