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Group engagements in Pool C completed on Saturday with India thrashing Canada 5-1 and thus earning a direct entry into the quarter-finals of 2018 FIH Men's Hockey World Cup in Odisha.
India started their World Cup campaign with a 5-0 win over African champions South Africa, then played out a 2-2 draw with Olympic silver medallist Belgium, before taking on Canada.
Both India and Belgium have seven points each, but the 1975 champions have a better goal difference of +9. Belgium have +5.
Belgium will be joined by third-placed Canada in the crossover round.
India will play the winners of Canada-Pool D runners-up in the quarters.
Final group matches in Pool D will be played on Sunday. Germany play Malaysia while Pakistan face the Netherlands. Except for Malaysia, the other three teams are all multiple World Cup winners.
After the end of the second round, Germans lead the tally with two wins while the Dutch are second with a win, while the four-time champions Pakistan are third with one draw and one defeat.
In all likelihood, India are likely to face three-time champions and the second most successful team, the Netherlands on December 13 semi-final.
Meanwhile, Belgium will face Pool D third-placed team, most probably Pakistan, in the crossover match on December 11.
After a cautious start, India scored the opener in the 12th minute from Penalty Corner with Harmanpreet Singh hitting the plank.
But Canada hit back with an equaliser in the 39th minute to give India the jitters. India committed a few errors while pushing for more goals. In fact, the equaliser was a result of one such mistake, a misdirected pass from Simranjeet Singh.
The equaliser proved the catalyst which was missing from India's play. Two goals in two minutes as Chinglensana Kangujam's 46th thunderstrike beat the goalie. In the next minute, Lalit Upadhyay produced a crafty play to steal the ball before finishing with a cracking strike. Both the strikes were brilliant field goals, showcasing India's creative play.
In the 51st minute, local lad Amit Rohidas scored from PC to make it 4-1. Then Sumit found his second with a cool tap-in in the 57th minute to complete the rout.
FULL-TIME: India 5 - 1 Canada
0' - Corner for India in the final seconds of the match. Varun Kumar took some time to release the ball. India reviewed for a PC for a possible carry, but the review returned with a short corner.
Another referral from India, this time asking if Varun was pushed by a Canadian player. India lost the referral, Canada had one final run, and it's over.
2' - And India are doing some practice, without the regular goalie Sreejesh. 11 outfield players for India now.
3' - GOAL!! What a play from Sumit, who beat the Canadian captain on the run before releasing it for a waiting Lalit. He just coolly guided home. Second for him.
4' - Sliding tackle from James Kirkpatrick to Indian captain Manpreet Singh and the referee had no hesitation in flashing the yellow card. 10 minutes for Kirkpatrick. Dangerous play.
6' - There was a moment of brainfade from a Canadian player, letting the ball go past, out of the play. But India continued to press for more goals.
8'- Experienced Matthew Pearson won the ball back for Canada. They will need a miracle to change this scoreline.
9' - GOAL!!! What a strike. Local lad Amit Rohidas hit the target from a PC. Moments later, Mandeep won a free hit for India just outside the Canada D.
10' - Those two thunder strikes changed the course of the match and everything else in the pool. India, as it stands, top the pool. Meanwhile, Lalit showed his skills inside the D.
13' -Two goals in two minutes for India. Lalit Upadhyay toyed with Sukhi Panesar to win the ball back inside the Canadian D, and drilled through the defence. And credit to Simran for his run, which rippled the line. A poacher's goal!
14' - Goal!! A superb strike from Chinglensana Kangujam. And equally impressive run from his Manipur state-mate Kothajit Khadangbam, who sent in a brilliant cross.
0' - Lalit just needed to connect the ball and it was goal. But somehow he managed to conspire not to. It was a good run from Simran to breach the Canadian defence. He should have gone for the glory.
2' - India are all over the place now. Sreejesh was called into action, to block a rising ball. it could have gone pretty wrong. India, in their bid to maintain the tempo, failed to measure the experience of their opponents. Dilpreet, then, messed up a move.
4' -And that goal silenced the capacity Kalinga Stadium crowd. And it also changed everything. India are now second in the pool, and it remained so, it's crossover round for India.
But, India continued to apply pressure. Lalit just had a good run, but he had a slip.
6' - Chinglensana and Birendra Lakra are manning the Indian defence line. From a tackle deep inside their half, from a Simran mistake, Canada converted the defence into an attack. Then Floris van Son completed the task. GOAL!!
8' - Surender tried to drill through the Canada defence. The deflected from a Canadian stick, and Simran got the possession. But, he's off-colour today.
10' - Kothajit Khadangbam to the rescue, cutting short a good Canadian pass, just in front of Sreejesh.
11' - Keegan Pereira continued to lead Canadian play, He just dribbled past a coiple of Indian players inside the Indian half.
13' - Wallace still on the sidelines. 10 men for Canada to start with. Amit Rohidas did well to keep the ball. India launched an early attack in the third quarter from the left, but Simranjeet Singh wasted the move.
India had as many as 19 circle penetrations as against Canada's 6, with six shots on the goal. India also had three PCs.
India dominated the proceedings as expected, and they should have increased the lead. But some of the finishing were poor. Indian players were at time over-indulgent too. Canada's attacks were limited.
0' - Hardik Singh engaged, physically, with Canada captain Scott Tupper. India continued to press hard for the second goal with another attack from the left flank. And heavy tackle from 19-year-old James Wallace. Yellow card for him.
3' - Lucky Floris van Son. Wild run and the ball stopped as players lost footing, He kept the ball and Canada breached the circle. Simran, who helped clear the danger, committed a mistake. Canada kept the possession.
5' - Akashdeep Singh played a little flick to beat a Canadian defender. Good skills. But India failed to make the most out of it.
6' - Harmanpreet Singh released a long ball for Mandeep Singh, who sent another long ball for the captain. But Manpreet failed to trapped the ball and another wasted chance for India.
8' - Sumit tried a tomahawk. Good attempt considering the number of bodies around him. Canada goalie blocked the attempt.
10' - A good period of play for Canada. Keegan Pereira and Balraj Panesar doing it for the North Americans, but Panesar got a block from Mandeep.
12' - Shanglakpham Nilakanta Sharma and Hardik played a well-timed one-two, but the young player from Punjab failed to beat Canada goalie. Ball went out of play.
14' - Quick work from Indian forwards. Captain Manpreet Singh failed to reach to Varun's lovely cross-field ball.
0' - Canada launched a counter-attack., but failed to penetrate the D. A narrow lead for India.
2' - Brilliant stick work from Chinglensana deep inside the D, on the byline, and India won another PC. But India made a mess out of the effort.
3' - GOAL! India then called for a review, for a foot inside the D, but returned with a long corner. India keep the review. From the following play, India won another PC, and this time Harmanpreet Singh scored.
4' - Then, in the first turn-over, India once again managed to penetrate the D, but again, it over-work killed it. Canada forward Keegan Pereira had a good run, but was dispossessed by a chasing Indian player.
5' - India won the first PC, thanks to a goal-mouth melee after Birendra Lakra and Simranjeet Singh engaged in some one-two hockey inside the D. India failed to make it count though.
6' - Surender Kumar, what a sensible run to win the ball back. India then played a cross-field pass towards the unmarked Mandeep Singh near the far corner, His drilled however was blocked by Canada goalie.
8' - Mandeep Singh on the run but the scoop pass failed to rich him. India are converting defence into attack.
9' - India finally managed to penetrate the attacking circle with Chinglensana producing a solo run, but the Manipuri failed to link up with his team-mates.
11' - Nerves showing for India, just like in the match against Belgium in the previous match.
13' - Early pressure from Canada. Always tricky. But India managed to thwart off the attack with some sensible clearances.
A simple win is all India need from their final Pool C match against Canada to qualify directly for the quarter-final.
Earlier, Olympic silver medallists Belgium beat South Africa 5-1 in their final pool match to put pressure on India.
As things stand now, before the start of India-Canada match, Belgium top the pool with seven points with a goal difference of +5. India are second with four points. India also have a +5 goal difference.
Welcome to our live coverage of the India-Canada Pool C match of the 2018 FIH Men's Hockey World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar.
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