Bhubaneswar: China registered a fighting 2-2 draw against higher-ranked England in a Pool B match of the Hockey World Cup 2018 at Kalinga Stadium here on Friday.
Debutant China’s eighteen brave men from Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region produced a gritty performance today and stunningly held world no.7 England with a last-minute goal to eke out a point from the encounter.
England started the match as overwhelming favourites, but the Chinese stunned their opponents early in the game when Xiaoping Gao (5th minute) scored a brilliant field goal from a tight angle after dribbling past three defenders.
Taken aback by the goal, the Englishmen went on the offensive and finally managed to equalise a minute from the first quarter when Mark Gleghorne (14th) converted a penalty corner.
Thereafter, it was a struggle for the English to break the resolute Chinese defence despite enjoying lion’s share of possession and creating numerous chances.
A silly defensive mistake by Yang Ao inside the box allowed England to take the lead through Liam Ansell in the 48th minute.
But the Chinese did not give up and continued to show sparks in patches. While defending stoutly, they also started to threaten the English citadel with swift counter-attacks.
China’s persistence finally bore fruit and the brave men broke England’s heart just a minute from the final hooter.
China will next play Ireland on December 4 while England will be up against reigning two-time world champions Australia on the same day.