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Clinical performance gives England deserved win

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England put together their most complete performance of the tournament, beating Puerto Rico 11-4 to seal their place in the Blue Division and set up a 5th/6th play-off against Japan.

Puerto Rico were fancied by some to cause problems after a competitive performance the previous night against Iroquois, but England put to bed any chance of an upset from the off with a clinical team display.

They led 3-0 after the first quarter and gave Puerto Rico little opportunity to get back in the game, spreading the goals between eight different men.

The tone was set from the off after a long first England set resulted in an opening goal for Alex Russell, and after two EMOs for Puerto Rico were seen off in part thanks to Hal Dwobeng in goal, England went about increasing their lead.

Will Hardy scored after a nice dodge to get free from his man, before Josh Sherry-Brennan added another from an extremely tight angle to head in three up at the end of Q1.

Puerto Rico did get the first score of the second quarter, but after an eye-catching goal from Pete Hayes, who after taking the feed from Nick Watson, turned with his back to goal and side-armed it past the ‘keeper and Watson then turning scorer with an outside shot on a man-up, England led 5-1 at the half.

The momentum continued after the restart, Sam Russell quickest to the rebound after Watson had rattled the pipe, and although Puerto Rico hit back immediately, a second for Alex Russell and a first for Jimmy Yanes fully asserted England’s control in the tie.

The Puerto Ricans had been free-scoring throughout the tournament with 83 goals in six matches coming into the game but came up against a determined defence that shut off their go-to men and when they did get a shot on goal, Dwobeng was in top form once again finishing with 10 saves at 71%.

An 8-2 advantage at the start of the final quarter was quickly extended as Ryan Hunns finished off a fast break move, before Watson moved the score into double figures.

England’s discipline did wane slightly in the last 10 minutes with several penalties served that allowed Puerto Rico to add two goals in as many minutes and bring it to 10-4.

However, the job had already been done, and Alex Russell rounded things off by completing his hat-trick with less than two minutes to go to cap off an all-round comprehensive win.

England will now play Japan in the 5th/6th play-off today at 8.40pm UK Time in the final game to take place at the Wingate Institute before tomorrow’s final.

England Points: Alex Russell (3,1), Nick Watson (2,1), Will Hardy (1,0), Josh Sherry-Brennan (1,0), Pete Hayes (1,0), Sam Russell (1,0), Jimmy Yanes (1,0), Ryan Hunns (1,0), Zac Guy (0,1)

Puerto Rico Points: Desiderio Gonzalez (2,0), Cory Milhouse (1,1), Anthony Irizarry (1,0)