India, Britain make it three out of three
India and Britain both recorded their third straight wins overnight Tuesday in the 2008 Olympic Games men's field hockey qualifying tournament ahead of Thursday's crucial showdown between the top two.
India thrashed an out of their depth Mexico 18-1 with Rajpal Singh notching a hattrick before half time and adding a second half brace.
V.R. Raghunath also went nap and Prabhjot Singh added a four-goal haul while Shivendra Singh with two, Sardar Singh and Tushar Khandekar also hit the target.
Britain meanwhile scored an emphatic 4-1 success over their Chilean hosts, who went down to their second loss to all but disappear from contention.
After a goalless first half despite half a dozen British penalty-corners Sebastian Kapsch was carded for the hosts and the pressure eventually told as, following another penalty-corner, Richard Mantell slotted home inside the left post on 42 minutes.
Chile rallied and Esteban Krainz levelled the scores with a deflected 47th-minute effort only for the visitors to go back in front within three minutes when Barry Middleton finished off with aplomb following a fine penetrating run by Jonty Clarke.
James Tindall then made the game safe with two strikes, first, finishing off after a clever dummy by Simon Mantell which drew the keeper and then bagging his second in the 66th minute, the finish set up by Middleton.
In the other game of the day, Austria stayed in touch with a 5-4 win over Russia which was every bit as hard fought as the result suggests.
The Austrians, who shocked Chile on day one, were 2-1 down at the break after Dmitry Azarov's penalty corner and Alexey Mamoshkin put the Russians two goals to the good.
Michael Korper reduced the deficit on a penalty corner but it was only in the second half when Austria's short passing came to the fore as Georg Jelinek levelled.
Even so, Azarov briefly put the Russians back in front, only for Peter Proksch to make it 3-3.
Another Korper penalty-corner and a fine individual finish from Proksch sealed the win for the Austrians despite Alexander Korolev's late intervention.
Thursday sees the top two face off before Austria meet Mexico and Russia finish the day's action against Chile.
India 18 Mexico 1
Austria 5 Russia 4
Chile 1 Britain 4
Standings (Played, won, drawn, lost, for, against, points)
India 3 3 0 0 33 4 9
Britain 3 3 0 0 23 1 9
Chile 3 1 0 2 8 8 3
Austria 3 2 0 1 12 14 6
Russia 3 0 0 3 4 21 0
Mexico 3 0 0 3 1 33 0
India leads the point table
Positions of teams after Tuesday's matches in the World Hockey Olympic qualifying tournament.
(Read under: Matches Played, Won, Drawn, Lost, Goals For, Goals Against, Goal Difference, Points):
India 3 3 0 0 33 4 +29 9
Great Britain 3 3 0 0 23 1 +21 9
Austria 3 2 1 0 12 14 -2 6
Chile 3 1 0 2 8 8 0 3
Russia 3 0 0 3 4 21 -17 0
Mexico 3 0 0 3 1 33 -32 0
(Points: Three for win, one for draw)