The Men in Blue haven’t conceded a goal yet in the tournament.

The Indian Men’s Hockey Team played out an entertaining 0-0 draw against England in their second Pool D match of the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela here at the brand-new Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium on Sunday.

Fearless first rushing from Manpreet Singh and Vice-Captain Amit Rohidas, and a solid show in defence helped the hosts secure a crucial point in Pool D.

Although it was India who made an aggressive start to the match, with a structured attack, making inroads in their opponent’s half, it was England who managed to earn as many as five Penalty Corners in quick succession. But, Manpreet’s sublime first rushing denied England from taking the lead. In the 12th minute, India earned their first Penalty Corner of the match, but Harmanpreet missed out on converting the opportunity. Thus, ending the first quarter at a 0-0 stalemate.

England started the quarter on the front foot, creating a couple of scoring opportunities via Penalty Corners. But none could be converted as fearless rushing from Vice-Captain Amit and Manpreet kept the ball away from their net. The latter stage of the second half saw some breathless action with both teams trying to look for an opening. India earned as many as three Penalty Corners, but England’s defence led by Oliver Payne kept the Indians at bay, keeping the scoreline 0-0 at the end of the first half.

A similar story unfolded in the second half, both teams tried to create potential goalscoring opportunities and showcase good attacking and defending skills. Both teams’ defence looked compact in the second half and managed to keep each other’s forwards out of the striking circle. India almost drew the first blood in the dying minutes of the third quarter, but Mandeep’s shot was disallowed by the umpire.

India upped the pressure on England at the start of the final quarter. They had a few half chances, but the English goalkeeper Payne kept the Indians out. India had a good spell of possession, but a structured defence from England denied India from scoring. England, on the other hand, also created some chances but could not cash in on the opportunities. With just 19 seconds to go, they were awarded a Penalty Corner, but Nicholas Bandurak’s shot hit the post, and India managed to clear the danger to take home a crucial point in Pool D.  

At 1900 hours IST on 19th January 2023, India will take on Wales in their third pool D match at the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela.

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