New Zealand negated all threats from France to win Pool A's second encounter, overall fourth, of the ongoing Hockey World Cup 2018 at Bhubaneswar's Kalinga Stadium by a 2-1 margin. France paid the price for their ordinary penalty corner conversion.
If Spain and Argentina played out a thriller earlier, France and New Zealand had their moments from the word go. It was a keenly-fought contest wherein both sides failed to open their respective accounts in the first quarter but remained positive. Both teams looked to score and the intensity was equivalent.
In the second quarter, New Zealand had more chances and finally converted one courtesy Kane Russell's strike into the post. France, however, speeded up but their efforts were kept at bay. They even had some chances but failed to convert them.
At 1-0, New Zealand commenced the fourth quarter. France continued to look stretchy as they just didn't sustain the ball for long periods. They made amends with two penalty corners just at the verge of the climax. To their dismay, they still remained firm at nil. By virtue of missed opportunities, France continued to trail 0-1. The Kiwis sealed the deal with Man of the Match, Jenness Stephen's goal. France's defense's more lackluster efforts dented their progress further. In the end, skipper Charlet Victor struck but France's fate was decided by then.
With the much-needed winning start, Argentina and New Zealand have opened their World Cup campaign in a desirable manner from Pool A.
About the Author
Aditya Sahay, a former cricket reporter/writer and statistician, has shifted gears to other sports (primarily badminton, tennis, kabaddi, hockey, golf etc). While cricket remains his first love, he enjoys covering and writing on kabaddi, hockey and tennis. He dons Germanys jersey during FIFA and believes Dhoni Dhoni hai, isko (aur) mauka mila toh bahut aage jayega