Saturday, February 25, 2012

A toss between India and France

France 1 Canada 1..
India 4 Poland: 2 (half-time: 1-1)

Italy 4 Singapore 0


India was already qualified for the Final on Sunday, but Poland could still overtake France for the second berth in the Final with a win or a tie tonight.
India was all over Poland in the first fifteen minutes of play, peppering the Polish goal left and right but without reaching the target, or denied by an excellent Mariusz Chyla in the Polish goal.
Poland held tight and surprised the Indian defense on their first attack, earning a penalty-corner. They used an excellent option, Miroslaw Juszczak faking the shot before sliding the ball to Tomasz Dutkiewicz who slammed it in goal over the head of a ducking defender.
India immediately resumed their outrageous domination, but could not capitalize on their multiple chances, including on a number of penalty-corners.
It is only in the 25th minute that Sandeep Singh finally managed a decent attempt, slotting his flick high in the net over Mariusz Chyla.
Indian goal-keeper (and captain) Bharat Chetri nearly thumbled a ball in the dying second of the period, much to the displeasure of his defenders, but half-time was reached on the tied score (1-1) which, if standing until the end, would allow Poland to grab the second Final berth from France.
India continued their incredible series of narrow misses and miss-trapping of penalty-corners in second period, much to the growing concern of the crowd.
Finally Shivendra Singh deflected the ball from a position where it would have been difficult to miss the goal, giving a narrow lead to India. However, Poland immediately forced a penalty-corner and scored on a passive Indian defense by Miroslaw Juszczak to tie the score again at 2-2!
Raghunath Vokkaliga Ramachandra replaced Sandeep Singh on the next penalty-corner and gave back the lead to India, forcing Poland to throw caution to the wind to score again, but it was India who scored the final goal, with a penalty-corner in the final second of the match.
The final win for India (4-2) allows France to stay ahead of Poland in the standings. The Final will therefore be between India and France, while Poland will play Canada for 3rd place.
Player of the Match was Mariusz Chyla, goal-keeper for Poland.
Schedule for Sunday February 26:
15h00: (5th-6th) Italy vs. Singapore
17h30: (3rd-4th) Poland vs. Canada
20h00: (Final) India vs.France (winner qualifies for 2012 Olympic Games in London)