England beaten in Champions Trophy opener

Ben Arnold in action against India on his debut for England at the 2012 Champions Trophy

Five players made their senior international debut in England’s opening match of the Champions Trophy in Melbourne on Saturday and despite going down 3-1 to eight times Olympic champions India Head Coach Jason Lee said he hopes that the experience was a positive one.

Speaking after the match, Lee said, “We played well in patches and I’m very pleased for those that earned their first cap today. I hope it was a positive experience despite the result.”

The match saw India come from behind after Richard Smith had given England a first half lead but Lee believed his side could have won it had a couple of opportunities gone inches the other way. “Had we been sharper in attack on both posts we could have won by three or four,” he said, referring to a series of chances that England narrowly failed to connect with.

Richard Smith is congratulated by Dan Fox and Nick Catlin after his goal against India at the 2012 Champions Trophy

England’s goal came courtesy of a Richard Smith (above) penalty corner that nestled high in the net but a pacey Indian counter attack ten minutes before half time saw Danish Mujtaba slide in to equalise on his reverse. The game turned on a wonderful piece of skill by Yuvraj Walmiki shortly after the break as he put India 2-1 up and despite having chances, including a Dan Fox shot and a Richard Smith penalty corner, England could not find an equaliser. Five minutes from time, Chandi’s deflection in front of goal from Sardar Singh’s penalty corner put the game beyond reach and it finished 3-1.

Earlier, in the other match in the Pool, hosts Australia beat Belgium 4-2. In the other pool, Netherlands beat Pakistan 3-1 and Germany held on to beat New Zealand 3-2 having been three goals up at the break.

Read the full match report in the International Results section