France 4-1 Ireland
Ireland fell to a 4-1 defeat at the hands of France in Calais to leave their chances of qualifying for next summer's European Championships top tier all but over.
The French hosts got off to a stunning start, netting twice in the first seven minutes, and were always in control from that point on, building a 4-0 lead before Luke Madeley pulled one back with 16 minutes left.
Their chance of A Division hockey is now a far-fetched one; they need to win their closing tie of the tournament on Saturday against Turkey and hope for a miracle from Lithuania - who lost 19-0 to Ireland - to defeat the French.
In reality, though, it looks like the Green Machine are destined for the second tier which they will hope still offers an Olympic qualifier ticket when the continental allocations are divided out in January.
In this tie, goals in the first seven minutes from Gaspard Baumgarten and Corentin Sellier created the big gap. The former profited when Sellier stole possession on the 23-metre line and set up the striker who powered in a shot from the right of the circle.
The second followed in quick succession as Francois Goyet nabbed the ball to break loose on the left wing and pumped in a cross which Sellier tipped home in the middle.
Ireland steadied in the second quarter but any comeback hopes were firmly shut down in the early stages of the second half.
A pin-point diagonal pass gave Xavier Gaspard space on the right baseline where he fired the ball to Etienne Tynevez to deflect in the third goal.
Tynevez made it 4-0 with 22 minutes to go from the penalty spot. Madeley got Ireland on the board when he whipped a drag-flick to the top right from their first series of penalty corners.
They attempted to push on in the closing quarter but the French defence stood firm to limit any route back into the contest.
Ireland: J Carr, L Madeley, J McKee, D Walsh, K O’Dea, K Marshall, S Murray, M Robson, B Walker, S Hyland Subs: C Robson, N Glassey, M McNellis, J Duncan, J Lynch, N Page, M Ingram
France: E Reynaud, G Xavier, S Martin-Brisac, B Rogeau, V Lockwood, A Bellenger, F Goyet, E Curty, E Tynevez, V Charlet Subs: S Branicki, J-B Forgues, C Sellier, B Marqué, T Clément, B Delemazure, A Thieffry