Kiwis upset England to hand Chile advantage in Group B
New Zealand caused the first real upset of the 2017 FIP World Championship on Wednesday by defeating England 11-8 on the International field at Sydney Polo Club.
Coming into the game hot after their 16-1 demolition of India, England were expected to outscore New Zealand after the Kiwis were convincingly beaten 9-2 by Chile in their opener.
Replacing coach / player Cody Forsyth with 5-goaler Glen Sherri, New Zealand presented a different challenge to the last game.
“They came out, they turned quicker, they hit harder and the beat us,” said England captain Satnam Dhillon.
The game was tied 4-4 after two chukkas and New Zealand led by one at the break.
“We just had to keep the pressure on,” was New Zealand captain Kit Brooks’ assessment.
Referring to Josh Cork (2) and Henry Porter (2) who had run India ragged in England’s first game, he said “the two (New Zealand) 2-goal players really put the pressure on the two 2-goalers from England.” Those two players were never allowed space to run.
The Kiwis also won 17 throw-ins to five by England, who committed 10 fouls to just three by New Zealand.
Glen Sherri and Brooks seemed to control the ball better on a surface which, after four games, is still playing remarkably well.
The result puts Chile in the driving seat in Group B.
If New Zealand beat India, because the three top teams in the group would have beaten India, only the results between those three teams would count towards each team’s net goal count, the best of which takes that team to the final. Current estimations say that England need to beat Chile by six goals to reach the final.
Revitalised New Zealand now face India. With a current net goal score of -2, the Kiwis would need England to lose heavily to Chile in order to grab the second place spot in Group B and earn a bronze place playoff spot on Sunday.
Chile and Argentina look most likely to be playing the gold medal showdown as it stands