Spain run rings around India

Hockey World Cup: Brasas boys have mountain to climb after second loss

Spain run rings around India

Pau Quemada (second from right) scores Spain’s final goal during their 5-2 drubbing of India in the World Cup in New Delhi on Thursday. PTI

Tight in defence and sharp to pounce on any errors in attack, the Olympic silver medallists silenced another massive crowd with a 5-2 win that pushed India further away from semifinal qualification from Pool B.

Beaten by Australia in the previous match, India have just three points from the win against Pakistan and their progress depends on other results in the pool.

Spain, in contrast, recovered from the defeat against Pakistan for their second win and are on par with Australia at six points. England top the pool with nine points.
Neither the roar of the crowd, nor their precarious position in the pool could inspire India on the day. If they were playing to a plan, it was not visible at all on the pitch. All they did was play into Spanish hands.

Pathetic defending was the root cause of India’s problems. Neither Sandeep Singh nor Dhananjay Mahadik could keep a check on the Spaniards. They weren’t sharp with their clearances either. Poor marking added to India’s woes.

In contrast, Spain kept the Indian forwards on a tight leash, hardly allowing them room to work their way forward. Upfront, captain Pol Amat was in great touch as Spain made light of the absence of Santi Freixa and Eduard Tubau. Supporting him in great fashion was David Allegre, whose searing runs had the Indian defence in trouble time and again. In the goal, Francisco Cortes stood like a rock, thwarting Indian designs in penalty corners time and again.

Spain gave early indication of their intentions as they launched steady attacks. But they had to wait till the 20th minute to take the lead. A Sandeep Singh error had allowed Spain to gain possession and Albert Sala went on a solo run to slam the ball past PR Sreejesh in the Indian goal.

India had chances to draw level, including a penalty corner, but Cortes made a couple of smart saves to keep the hosts at bay. And at the other end, Amat popped up unmarked on the right to tap home an Alex Fabregas free hit from the left to put Spain 2-0 in the 35th minute.

Sandeep strikes

India started the second half in the best possible way with Sandeep Singh reducing the margin off a clean penalty corner strike in the second minute after resumption.
But Spain showed who were the masters of the day, finally getting their set piece drill right off their fourth attempt, through Juan Lainz in the 41st minute. Three minutes later, Spain struck another blow through Ramon Alegre and the match was well and truly over for India.

Gurwinder Singh Chandi’s goal almost immediately off a Tushar Khandekar cross raised the hopes of the fans but Spain ensured that there were no more alarms, slamming in another goal through Pau Quemada in the final minutes, completing India's humiliation.

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