Junior Hockey World Cup: India thrash minnows Canada

Lucknow: India thrashed minnows Canada 4-0 to give their campaign at the 11th FIH Junior Hockey World Cup a rousing start here on Thursday.

India led the Pool D match through a Mandeep Singh (35th minute) goal on the brink of half-time before striking thrice through Harmanpreet Singh (46th), Varun Kumar (60th) and Ajit Pandey (66th) in the second period.

The Indians dominated proceedings right from the start and pushed the Canadians onto the backfoot.

But the visitors produced some gritty defending to prevent the Indians from scoring for most of the first half.

The hosts earned two penalties in the early stages but could not capitalise on them. Canadian goalkeeper Iqwinder Gill produced a superb save to keep out an effort from Harmanpreet.

The relentless pressure by the Indians finally bore fruit almost at the stroke of half-time when Mandeep punched in a rebound to open the scoring.

The hosts dominated the second half as well. They earned two consecutive penalty corners a little after the restart but could not capitalise on them.

They doubled their tally a few minutes later when Harmanpreet scored from a penalty stroke.

The Indians created several more chances before Varun struck from a penalty corner to score the third goal for the hosts.

Pandey then rounded off the tally in the closing stages when he struck a field goal after some excellent build-up play.

In another Pool C encounter earlier in the day, England beat South Africa 4-2 in an exciting clash.

Edward Holer (5th, 9th) converted a couple of penalty corners in the first 10 minutes to help England establish their domination in the early stages.

Peter Scott (11th) then scored a field goal a couple of minutes later as England opened up a comfortable 3-0 lead.

The South Africans reduced the margin thanks to a field goal by Matthew de Sousa (13th) before Ryan Crowe (56th) struck in the second half to give them a glimmer of hope.

But Jonathan Griffiths (62nd) scored a late field goal to make the issue safe for England.

In other matches on the opening day, defending champions Germany defeated Spain 2-1 in a battle of heavyweights in Pool C.

The Germans, who have won the last two editions of this tournament, took the lead through a field goal by Anton Boeckel (25th) a little before the half-hour mark.

Manual Bordas Fabregas (48th) restored parity for Spain in the second half before Timm HerzBruch (63rd) clinched the issue for Germany.

New Zealand beat Japan in another Pool C match thanks to a second half goal by Oliver Logan (55th).