India came into this important match on the back of a fast-paced and intensely competitive encounter with England the day before. It was obvious from the first few minutes of the match that Canada would be hard-pressed to contain the Asian side as they sought to stamp their authority on the game from the off.
It was all India in the opening quarter as a trio of penalty corners saw Harmanpreet Singh test the Canadian defence with his first two drag flicks and then throw the ball high and at speed past Ethan McTavish on his third attempt. A green card for Floris van Son at the start of the second quarter was well dealt with by the Canada team. Led by John Smythe, the team showed their ability to dig deep, defend in strong lines and withstand players running at them. However, the tide turned again in the 20th minute when Kumar Varun’s penalty corner was saved but, on the re-award, Lalit Upadhyay was able to make the opportunity count to extend the lead to 3-0.
During this period, McTavish pulled off some magnificent saves and can be credited with keeping his side within touching distance of the rampaging India team. However, there was nothing he could do when Gurjant Singh made his way into the circle and fired the ball home.
Floris van Son plays in his 50th cap for Canada. Photos/Yan Huckendubler
Canada continued to try to take the game to India and Keegan Pereira was given the chance to get on the score-sheet when a penalty corner was awarded at the end of the second quarter. His shot was well saved by Krishan Pathak, who had replaced PR Sreejesh in the India goal.
There was just one goal in the third quarter, this time from another flowing India attack. Akashdeep Singh was the recipient of some clever passing and he made no mistake as he sent the ball home.
The first ten minutes of the fourth quarter was more evenly matched and Canada had attacking chances of their own, with a second penalty corner, from which Roopkanwar Dhillon was unlucky not to score. His shot was saved by the post player. Then Matthew Sarmento nearly found a way through the India defence but his shot flew wide.
India really turned the screw in the closing minutes of the game as they upped the pace once more. Harmanpreet scored his second goal of the match from another trademark penalty corner, Mandeep Singh made it 7-0 and then, on the stroke of full-time Akashdeep scored his second of the contest to make it a resounding victory for India. The result sealed second place in Pool A for India and meant that Canada are currently in fourth position but waiting on Wales’ and Ghana result later in the day. Canada and Ghana will be jockeying over their final pool games for 4th and 5th in the pool, which will determine their crossover with the opposite pool. More to come on Canada’s final classification match.