European champions England virtually assured themselves a place in the semifinal of the hockey World Cup after thumping Pakistan 5-2 to continue their unbeaten run in the tournament in New Delhi on Thursday .
Captain Barry Middleton (52nd, 65th) led from the front with two goals while James Tindall (20th), Ashley Jackson (32nd) and Jonty Clarke (62nd) scored a goal each to complete Pakistan's misery in the high-voltage Pool B match. Pakistan reduced margin through Shakeel Abbasi (45th) and Rehan Butt (49th).
England started the match with a flourish and sounded the board in the fourth minute when Iain Mackay's spectacular overhead shot beat Pakistan custodian Salman Akbar all ends up. But to the disappointment of the English side, Pakistan appealed against the shot and video umpire rejected the goal because of high stick.
Rehan Butt got a fine opportunity to send his side ahead in the first 10 minutes of the game but he shot wide. England's consistent pressure finally yielded result in the 20th minute when Tindall broke the deadlock with a field goal.
Stung by the early strike, Pakistan pressed hard for the equaliser and earned two penalty corners but on both occasions England goalkeeper James Fair's great anticipation thwarted Sohail Abbas. PTI