England’s World Cup gets off to the perfect start.

England opened their Men’s Hockey World Cup campaign with a comfortable 5-0 win over Wales in the opening match of Pool D.

Wales were playing in the Men’s Hockey World Cup for the first time in their history, however they were behind after just 35 seconds thanks to a goal from Nick Park – his first in international hockey.

Danny Newcombe’s side never really recovered and a double from Liam Ansell, as well as a rocket from Phil Roper and one for Nick Bandurak ensured England took a commanding three points in the first game.

“Fair play to the boys today, we’ve gone out and performed. A few have been unwell but wow, they were incredible and what a team performance to start us off.” said Sam Ward as he collected the player of the match award after full time.

England created the lion’s share of the chances throughout the game. Whilst Head Coach Paul Revington will be happy with the overall outcome he will no doubt demand better of his team in front of goal in their next two matches. Ansell’s penalty corner strikes, one including a lovely piece of skill followed by a finish of sheer brute force, gave England the cushion they needed. However those were the only two penalty corners England converted from the 12 they earned.

Zach Wallace missed the chance to make it 4-0 from the penalty spot but it wasn’t long before Roper slammed home a fourth – the video umpire deeming the Holcombe forward to be just inside the circle as he sent his shot arrowing past Toby Reynolds-Cotterill in the Welsh goal.

Bandurak showed a calm head in front of goal three minutes from the end of the match, taking his time and calmly slotting home England’s fifth to put the gloss on the performance.

Their next challenge for England comes in the form of hosts, India, who beat Spain 2-0 in their opening game of the tournament. That match takes place on Sunday at 1330 UK time. Wales will take on Spain, also on Sunday at 1130am.

About thetopofthed

Columnist for The Hockey Paper and the man behind The Top of the D. Writer, podcaster, goalkeeper and BBC Sport man. Used to work for Great Britain Hockey and have covered the sport at every major tournament.
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