Lucknow [Uttar Pradesh]: Rated as strong favourites for the title, India kicked off their campaign at the Men’s Junior Hockey World Cup on a promising note as they registered a crushing 4-0 win over Canada in their Pool D clash at the Major Dhyan Chand Astroturf Stadium here last evening.
Following an energetic and colourful opening ceremony, India and Canada took to the field to contest the final match of the day.
The Canadians were resilient in the first half, but India took control of the second and were deserving winners.
Mandeep Singh (35th minute), Harmanpreet Singh (46th), Varun Kumar (60th) and Ajit Pandey (66th) all scored a goal each to gain full three points from the encounter. Mandeep won the `Man of the Match` award.
India will now take on England in their next pool match on Saturday.
The day’s action began in Pool C, with New Zealand battling to a hard earned 1-0 win over Japan. The New Zealanders scored the only goal of the game in the 55th minute, with Oliver Logan finding the target with a well taken drag-flick.
The Japanese came close on numerous occasions in the latter stages, but the junior Black Sticks held on to make a winning start to their competition. “To absorb that much pressure was pretty good for us,” said New Zealand’s David Brydon. “Normally we’d be leaking a few so to keep a clean sheet is awesome.”
Reigning champions Germany also made a winning start to their title challenge, but were made to work hard by an organised Spain. Anton Boeckel’s 25th minute strike was cancelled out by Spain’s Manual Bordas I Fabregas in the 48th minute, but German Olympian Timm Herzbruch scored seven minutes from to give his team all three points.
England also claimed a 4-2 win over South Africa. Edward Horler scored two near identical penalty corner efforts in the 5th and 9th minutes before Peter Scott made it 3-0 two minutes later. A fine solo goal from Matthew de Sousa reduced the deficit in the 13th minute and things got very interesting when Ryan Crowe made it 3-2 with 14 minutes remaining. However, Jonathan Griffiths’ fine strike from the top of the circle sealed the win for England.(ANI)