Hockey: Pearn's hat-trick topples Russia

Italy England 7 Russia 1
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ENGLAND OPENED their European Nations' Cup campaign here last night with a comprehensive win against a speedy, skilful and robust Russian side that presented quite a few problems for the English defence, but for limited periods.

England's coach, Barry Dancer, was satisfied with the result, commenting: "After establishing a match-winning lead we made hard work of it in the second half with some poor decision-making in attack. We need to use our passing game better."

Mark Pearn finished off a powerful drive through the defence in the 11th minute for the first of his three goals in brilliant style as he drew the goalkeeper to fire into an empty net. His final goal in the 65th minute was less spectacular as he completed the scoring in a prone position, after a mishit.

Calum Giles scored twice from penalty corners and Jimmy Wallis got a couple as England, with Russell Garcia dominating the midfield, created plenty of opportunities. They must have been disappointed that they only scored twice in the second half and only twice from nine penalty corners.

Russia's consolation goal came 25 minutes into the first half through Vladslav Kuznetsov at a penalty corner, a mishit shot defeating Simon Mason after England had built up a three-goal lead.

In their second game today England play France, who yesterday beat Ireland 3-2.

ENGLAND: S Mason (Reading); M Johnson (Cannock), J Halls (Cannock), J Wyatt (Reading), B Waugh (Southgate; capt); R Garcia (Harvestehuder, Hamburg), B Garrard (Teddington), J Wallis (Teddington); G Fordham (Hounslow), J Bell (Brooklands), M Pearn (Reading). Substitutes used: A Humphrey (Cannock), B Sharpe (Cannock), C Giles (Surbiton), D Hall (Guildford).

RUSSIA: A Ignatiev; V Soukhikii, T Chatski, I Mouladjanov, A Gevorkian; A Gevorkian, M Lioutikov (capt), A Kransnoiartsev; V Kuznetsov, J Safonovo, S Stasiouk. Substitutes used: V Kripak, A Svets, A Sorokin, V Sourouda.

Umpires: R Curti (It) and E Silvano (It).