World Cup Qualifier
Ireland 6 (Mikey Watt 3, Stephen Butler 2, Mitch Darling) USA 1 (Nate Coolidge)
Ireland swept past the challenge of the USA in Ireland produced a confidence-building 6-1 thrashing over the USA – ranked just one rung below them on the world list – to lead their World Cup Qualifying group on goal-difference after day one of the competition in a sun-soaked Quilmes following deluges in Argentina during the build-up days.
They burst out of the blocks in fine style with Mikey Watt fizzing in a high, fourth minute reverse from Stephen Butler's quick, one-touch pass. And within nine more minutes he had a hat-trick to his name with two more open play goals. The second was a sublime effort, rushing down the left-wing, exchanging a one-two with Timmy Cockram before looping over goalkeeper Tom Sheridan's shoulder.
The third was scrappier as Watt again combined with Cockram to tap home in the 14th minute for 3-0. Stephen Butler increased the difference to 5-0 when he scored Ireland’s second corner before slotting home from play 36 seconds before the break after Graham Shaw had won the ball in midfield and set his club mate free.
The Americans came out of their shell in the early second half stages while the boys in green missed a few decent opportunities on the break.
But it was former Corinthian player Nate Coolidge who was next on target as he tidily tucked home a deflection.
Tomorrow’s opponents Chile began the day by taking a surprise against tournament top-ranked side Belgium inside two minutes from the stick of Andrez Fuenzilada.
However, the European side composed themselves and two goals in four minutes switched the lead around before half-time before Jeffrey Thys and Jerome Dekeyser’s drag-flick confirmed a 4-1 win.
Hosts Argentina, meanwhile, laboured to a 1-0 win over the Czech Republic – the only goal coming in the 10th minute from Mario Almada.
Ireland: David Harte, John Jackson, Ronan Gormley (capt), Michael Watt, Stephen Butler, John Jermyn, Eugene Magee, Graham Shaw, Timmy Cockram, Conor Harte, Tim Lewis
Subs: Mitch Darling, Alan Sothern, Geoff McCabe, Paul Gleghorne, David Ames
Ireland 6 (Mikey Watt 3, Stephen Butler 2, Mitch Darling) USA 1 (Nate Coolidge); Belgium 4 (Maxime Luyckx, Thomas Briels, Jeffrey Thys, Jerome Dekeyser) Chile 1 (Andrez Fuenzilada); Argentina 1 (Mario Almada) Czech Republic 0
Standings (points/goal difference):
1 Ireland 3pts (+5) 2. Belgium 3pts (+3) 3. Argentina 3pts (+1) 4. Czech Republic 0pts (-1) 5. Chile 0pts (-3) 6. USA 0pts (-5)
* Video courtesy of TheTAZVideoSport