France eked out a narrow 1-0 win over debutants China in the second crossover match to advance to the quarterfinals of the men’s hockey World cup here on Monday.
The lone goal of the match came in the 36th minute from the stick of Timothee Clement. France might be the lowest ranked team in the tournament at 20, but they had already shown the world that ranking hardly have any significance by stunning Olympic champion Argentina 5-3 in the pool stages. France will face two-time defending champions and world number 1 Australia on Wednesday.
The Frenchmen started on a bright note against world number 17 China and took the early initiative by earning four back-to-back penalty corners as early as in the second minute but wasted all the opportunities.
China made a subdued start to the game and allowed France to dominate the possession, relying mostly on their counter-attacking ability to stun their opponents. In the 19th minute, a great opportunity.
After cutting inside the box from the right flank, Masson, instead of passing the ball to his teammate, went for glory and hit straight at the body of Chinese goalie Caiyu Wang from a tight angle. China came close to scoring in the 21st minute from close range after Ao Suozhu controlled a long ball over the French defense and made his way into the circle showcasing 3D skills.
Two minutes from half-time, France was unlucky as Etienne Tynevez’s deflection from a Jean-Baptiste Forgues pass hit the crossbar.
England sail past New Zealand
A dominant England sailed past New Zealand 2-0 in the first cross-over match to book their place in the quarterfinals.
England scored through Will Calnan’s (25th minute) field strike and penalty corner conversion by Luke Taylor (44th) to register the comfortable win. England will face Olympic champions Argentina on Wednesday.
World no.7 England was by far the better side against New Zealand in the opening two quarters, creating more goalscoring chances than their ninth-ranked opponents. England had the first scoring chance in the fifth when they earned their first penalty corner but they failed to utilize the opportunity.
After a barren and event-less first quarter, England drew first blood in the 25th minute when will Calan deflected in a high ball from skipper Phil Roper from the Left flank. Two minutes later, a Liam Ansell strike from close range went just went inches off the target as England wasted a golden opportunity. The Black Sticks tried to forge a comeback towards the end of the second quarter and in the 28th minuter a Nick Ross’ strike from the top of the strike was padded away by England goalkeeper.
From Online Sources