No end to India's losing streak

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> India suffered their third consecutive defeat in the World Cup Hockey Tournament, going down to England 2-3 in their fourth league match.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:27 IST
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Kuala Lumpur:

India slipped further in the 10th World Cup Hockey here today when England beat them 3-2 and almost extinguished any hopes the team had of finishing in the top six. This was India's first loss in any World Cup to England. Earlier in the day, Australia strengthened their chances of securing a semi-final berth when they walloped Cuba 6-0, taking their points tally to 12. Japan secured their first win when they beat Poland 2-1, while South Korea trounced hosts Malaysia 3-2. England, playing superbly in the midfield, had India under pressure right from the start, when they took the lead in the 10th minute off their second penalty corner. England's forte today was their variation on the penalty corners that had the Indians guessing all the time. Danny Hall's first strike came off a superb variation in the circle. India had three consecutive penalty corners in the 22nd, 23rd and 24th minutes, but all of them were wasted. With two minutes left in the first half, England earned their third penalty corner and almost scored with another beautiful variation. At the break, England led 1-0. Reworking their midfield and with Thirumal playing as center-half, the Indians were all over England. Thirumal had a good game and was the main play-maker for India. After missing a few sharp chances in the England striking circle, India earned their fourth penalty corner in the 45th minute, which Dilip Tirkey with a straight hit shot in for the equalizer. But the defenders had hardly scrambled back to their positions when England, taking advantage, got the ball off the break. Beating Dilip Tirkey and Kanwalpreet Singh, they shot in from the top of the circle. Danny Hall trapped in the circle and shot past Jude Menezes, who let in a ball he should have blocked with all his experience. England led 2-1 and India pulled out Menezes and sent in Devesh Chauhan. India still fought back and created some more chances, but England again off a break moved the ball into the Indian half and created a penalty corner that was shot in by Tom Bertram in the 53rd minute. England now led 3-1. In the 56th minute, India cut England's lead when Baljit Dhillon scored off India's fifth penalty corner. Dhillon's first strike was saved and then he picked up the rebound and fired in. With nine minutes left in the match, India had their sixth penalty corner, but the shot was deflected away by goalkeeper Simon Mason. Coach Cedric D'Souza said India gave away too many soft goals. "We just gave away too many goals off mistakes and breaks. It has been very tough for us as we have had too come back from behind in almost every match," he said. D'Souza said the team fought back in the second half and tried its best to equalize. "This World Cup has not gone our way. The boys have been picking themselves up, but the results are not showing. We still have to play and win and that's we will do". In their four matches in Pool B so far, India have just one point, from their 2-2 draw against Japan in the opener. India lost the second match 1-2 to Korea and went down to hosts Malaysia 2-3 in the third. (PTI)

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