Hockey World Cup 2018: New Zealand beats France 2-1

Hockey World Cup 2018: New Zealand vs France: Kane Russell and Stephen Jenness scored for New Zealand in a 2-1 win against France at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar.

The recent high for the Black Sticks was the silver medal at the Gold Coast CWG this year.   -  Getty Images

FULL-TIME: New Zealand 2-1 France

Fourth Quarter

59' GOAL FRANCE! Victor Charlet scores a consolation from a penalty corner. New Zealand reviews the goal to see if the ball was trapped inside the penalty area, but the replays show it is a legitimate stop and France has its first World Cup goal in 28 years.

56' GOAL NEW ZEALAND! Stephen Jenness controls a long ball from the midfield and unleashes a powerful backhand at the far post which beats the goalkeeper. That should potentially be the game for the Black Sticks.

54' Back-to-back penalty corners for France. Victor Charlet places his drag flick towards the left bottom corner, but Victor Joyce is up for it and makes an easy save.

52' Kane Russell's energy seems to have woken up his team with two pin-point crosses from the right flank and a similar dribble that saw him open the scoring in the second quarter.

48' Another chance goes begging for France as Pieter Van Straaten unleashes a reverse hit at the far post but the shot is saved. Goalkeeper Richard Joyce is livid at his defence for leaving too much space inside the area.

Third Quarter

43' New Zealand looks happy by conceding possession and allowing France to come after it. Les Bleus just need one strike to make this match interesting going into the final quarter.

38' France wins its first penalty corner of the game, but captain Victor Charlet is unable to place his drag flick and New Zealand scurries to clear the danger.

35' Etienne Tynevez almost got the equaliser there! The forward was within the reach of a right wing cross which dissects the New Zealand defence, but misses it by a whisker.

32' France puts its higher-ranked opponent under pressure in the opening minutes of Q3. New Zealand soaks up the pressure and manages to keep France from entering the penalty area.

HALF-TIME: New Zealand 1-0 France

Second Quarter

29' New Zealand's goalscorer Kane Russell is shown a green card for a brash stick check. The assistant umpire has a word with him explaining why he is off for the next five minutes.

22' France pushes for an equaliser despite facing the danger of a New Zealand counter. Timothee Clement goes to a reverse hit from between his legs, but his shot lacks the pace and accuracy to trouble Richard Joyce in the goal.

17' GOAL NEW ZEALAND! Kane Russell goes on a mazy dribble on the right flank and scores at the far post.

First Quarter

15' The French might be the least-ranked team in the tournament, but here it has sent a danger message to New Zealand as Timothee Clement almost put France 1-0 up from a Francois Goyet's cross.

12' France has a shot from outside the 'D' area, but is unable to get a stick touch inside the area.

9' France has held its lines against the Black Sticks in the opening exchanges, but the difference between the sides is visible as the Europeans lack creativity upfield.

5' New Zealand's Stephen Jenness tries a reverse hit from close range but France's goalkeeper Arthur Thieffry blocks the effort with his boot.

1' Commonwealth Games 2018 silver medallist New Zealand begins the proceedings.

The players are on the pitch for the national anthems.

Match Trivia:

  • New Zealand's best finish at the World Cups has been seventh which it managed four times from its previous nine apperances.
  • The Black Sticks hit a high note recently after winning the silver medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.
  • World No. 20 France was at its best in the 1920s and ‘30s, finishing fourth in three Olympics (1920,1928, 1936) and has qualified for the World Cup after a gap of 28 years.
  • The team coached by Antoine Francois finished seventh at the World Hockey League Semi-Final in Johannesburg to secure a qualification for the 2018 Hockey World Cup.
  • This is the first time New Zealand and France are facing each other at the World Cup.