A clinical England thumped debutant Wales 5-0 in the opening World Cup match of Group D at the Birsa Munda International Stadium on Friday.
Wales was carved open repeatedly as England dominated on all fronts, with Sam Ward pulling the strings in midfield.
England raced to a lead as early as 35 seconds when David Goodfield lifted the ball from his half to catch the Welsh defence off guard. His pass found Ward upfield inside the circle, and the midfielder turned and ran by the byline to square the ball for Nicholas Park to lift his finish past the ‘keeper.
AS IT HAPPENDED: ENGLAND VS WALES
After the opening goal, England passed the ball quickly and found its players in space to progress higher up the field. Wales had its moments in the opening half, but every time it penetrated the circle, it was thwarted by an England stick.
The opening 30 minutes saw England win all 11 penalty corners – seven in the last three minutes alone. Welsh ‘keeper Toby Reynolds-Cotterill pulled off big saves to keep out most of the drag flicks. But on the ninth instance, England switched to the second battery, where Liam Ansell rifled in the finish.
The second half was another routine performance for England, with the only blemish coming from Zach Wallace’s baffling penalty stroke miss
Ansell got his second from another penalty corner when Ward cleverly flicked it behind to find the forward, who rode a challenge before smashing it into the net.
Before the end of the third quarter, England added a fourth when Phil Roper collected the ball just outside the circle and thundered a tomahawk past Reynolds-Cotterill. The goal was awarded after a video referral to confirm the shot was taken on the line.
Wales registered its first shot on goal in the final quarter, but it was England that finished strongly with a fifth goal through Nicholas Bandurak. The forward pounced on a defensive error in the circle and took his time before lifting his shot into the roof of the net.
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