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Odisha World cup

France, England through to quarters

England and France set up crucial quarterfinal clashes with the world’s top two ranked teams Argentina (FIH Hero World Ranking: 2) and Australia (WR: 1) respectively after seeing off their respective opponents in the knock-out phase.

England set up a repeat of the 2014 world cup bronze medal match against Argentina with a 2-0 win over New Zealand. England started the better side against the Black Sticks but tactical play from both ends ensured a barren first quarter.

England took the lead in the second quarter thanks Will Calnan’s brilliant finish. The lead was almost doubled but Liam Ansell’s effort flew wide of the target. Stephen Jenness came close to levelling the scores on three occasions in the third quarter. England doubled the lead courtesy a penalty corner; Adam Dixon’s effort rattled the right post before Luke Taylor smashed home the follow-up to put England firmly in control of the match. New Zealand replaced their goalkeeper with an outfield player in the latter stages, but England’s defence held firm to secure a berth in the competition quarter-finals.

France (WR:20) and China (WR:17) took to the turf for the day’s second match. The competitions lowest ranked teams faced each other to fight for place in the quarterfinal against the competitions top ranked team.

France were favorites due to their historic win over Argentina in the Pool stages but the early stages of this match proved that China who lost 11-0 to Australia earlier had improved defensively. The match stayed goalless in the second quarter, although France certainly had numerous chances.

The deadlock was finally broken in the third quarter from the stick of Nicolas Clemont, who deflected Maximilian Branicki’s cross-shot into the China goal. China had two penalty corners to level in the final quarter, but it was not to be as France, the lowest ranked team in the competition, were into the quarter-finals.

The final two cross-over play-off matches take place on 11 December, with Belgium (WR:3) taking on Pakistan (WR:13) with the winner playing Germany in the quarter-finals. Netherlands (WR:4) will face Canada (WR:11) in the second match with the winner setting up a quarter-final clash against host nation India (WR:5).

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