England narrowly lose to Russia

Battling England go down to Russia
Poznan, Poland

RUSSIA 3 (0)
Alexander Zhirkov 22 (F)  
Dmitry Volkov 33 (F)  
Alexander Korolev 40 (F)  
Simon Mantell 20 (PS)  
Richard Mantell 40 (PC)  

An encouraging performance from England’s men in their second Pool B match at the FIH Indoor World Cup failed to yield the result they had hoped for as Russia scored three second half goals to win 3-2 in Poznan. 

Summing up his feelings after the match, England Indoor Head Coach Andy Halliday said, “We’re disappointed with the result because it was a game we could have won.  Again, like against the Czech Republic yesterday, we expected a tight game and that’s exactly what we got.  Russia were more creative than the Czechs and used the boards more but if we had taken our chances we could have won it.  Ultimately it was a good performance but not the result we would have wanted.”

Richard Alexander flies through the air off balance while in action for England against Russia at the FIH Indoor World Cup in Poznan, PolandAfter taking the lead on the stroke of half time through Reading forward Simon Mantell’s penalty, England found themselves under pressure at the start of the second period and were pegged back by Alexander Zhrikov two minutes after the break.
Dmitry Volkov then put the fancied Russians in front after a good counter attack down the left boards with seven minutes remaining. 

With time running out and England just one goal down, goalkeeper Nick Brothers was replaced by his Reading teammate Richard Springham as a ‘kicking back’ outfield player and as England pressed for the late equaliser, Russia hit them on the break; Alexander Korolev slotting the ball home for 3-1.  There was still time for the elder Mantell brother Richard to register a second English goal right on the full time whistle.  While it was little more than a consolation in the match, every goal counts in the indoor game and in a tight Pool goal difference may play an important part in deciding the classification playoffs.

England now face the USA this afternoon (15:15 GMT).  The Americans have no points from their opening two matches, having lost 6-2 to Russia on day one and 5-0 to Austria in the opening match on day two.

Read the full match report at www.englandhockey.co.uk/indoorworldcup

Visit the official tournament website here.