News for 02 March 2010

All the news for Tuesday 2 March 2010

Hero Honda World Cup 2010 Day 2

Day 2 - Monday 01-03-2010 16:35 New Zealand 3 : 2 Canada
Day 2 - Monday 01-03-2010 18:35 Germany 2 : 2 Korea
Day 2 - Monday 01-03-2010 20:35 Netherlands 3 : 0 Argentina

Pool A
Rank Teams Played Won Draw Lost GF - GA GD Points
1 Netherlands 1 1 0 0 3 - 0 3 3
2 New Zealand 1 1 0 0 3 - 2 1 3
3 Germany 1 0 1 0 2 - 2 0 1
4 Korea 1 0 1 0 2 - 2 0 1
5 Canada 1 0 0 1 2 - 3 -1 0
6

 



New Zealand and The Netherlands win in Delhi

New Zealand and The Netherlands won their first games at the Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 in Delhi, against Canada (3-2) and Argentina (3-0) while defending Champion Germany had to share points with Korea (2-2).

Game 4 – New Zealand v. Canada: 3-2 (half-time: 1-2)

The last time New Zealand and Canada met in a World Cup was in 1998 in Utrecht; it ended in a tie (3-3) with current Canadian Coach Alan Brahmst scoring a penalty-corner for his team. Two current Canadian players, Ken PEREIRA and Rob SHORT, were already playing back then and were honoured before the start of today’s game for their 300th International Cap.

The game could not start better for Canada, with Mark PEARSON taking advantage of confusion in the circle to slot the ball past Kyle PONTIFEX in the New Zealand’s goal within one minute of play! This gave the Canucks confidence and they dictated the tempo for a while, but the Kiwis exploited well a stolen ball in midfield for a quick counter-attack that created havoc in the Canadian circle, with Priyesh BHANA (the late replacement for star striker Simon CHILD) well positioned to push the ball in goal past a stranded Dave CARTER.

The game became balanced between two teams with similar styles. Mark PEARSON had a good chance but his strong low shot was easily handled by Kyle PONTIFEX, while at the other end Scott TUPPER was keeping Phillip BURROWS under a close watch. Canada went up again in the 20th minute by Philip WRIGHT, laying on the ground but managing to pick up his own rebound from a close range deflection.

The two teams were neutralizing each other, with Ryan ARCHIBALD and Phillip BURROWS on one side, Rob SHORT and Ken PEREIRA on the other, running the midfield. Canada survived a green card to Dave JAMESON in the final minute of the period to reach the break with the advantage.

New Zealand started to increase the pressure early in second period and the Canadian back defense was in hot water in a few occasions, but they managed to keep at bay a Kiwi team playing tentatively. The first penalty-corner of the game was awarded in the 47th minute and Nicholas HAIG powered the ball in goal after a quick combination to bring New Zealand level for the second time of the match.

With twenty minutes to go, the Canadians started to lose some of their initial poise, and Ryan ARCHIBALD was prompt to exploit the situation to bring back the danger in front of Dave CARTER. The game became more open, with counter-attacks on both sides going the full length of the pitch. The Canadian survived a second penalty-corner, thanks to a superb save by Dave CARTER, and immediately earned one of their own after a DEOL-PEARSON counter-attack, saved equally well by Kyle PONTIFEX.

New Zealand grabbed the lead for the first time with less three minutes to go by Ryan ARCHIBALD, slamming the ball into the Canadian goal from close range. A late challenge by Canada was unsuccessful and New Zealand finished with the three points a match that could have gone either way.

Match Facts (New Zealand v. Canada):
> New Zealand won 3-2 to extend their World Cup unbeaten run against Canada to three matches.
> Today’s victory ended New Zealand’s 4-match losing streak in WC competition.
> Ryan Archibald (NZL) 67th minute winner marked the third WC goal in his career. He has now scored in three successive World Cup tournaments.
> Archibald has now equalled the New Zealand record for scoring in most World Cup editions, held by Arthur Parkin and Ramesh Patel, who both scored in 1973, 1975 and 1982.
> Priyesh Bhana, Nick Haig (NZL), Mark Pearson (CAN) and Philip Wright (CAN) all scored on their World Cup debut.

Game 5 – Germany v. Korea: 2-2 (half-time: 0-2)

Two-time defending World Champions Germany started the defense of their title against Korea, a team against which they are unbeaten in World Cup history. Things did not start well for them: after scrambling two penalty-corners, they had to defend one earned after video-referral by the Koreans, and Hye Sung HYUN made no mistake to power his drag-flick past Maximilian MÜLLER in the German goal.

Benjamin WESS earned another penalty-corner after running around the Korean defense, but Myung Ho LEE made a clean glove save to protect his goal. The German team is the youngest in the competition with an average of only 24, and only three payers in the current squad have World Cup experience (Matthias WITTHAUS, Jan-Marco MONTAG and Moritz FÜRSTE) but certainly does not lack talent and skills. They were circulating the ball crisply but could not penetrate a patient and well regrouped Korean defense, exploding in speedy counter-attack each time they were taking possession of the ball.

Korea increased their lead in the 15th minute by Nam Yong LEE, with a spectacular reverse stick shot from a narrow angle. Germany had more chances on penalty-corners, but their various options were unsuccessful and they were even lucky to avoid a third goal when Sung Hoon YOON outran the defense but powered his shot just wide.

The young Germans pushed boldly in second period, and often had the Koreans on their heels, but still could not get on the scoreboard. They were finally rewarded in the 50th minute when youngster Florian FUCHS deflected acrobatically in goal a free hit driven into the circle by Moritz FÜRSTE. They maintain their pressure and play did not leave the Korean defensive zone for long period of time. Benjamin WESS equalized in the 58th minute after a broken penalty-corner that evolved into a furious scramble in the Korean circle.

This set the stage for a very intense end of game, with both teams throwing caution to the wind to try and score again. Sung Hoon YOON had a golden chance in front of the empty goal, but he could not control the bouncing ball, while at the other end the Koreans barely get themselves out of another messy situation. The match ended on a parity score, with the Koreans dominant to start with then the Germans showing their strength and talent after shaking off their initial nerves.

Match Facts (Germany v. Korea):
> Germany came back from 2 goals down to draw 2-2 with Korea and avoid their first defeat against Korea in 5 World Cup matches.
> Germany extended their World Cup unbeaten run to 14-matches, the third longest unbeaten streak in the history of the competition and the longest in 20 years.
> Germany have now failed to beat Korea in their last three competitive encounters drawing 3-3 at the 2008 Olympic Games, losing 5-3 at the 2009 Champions Trophy and drawing 2-2 at the 20101 World Cup.
> Korea led 2-0 at half-time. The last time GER were at least 2 goals behind at half-time in a World Cup match was in the 1994 Bronze medal match against AUS (4-0), which ended 5-2.
> Florian Fuchs scored his eighth international goal in only his eighth appearance for the German National team.

Game 6 – Netherlands v. Argentina: 3-0 (half-time: 2-0)

Argentina,  the last of 12 nations to qualify for the Hero Honda FIH 2010 World Cup by winning the World Cup Qualification tournament at home in Quilmes, opened the competition against triple World Cup winners The Netherlands. The Dutch were immediately all over the South Americans, missing a few early goals after some fancy combinations, but Klaas VERMEULEN finally earned a penalty-corner in the 13th minute after a swift pass from Teun DE NOOIJER and Taeke TAEKEMA powered his drag-flick under the crossbar to open the scoring.

That triggered a good reaction from Argentina, showing their skills with some fancy combinations to carry the danger in front of the Dutch goal, but Guus VOGELS was alert to protect the lead. The Dutch weathered the storm calmly and came forward strongly in the final stage of the period, earning a second penalty-corner dutifully converted by Taeke TAEKEMA.

The Argentineans desperately pushed forward, but they were inefficient on their four penalty-corners and were repeatedly denied by Guus VOGELS in great form. The Dutch team did not seem to worry too much, relying on their positioning and passing to control the midfield, and occasionally launching counter-attacks. Taeke TAEKEMA completed his hat-trick of penalty-corners in the 61st minute, his 16th World Cup goal, only one short from his compatriot Floris Jan BOVELANDER.

The Dutch cruised to a final 3-0 win, increasing to seven their unbeaten streak against Argentina in World Cup action.

Match Facts (Netherlands v. Argentina):
> The Netherlands beat Argentina 3-0, to go top in Pool A, leading New Zealand on goal difference.
> Taeke Taekema converted 3 penalty corners to lift his World Cup total to 16 goals.
> He is now one goal short from equaling his fellow countryman and penalty corner specialist Floris Jan Bovelander who netted 17 goals (1986-1994).
> Taekema’s 3 goals marked the 50th hat-trick in World Cup history (source B.G.Joshi).
> At the 2006 World Cup Taekema scored 5 goals in Holland's 6-1 win over India.
> Taekema has now scored in each of the last five World Cup matches for the Dutch team.

The Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 continues on Tuesday in Delhi when South Africa play England, Pakistan meet Spain and host India conclude the day against Australia.

For additional information, pictures, video clips, official game sheets, and more, please check the special FIH event site @ http://www.worldhockey.org/worldcup/.

Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 (men) – Delhi, India
Results Day 2 - Monday 1 March 2010

New Zealand v. Canada  3:2 (1:2)

CAN  1mn  Mark PEARSON (FG)  0:1
NZL  11mn  Priyesh BHANA (FG)  1:1
CAN  20mn  Philip WRIGHT (FG)  1:2
NZL  47mn  Nicholas HAIG (PC)  2:2
NZL  66mn  Ryan ARCHIBALD (FG)  3:2

Germany v. Korea  2:2 (0:2)

KOR   4mn  Hye Sung HYUN (PC)  0:1
KOR  15mn  Nam Yong LEE (FG)  0:2
GER  50mn  Florian FUCHS (FG)  1:2
GER  58mn  Benjamin WESS (FG)  2:2

Netherlands v. Argentina  3:0 (2:0)
NED  13mn  Taeke TAEKEMA (FG)  1:0
NED  35mn  Taeke TAEKEMA (FG)  2:0
NED  61mn  Taeke TAEKEMA (FG)  3:0

Pool Standings:
Pool A: 1) Netherlands 3 pts (+3)  2) New Zealand 3 pts (+1)  3) Germany and Korea 1 pt   5) Canada 0 pt (-1)  6)  Argentina 0 pt (-3)
Pool B: 1) India 3 pts (+3)  2) Spain 3 pts (+2)  3) England 3 pts (+1)  4) Australia 0 pt (-1)  5) South Africa 0 pt (-2) 6) Pakistan 0 pt (-3)

WorldHockey

 



Champion Germany rallies to hold Korea

New Zealand comes from behind twice to overcome Canada; hat-trick by Taekema

S. Thyagarajan


— PHOTO: Rajeev Bhatt

DELIGHTED: Germany's Florian Fuchs and Christoph Menke celebrate the former's strike against Korea in a Pool A match on Monday.

New Delhi: Battling a two-goal deficit at half-time, Germany displayed the gumption and game plan to recover and share points with Korea 2-2 in a Pool A encounter of the Hero Honda hockey World Cup on Monday.

It was a remarkable comeback by the defending champion searching for a hat-trick of triumphs in the competition. Germany extended its unbeaten match streak in the World Cup, from 2002 onwards, to 14.

In less than a quarter of an hour, Germany was laid low by the effervescence of the Koreans. Buoyed by a fourth-minute strike off a superbly flicked in penalty corner by Hyun Hye Sung, the Koreans stepped up the pressure at the German end.

The German defenders were at sixes and sevens to keep the Korean sallies under control. Kim Yung Jin from the right troubled the rivals repeatedly.

Spectacular goal

Korea scored again, a spectacular goal conceived and executed by Lee Nam Young. Moving smoothly like a snake on grass, Nam swerved around the defenders and produced a thundering backhander, almost from a zero angle that left the rangy Max Weinhold nonplussed.

A possible defeat was what the Germans were confronted with when they went in for the break. But they returned to write a different script altogether.

Confining the Koreans to their zone, the German attack, led by Matthias Witthaus and Moritz Furste, enmeshed the defenders in a series of long passes and hits.

Florian Fuchs scored an acrobatic goal after connecting a long pass from Furste.

The goal was confirmed after a referral.

Picking up the signals from there, the Germans continued to exert pressure and restored parity through Benjamin Wess.

Recovering to win

In the first match of the day, New Zealand, bewildered by an early goal, consumed a good deal of time to recover its poise and precision for a 3-2 victory against Canada.

If there were visions of a draw till late in the match they were genuine, given the challenge posed by the Canadians.

But three minutes before the whistle came the match-winner.

The iconic Ryan Archibald, fastening on to a forward pass, shot the ball into the corner of the goal.

Before Ryan's effort to take full points in Pool A the Kiwis had to devise various designs to overcome the opposition. Shea Macaleese was prominent in those workouts assisted by Nicolas Haig. Quite justifiably, Macaleese was declared Man of the match.

Mark Pearson gave Canada a great start, hoisting the lead before one could say Jack Robinson. But the team failed to build on the advantage as Priyesh Bhana produced the equaliser after a beautiful bout of passing with Shea.

By half-time, Canada went ahead through Philip Wright, who surged in and produced a left-handed shot that was blocked by goalkeeper Pontifex. Wright pursued the rebound and with a diving shove placed the ball into the net.

The usual Kiwi flair became visible in the second half despite some tight marking by the Canadians headed by Ken Pereira and Rob Short, the oldest player in the competition at 37. The first penalty corner for New Zealand ended with Haig levelling before Archibald came up with his effort.

Taekema on song

A three-in-row strike from penalty corners by Taeke Taekema — the 50th hat-trick in the World Cup — enabled former champion the Netherlands beat Argentina 3-0 in the last match of the day.

The results: Pool A: New Zealand 3 (Priyesh Bhana, Nicolas Haig, Ryan Archibald) bt Canada 2 (Mark Pearson, Philip Wright). HT 1-2.

Korea 2 (Hyun Hye Sung, Lee Nam Young) drew with Germany 2 (Florian Fuchs, Benjamin Wess). HT 2-0.

The Netherlands 3 (Taeke Taekema 3) bt Argentina 0. HT 2-0.

Tuesday's matches: South Africa vs. England (4.35 p.m.); Pakistan vs. Spain (6.35 p.m.); India vs. Australia (8.35 p.m.) .

The Hindu



Black Sticks beat Canada in World Cup hockey

By Terry Maddaford



MATCH WINNER: New Zealand's Dean Couzins, Hugo Inglis, Steve Edwards and Ryan Archibald celebrate after scoring their third goal in their 3-2 win over Canada at the World Cup hockey tournament in New Delhi.

From the worst possible nightmare - a goal down after 38secs - New Zealand battled back to eventually beat Canada 3-2 and kick-start their World Cup hockey campaign.

But it was far from convincing.

A combination of first game nerves, the heat and a changed line-up following Simon Child's late withdrawal made life difficult for Shane McLeod's Black Sticks who twice had to come from behind to reach 2-2 before a well-taken late Ryan Archibald goal got them home.

It was a spirited effort from the plucky Canadians who are three below New Zealand on the latest world rankings.

"It is always difficult playing catch-up," McLeod said. "Especially for us being without Simon Child. When we have him we have three strong forwards and much of our game plan revolves around that. Losing him has certainly affected us."

From the time New Zealand goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex was left stranded when possession was turned over, and Mark Pearson swooped to snatch Canada's surprise early lead, New Zealand had to regroup.

They got back to 1-1 in the 12th minute when Priyesh Bhana, the late call-up following Child's withdrawal, fired in a shot which goalkeeper Matthew Peck blocked.

The ball rebounded to Bhana who by then was in a heap on the ground from where, somehow, he got his stick to the loose ball and fired home.

But within 10 minutes it was back to catch-up as the defence were caught pushing forward leaving a big hole for Philip Wright to charge through.

His first shot was blocked by Pontifex but he gave the goalkeeper no chance with his second chance off the rebound.

New Zealand continued to give up possession too easily in the opening minutes of the second spell but eventually, in the 45th minute, claimed the first penalty corner of the match.

From a variation, Andy Hayward played the ball to Nick Haig who provided the precious second touch for 2-2.

Spurred by that, and sensing the Canadians were tiring, New Zealand claimed a decent share of possession but it was not until there was less than four minutes to play that they finally went ahead.

Good build-up started and finished by Ryan Archibald produced the third desperately needed goal and three precious points.

"If we had lost that we would, in all probability, been out of it," said McLeod. "At this level and against the teams we still have to play, winning four games would have been nigh on impossible."

Burrows too was happy to pocket the points but conceded it was far from a complete performance.

"I don't think we played particularly well today," said Burrows. "The heat was a factor and so to it being our first game of the tournament. Having said that, it was great to win."

Attention now turns to the Dutch tomorrow night. The Black Sticks will need a big step up if they are to fulfil their hoped-for four- or six-point haul from their opening two matches.

A 2-2 draw between favourites Germany and the lively Koreans in the second of the group A matches was welcomed by the New Zealand camp.

Korea stunned the world champions when they scored inside three minutes from a penalty corner. Hye Sung Hyun's early strike was followed 12 minutes later by Nam Yong Lee's goal from open play.

Trailing 0-2 at halftime Germany eventually clawed their way back with goals eight minutes apart from Florian Fuchs, 18 and playing just his eighth international, and Benjamin Wess, in the 59th minute.

The Netherlands turned in one of the most impressive games so far in beating Argentina 3-0 in the late game.

Two penalty corner strikes in the first half and one in the second from drag flick expert Taeke Taekema, who played NHL for Canterbury a few years ago, earned the Dutch their points and the lead in group A on goal difference from New Zealand.

Stuff



New Zealand pip Canada at hockey World Cup

NEW DELHI: A resilient New Zealand twice came back from behind to beat a fighting Canada 3-2 in a Pool A opening match of the hockey World Cup on Monday.

The Black Sticks, who were trailing 1-2 at the breather, made a strong comeback in the second session to start their World Cup campaign on a winning note.

Indian-origin player Priyesh Bhana (11th minute), Nicholas Haig (47th) and veteran play maker Ryan Archibald (67th) scored for New Zealand.

For Canada, who were dominant till midway of the opening session, Mark Pearson (2nd minute) and Philip Wright (20th) found the target.

Even as the hundred-odd spectators barely settled down, Pearson sounded the board with a fine field goal in the second minute following a scramble inside the striking circle.

New Zealand striker Priyesh Bhana, who made it to squad after Simon Child pulled out of the tournament due to security fears, made a fine turn inside the Canadian circle and even though his first attempt was blocked by goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex, he scored from the second attempt to restore parity in the 11th minute.

The Times of India



300 Caps Milestone Reached by Two Canadian Players


Picture PAHF / Yan Huckendubler

Delhi, India - In the World Cup match against New Zealand, Ken Pereira and Rob Short, two veteran players on the Canadian Team, earned their 300th International Cap, an exceptional milestone reached by a limited number of players in international hockey. Only one other Canadian, Paul “Bubli” Chohan, has ever reached this landmark.

Ken and Rob’s careers with the national team began in 1994. Their exceptional longevity without interruption over 16 years, and the exact parallel of their career, makes it even more symbolic that they reach 300 Caps together.

Although they have both played for over fifteen years in countless international competitions, they show no signs of slowing down and are considered two of the world’s best midfielders.  Rob was named to the 2009 International Hockey Federation All Star Team and both were named to the 2009 Pan American Elite Team. Their outstanding leadership and dedication to the game have raised the bar for the Canadian Team, and they serve as strong and inspiring role models to the squad’s developing players.

Ken and Rob currently play for HGC in Holland.

Highlights of their career with the national team include:
- Two Olympic Games (2000 in Sydney and 2008 in Beijing)
- Two World Cups (1998 in Utrecht and 2010 currently played in Delhi)
- Three Commonwealth Games (1998 in Kuala Lumpur, 2002 in Manchester and 2006 in Melbourne)
- Four Pan American Games (1995 in Mar de Plata, 1999 in Winnipeg, 2003 in Santo Domingo and 2007 in Rio de Janeiro)
- Three Pan American Cups (2000 in Cuba, 2004 in London, Ontario, and 2009 in Santiago, Chile).

While Ken is perhaps most famous for his winning goal against Argentina in the final of the 1999 Pan American Games to qualify Canada for the 2000 Olympic Games, other memorable moments for him are:
- Playing in front of huge crowds at the 1998 World Cup in Holland;
- Receiving tremendous support from friends and family at the opening match of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney against Pakistan;
- Winning the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio in a penalty shootout to qualify for the Beijing Olympics.
- Represent Canada for a second time at the Olympic Games in Beijing.

Some of Rob’s most memorable moments with the Canadian National Team include:
- Scoring 2 goals in the 1998 World Cup game in Utrecht against Germany in a 4-4 tie.
- Defeating Argentina to qualify for the 2000 Olympics at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg.
- Surprising the hockey community with unexpected victories at the 2007 Pan American Games and 2009 Pan American Cup to qualify for the  2008 Olympic Games and 2010 World Cup.

WorldHockey



Germany survive Korean scare

Germany’s Matthias Witthaus (centre) tackles for ball with South Korea’s Sung Hoon Yoon (left) and Eun Seong Hong during their match at the men’s Hockey World Cup in New Delhi yesterday. (Reuters


Two-time defending champions Germany came from behind to force a 2-2 draw on South Korea in the men’s field hockey World Cup yesterday.

The Koreans led 2-0 at half-time, a margin the powerful Germans had not endured at the interval of a World Cup match since trailing 0-4 against Australia in Sydney in 1994.

But the reigning Olympic champions who are looking for a hat-trick of World Cup titles after winning the last two editions in 2002 and 2006, fought back strongly after resumption.

Florian Fuchs narrowed the margin in the 50th minute with a goal that was referred to the video umpire, before Benjamin Wess scored the equaliser off a goal-mouth melee eight minutes later.

The Germans were lucky to escape with a point in the opening match of group A, which also includes the Netherlands, Argentina, New Zealand and Canada.

Two teams from the group will advance to the semi-finals.

Hyun Hye-Sung put the Asian champions ahead in the fourth minute

with a stinging penalty corner shot, before Lee Nam Yong produced a brilliant second goal in the 15th minute.

Taking a pass from the centre, Lee sped down the left flank and hit a reverse stick from the narrowest of angles that caught German goalkeeper Max Weinhold on the wrong foot and went in.

“I am must admit we were lucky to draw,” said German captain Max Muller. “But I am also happy we were able to fight back in the second-half and create chances.

“We need to improve our penalty corner conversions. We wasted six today. Just can’t afford to do it in our remaining games.

“The South Koreans were fast on their counter-attacks like always, but we always knew that. They did not play any better today, it’s just that we were not at our best.”

In another match, New Zealand came back from a 1-2 deficit at half-time to defeat Canada 3-2 with Ryan Archibald scoring the winner four minutes before the final whistle.

Canada, ranked 11th in the world, took an early lead against the number eight Kiwis when Mark Pearson scored off a rebound in the second minute.

Priyesh Bhana drew level in the 11th, but the Canadians nudged ahead a second time in the 20th through a field goal by Philip Wright.

New Zealand attacked after the resumption and were rewarded with the equaliser by Nick Haig in the 46th minute, before Archibald found the winner from the top of the circle.

In another match, Taeke Taekema scored a hat-trick as the Netherlands blanked Argentina 3-0. The winners led 2-0 at half-time.

Meanwhile, India’s Shivendra Singh has been suspended for three matches for injuring an opponent during Sunday’s pool match against Pakistan in the men’s World Cup, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) said yesterday.

Shivendra scored a goal in India’s 4-1 rout of their arch-rivals in pool B but injured Pakistan’s Fareed Ahmed above the eye when he tackled him, the FIH said in a statement.

The tournament director ruled after a hearing that Shivendra had raised the stick deliberately. The player will miss India’s next three group matches against Australia, Spain and England.

Gulf Times



Germany drop points

Germany 2 South Korea 2

By Patrick Rowley in New Delhi


Germany, the world and Olympic champions, followed favourites Australia in dropping points in their opening match.

The most fancied side in Group A did not lose, as Australia did to England, but they were held 2-2 by Korea in the hockey World Cup 2010.

They struggled against the lightning fast Korean counter-attacks and had to recover from being two down in 15 minutes.

Germany have European rivals Holland in their pool. The Dutch beat Argentina 3-0, or rather Taeke Taekama did, with three corner conversions. New Zealand also started with a win, beating Canada 3-2.

England and the other Group B teams had a rest day. England, the European champions, play South Africa, the African champions, in their second World Cup match on Tuesday.

England will be expected to cruise to a second win and the danger may be over-confidence.

South Africa lost to Spain 4-2 on day one and have lost heavily to other top European sides this year.

The African champions do not get a lot of match practice against the best sides and suffer. They did not win a single match at either the 2006 World Cup or 2008 Olympic Games.

England have not played them since beating them 3-1 at the last World Cup and have won the last five encounters, including an 8-0 at Pretoria.

But there will be a lot of familiar faces on the field as half the Springboks have or are having experience of the England League. Austin Smith, of Reading fame, is their captain.

Monday was Holi Day in India, a festival of colour, but the only colour the Indian hockey team saw was red. Their free-scoring striker, Shivendra Singh, has been suspended for three matches and will miss their games against Australia, Spain and England.

A video replay of the India v Pakistan match on Sunday revealed Shivendra struck a Pakistani player above the eye with his stick in an off-the-ball incident.

The Telegraph



Korea let off Germany

OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


New Delhi: For the second consecutive day, the favourites found the going tough in the Hero Honda World Cup when world champions Germany drew 2-2 with South Korea in a Pool A match at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium on Monday.

In the day’s last match, however, three-time champions the Netherlands were in roaring form as they thrashed Argentina 3-0. The star of the victory was their ace drag flicker Taeke Taekema, who scored the first hattrick of the tournament with three stunning penalty corner hits. He tried three different variations and all of them landed into the net. Taekema was the top scorer in the last World Cup in 2006.

While the Netherlands were all over their opponents, Germany, the reigning champions, aiming for a rare hattrick of titles, were distinctly lucky to troop out with the one point as the Asian Games gold medallists allowed them to make a comeback after taking a 2-0 lead at half time.

The Koreans must be ruing their luck as Sung Hoon Yoon missed a golden opportunity to clinch the match-winner seven minutes from close when he failed to hit from hand-shaking distance. Overall, the South Koreans were clearly the superior side and played the dominant role in the first half.

The Koreans played at a faster pace and struck twice in the first session through Hye Sung Hyun and Nam Young Lee. The second goal was a brilliant effort by Lee, who reverse-flicked from an extreme acute angle to leave the German goalkeeper stunned.

The holders were much better in the second half. After Florian Fuchs struck off a penalty corner in the 50th minute, Benjamin Wess made it 2-2 much to the relief of the German bench.

“Playing the Koreans is always tough,” said German captain Maximmillan Muller. “We missed a lot of chances. That was the problem,” he said.

In the day’s first match, New Zealand twice came back from behind to beat a fighting Canada 3-2.

The Black Sticks, who were trailing 1-2 at the breather, made a strong comeback in the second session to start their World Cup campaign on a winning note.

Indian-origin player Priyesh Bhana (11th minute), Nicholas Haig (47th) and veteran playmaker Ryan Archibald (67th) scored for New Zealand. For Canada, who were dominant till midway of the opening session, Mark Pearson (2nd minute) and Philip Wright (20th) found the target.

The Telegraph, India



Korean scare for defending champions Germany in hockey World Cup

New Delhi: Defending champions Germany showed their never-say-die attitude as they made a remarkable comeback from a two-goal deficit to hold an impressive South Korea 2-2 in a thrilling hockey World Cup match here today.

The Germans, who were gunning for a hat-trict of titles after their 2002 and 2006 triumphs, were trailing 0-2 at the breather via goals from South Koreans Hye Sung Hyun (3rd minute) and Nam Yong Lee (15th) in the Pool A match under floodlights at Major Dhyan Chand Stadium here.

However, Florian Fuchs (50th) and Benjamin Wess (58th) scored a goal each in the space of eight minutes to save the blushes for the Germans, who are also the reigning Olympic champions as well as number one in FIH rankings.

The Koreans, ranked fifth in the world, would also held their heads high after the performance today. They had beaten the Germans 5-3 in their last meeting in the Champions Trophy in Melbourne last year.

In the two meetings they had in the World Cup, Germany had won the semifinal in 2002 while it was a goal-less draw in a pool match in 2006.

Germany made the first attacking move and earned a penalty corner in the second minute itself but failed to score.

Next minute, the nippy South Koreans seized the initiative as they opened scoring through a powerful drag flick by Hye Sung Hyun which left German goalkeeper Max Weinhold with no chance to react.

DNA



Korea surprised us with two early strikes: Germany captain

NEW DELHI: Germany captain Maximillian Muller on Monday said Korea surprised them with two early strikes but expressed happiness at the comeback in the second half of their hockey World Cup Pool A match.

Defending champions Germans had to toil hard to snatch the draw from the clutches of defeat after world ranked fifth Korea went 2-0 up in the first half at the floodlit Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

"They (Korea) surprised us with the two goals in the first half but there was no change in their style of play," Muller said.

"But I am quite happy with our comeback. At the end we had lot of chances to score but we failed. We are looking forward to get better step by step," he said.

The Germans earned as many as five penalty corners in the first half but failed to covert a single one and Muller blamed it on the deep nature of the turf.

"I am not that happy with our penalty corner conversion. We got five penalty corners in the first half but did not score a single goal.

"The pitch has something do with it. The pitch is quite deep. When you go for drag-flicks the stick gets stuck a little bit on the pitch. The pitch is also little bit bouncy, but it will get better and better with every passing day," Muller said.

Germany coach Markus Weise, however, said he was not very happy with the result but praised his boys for the comeback.

"I am little bit unhappy with the start to the tournament but the boys invested a lot of hard work to comeback into the match and this is the positive thing that came out of this match," he said.

"It is very difficult to score against Korea. They are very good in counter attacks. But this inexperienced side didn't panic after they were 0-2 down," Weise added.

Korea captain Ho Jong Seo and coach Kyo Seok Shin said his team lacked the sting in the second half of the match.

"We gave our all in the first half and so we were powerless in the second half," Seo said.

"We played well in the first half but we played well only in patches in the second half. I am not very satisfied with the result, we can do better than this.

"We will take one match at a time and try to give our best in the next match. We are taking this tournament as a preparatory event ahead of the Asian Games," he added.

The Times of India



German coach pats team

Y.B. Sarangi


NEW DELHI: German coach Markus Weise was relieved that his young team was mature enough to make a difficult comeback and hold a tough side like Korea.

Weise lauded Germany's team effort for staging a fightback after trailing 0-2 at half-time against a side which relied on counterattacks.

“There was a lot of hard work invested and it was a positive sign. The boys stuck to the plan and had patience. I did not see the young side panic,” he said. Captain Max Muller was not happy that his side could not make the most of the penalty corners.

New Zealand coach Shane McLeod said the absence of its star striker Simon Child was felt in the hard-fought win against Canada. “It has affected us. We really had to keep balance in attack. Today was the evidence (of a key player's absence),” he said.

Captain Phillip Burrows also acknowledged the problem and praised Child's replacement Priyesh Bhana for his good showing. McLeod heaved a sigh of relief at having started the campaign with a win. “It is nice to take away three points. It was a difficult game,” he said.

Playing his 300th international match was not a memorable experience for Canadian captain Ken Pereira. “It does not mean anything when you lose,” he said.

“I had expected a better performance. It is the World Cup where the top 12 teams play. We got to win games,” Pereira said. He blamed his team's defeat on the missed opportunities.

Despite the 3-0 win against Argentina, star Dutch drag-flicker TaekeTaekema said it was a hard game. “We underperformed. We have to do better. It may be three-off-three (penalty corner conversions), but it is a small part of my game,” he said.

Like German skipper Muller, Taekema said the pitch was bumpy but he had got the hang of it during the warm-up games.

The Hindu



Taekema hat-trick helps Dutch drub Argentina

NEW DELHI: Veteran drag-flicker Taeke Taekema scored the first hat-trict of the tournament as the Netherlands blanked bottom-ranked Argentina 3-0 in their Pool A hockey World Cup match on Monday.

Taekema struck in the 14th, 35th and 61st minute as three-time champions the Netherlands stamped their class against Argentina who are the lowest ranked team in the 12-team tournament at 14th.

With the hat-trict, Taekema is just one goal away from equalling legendary country-mate penalty corner specialist Floris Jan Bovelander's 17 World Cup goals.

The Dutch won three penalty corners in the first half and Taekema, who took all of them, converted two. He then added another goal to his kitty in the second half to score the first hat-trict of the tournament under floodlights in front of a handful of spectators at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium.

Taekema, one of world's best and most experienced drag-flickers, scored of the first penalty corner when he smashed the ball to the right upper corner of the Argentine net in the 13th minute to notch up his first goal.

His second goal came in the third penalty corner of his side which he sent to the bottom right corner of the Argentine goalpost in the 34th minute.

In between, Billy Bakker had a golden opportunity to score from close range for Argentina but the ball hit the crossbar in the 21st minute.

The Times of India



Hat-trick for Taekema

Holland 3 Argentina 0

Taeke Taekema scored a hat-trick from penalty corners to lead Holland to a 3-0 win over Argentina at the men's field hockey World Cup.

Taekema collected the first hat trick at this event with goals in the 14th, 35th and 61st minutes for the three-time champions.

"I'm not after personal landmarks. My ambition is to help the Netherlands clinch the World Cup," said Taekema, who was not a member of the Dutch team when it last won the World Cup in 1998.

Taekema's hat-trick against Argentina took his World Cup tally to 16, just one short of another Dutch penalty corner specialist Floris Jan-Bovelander.

"A good start, of course," said Dutch coach Michel van den Heuvel. "Taeke is obviously a very important player for us and it is good to have him in such form.

"This is only the first match and we are settling down well."

The Times of India



Drag-flicker Taekema feels Dutch need to improve

NEW DELHI: Despite opening their World Cup campaign on Monday with a thumping 3-0 win over Argentina, star drag-flicker Taeke Taekema feels that the Dutch will have to improve a lot if they want to lift their fourth title.

The 30-year-old defender, who was bang on target on all three penalty corners, said the Argentines played a hard game but they were happy with the end result at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

"We under performed today, but when you have a 3-0 result on the board, you are always happy. But to be fair we have to improve a lot if we have to win the title," he said.

Asked about his own performance, Taekema said: "I took three shots and converted them all. So I had a 100 percent record today. Can't complain about that. And besides my dragflicking abilities I am deep defender as well and I did my job successfully as well."

Taekema also pointed out that at present there is little too chose between experienced Pakistani drag-flicker Sohail Abbas and young Indian Sandeep Singh.

"It is a difficult art to master and it needs years of practice. I am still learning it. Sohail is obviously the king but by present standards there is little to choose between Sandeep and Sohail," he said.

Taekema also said that the players are having difficulty in adjusting to the newly laid turf at the venue.

"It is a bit of problem, because the turf is a bit rough and bumpy. During penalty corners it is tough to stop and hit it, but these problems are always there in such big tournaments," he added.

Argentine coach Pablo Lombi was visibly disappointed with the 3-0 drubbing.

"I expected a better show from the boys. Hopefully we will put up a better show in the next match," he said.

The Times of India



Shivender suspended for three matches

s2h team


India's star forward Shivendra Singh, who scored the first goal yesterday against Pakistan, has been suspended for next three matches.

Announcing this in a press meet, Tournament Director Ken Read said the Indian management has filed an appeal which will be discussed today night and the results will, in any case, be announced two hours before the start of Tuesday's matches.

This is the complete letter of the TD in this regard:

OFFICIAL COMMUNICATION

Decision in the hearing of breach of the Code of Conduct by India player Shivendra Singh (18) in the match Pakistan v India 28th February 2010. In the 39th minute of the match Pakistan v India on the 28th February 20910 Pakistan player Fareed AHMED (9) was in possession of the ball. India player Shivendra Singh (18) successfully jab tackled Fareed and move off on the counter attack. As he moved past Fareed his lifted his stick and struck Fareed above the eye causing a small cut.

Shivendra viewed the video of the incident and showed his team video frame by frame. At the time the stick was lifted the ball was ahead of Shivendra on the ground and away from the players. These facts were agreed to by Shivendra at the hearing. Shivendra argued at the hearing that the stick was lifted when he put his second hand on the stick It was argued that an accident happened. Shivendra stated that he had no intention to hit Fareed after the jabbing and just wanted to run faster and for that to hold his stick in the both hands.

I reject this argument. There was no need for the stick to be lifted. I find that the stick was deliberately raised and that the behaviour of Shivendra was reckless as to the safety of Fareed.

I was asked to take into account the fact that Shivendra commenced to represent India in 2006 and played in the 2006 world cup. He has played 110 games without suspension. I was told that he has not had a single card in his career, that he is a very disciplined player on and off the ground.

The attitude of Shivendra at the hearing was respectful and I take this into account in his favour together with his past record.

The guidelines put this as a level 2 offence – physical assault without serious injury. The penalty suggested is a minimum of 2 matches. In my view this is not a case to apply the minimum because the ball remained on the ground at all times and was clear of the players when the Fareed was struck. The action of lifting the stick was deliberate. A 4 match suspension is appropriate but given the history of this player I consider that a suspension of 3 matches is appropriate. As no penalty was incurred by Shivendra during the match there can be no discount under 4 (iii) of the Guidelines to Tournament Director’s.

Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010

Decision

My decision is that India player Shivendra Singh (18) is suspended for the matches:

India v Australia 2nd March,

Spain v India 4th March and

England v India 6th March.

Ken Read
Tournament Director
Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010.


Stick2Hockey.com



Hero Honda FIH World Cup, New Delhi, India Appeal Jury Decision


Applicant: Shivendra Singh (India - 18)

Appeal Jury : Antonio von Ondarza, President
Hari Kant, Member
Johan Wakkie, Member

The Appeal Jury convened a hearing at 09.00 am on the 2 March 2010 in accordance with articles 15 and 16 of the Tournament Regulations of the Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010.

The notice of appeal on behalf of Shivendra Singh is dated 1 March 2010.

In relation to Article 16 of the Tournament Regulations, the appeal is against the penalty and thereby against the decision of the Technical Delegate (TD) issued on 1 March 2010 whereby Shivendra

Singh is suspended for three matches to be played on 2, 4 and 6 March 2010.

The TD determined that during the match Pakistan v India played on 28 February 2010, Shivendra Singh was in breach of the FIH Code of Conduct in particular clause 4.iii.a: “Physical abuse or hostility towards any other participant, person or any other member of the public”.

Shivendra Singh attended accompanied by:
Harendra Singh (Manager, India)
Ramandeep Singh Grewal (Assistant Coach, India)

Jurisdiction of the Appeal Jury

The Appeal Jury notes articles 15 and 16 of the Tournament Regulations in particular article 16.6:

“The appeal shall not be by way of re-hearing of the evidence. It shall be limited to a review of the decision of the Tournament Director to ensure compliance with the Guidelines and the principles of natural justice.”

Further, the Appeal Jury notes and draws the attention of the applicant to article 16.10 of the Tournament Regulations:

2 “The decision of the Appeal Jury shall be final and binding on all parties concerned subject to Regulation 3.5 hereto and to Article 18.2 of the FIH Statutes.”

Discussion

The Jury reviewed the Decision of the TD as notified by him and the video evidence considered by him.

The Jury considered the case presented during the hearing in the written and oral submissions. The Jury also reviewed video provided on behalf of Shivendra Singh.

The Jury noted that the TD concluded in his Decision that:

“The guidelines put this as a level 2 offence – physical assault without serious injury. The penalty suggested is a minimum of 2 matches. In my view this is not a case to apply the minimum because the ball remained on the ground at all times and was clear of the players when the Fareed was struck. The action of lifting the stick was deliberate. A 4 match suspension is appropriate but given the history of this player I consider that a suspension of 3 matches is appropriate.”

The Jury considered that the action of Shivendra Singh in raising his stick was reckless but that he did not deliberately intend to cause injury. It must be clearly understood that such reckless action is not acceptable in international competition. The Jury considers that it constitutes physical assault as referenced in the FIH Code of Conduct Guidelines of Offences and Penalties.

The Jury concluded in accordance with the aforesaid Guidelines that the offence was Level 2, was reckless but not deliberate and therefore requires the minimum penalty of a two match suspension..

Decision

On the basis of the foregoing, the Appeal Jury rules that:
1 the appeal is partly upheld
2 Singh’s action amounted to a Level 2 offence as described in the FIH Tournament Regulations (Appendix 5)
3 the penalty is decreased to a suspension of two matches
4 Singh is suspended for the matches to be played by India on at the Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010:

 

  • India v Australia, 2 March 2010
  • Spain v India, 4 March 2010

5 there is no order as to costs
6 the deposit shall be refunded.

Antonio von Ondarza, President, FIH Appeal Jury
New Delhi, 2 March 2010

Official site



Shivendra Singh gets a three-match ban

Verdict on appeal expected today

Sports Reporter


NEW DELHI: India striker Shivendra Singh has been handed a three-match suspension for “deliberately raising the stick” and causing “physical assault without serious injury” to Pakistan player Fareed Ahmed during Sunday's league match in the Hero Honda FIH World Cup tournament.

The Indian team has appealed against the decision. A jury will review the incident and a verdict is expected on Tuesday.

If the decision is upheld, Shivendra will miss the matches against Australia (Tuesday), Spain (Thursday) and England (Saturday).

“Shivendra stated that he had no intention to hit Fareed and just wanted to run faster and for that held the stick in both the hands,” Tournament Director Ken Read said on Monday.

Read rejects argument

“I reject this argument. There was no need for the stick to be lifted. I find the stick was deliberately raised and that the behaviour of Shivendra was reckless as to the safety of Fareed,” said Read, while mentioning that it was a Level-2 offence. Read justified his action, saying, “the ball was on the ground and the players were off the ball, plus or minus five feet. There was absolutely no reason to raise the stick.”

The Tournament Director said it invited more than the minimum penalty of a two-match suspension.

“A four-match suspension is appropriate, but given the history of the player (he has not got a single card in 110 games), I consider that a three-match suspension is appropriate,” the Aussie said.

Asked why the on-field umpires had not taken action, Read said it was not noticed on the ground. Read said he interacted with the Indian and Pakistani players before reaching the decision.

Meanwhile, the Tournament Director has suspended Pakistan's Irfan Muhammad for one match for wearing a glove, which was against FIH regulations, during Sunday's match.

India coach Jose Brasa defended Shivendra and said the whole team was sad and expected a reduction in the penalty. He added that Pakistan had not complained about the incident.

Brasa shocked

Brasa was shocked with the heavy penalty. “I have never seen a three-match penalty in my life. It is a huge punishment. A three-match suspension means half of the World Cup gone for a stupid thing which he did not do on purpose. We will have 15 players for the next three matches and one player short against Australia will be tough,” said Brasa.

If the Tournament Director had the intention of sending a signal to other sides why had he chosen India, he asked. Brasa said the players had to focus on the next game keeping their emotions in check.

“After beating Pakistan, there is too much of euphoria. Our job is to put their feet on the ground. We are working to maintain the intensity with which the team beat Pakistan,” he said.

The Hindu



Appeal against 3-match ban

OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


New Delhi: India’s hockey World Cup campaign received a severe jolt on Monday when ace striker Shivendra Singh was handed a three-match suspension for “deliberately” hitting Pakistan midfielder Fareed Ahmed with the hockey stick, an incident later viewed on video by the International Hockey Federation (FIH).

India play Australia, considered the toughest team in Pool B, on Tuesday. Shivendra’s absence will surely be felt as the striker played a key role in the match against Pakistan. Shivendra had never been booked in his 110-match international career and, even in this case, the incident was ignored by the on-field umpires.

Minutes after tournament director Australian Ken Read announced the decision, Hockey India (HI) secretary general Narendra Batra filed an appeal against the ban. A decision on the appeal would be taken soon, Read said.

While a livid India coach Jose Brasa said Shivendra was penalised for no fault of his, Read said he was confident the foul was deliberate.

“There was a clear breach of the code of conduct. There is no dispute over the facts of the case. He will be suspended for the next three matches. The Indian team have appealed and we hope to know the jury’s ruling soon,” Read said.

Read said there was no need for the stick to be lifted and that the behaviour of Shivendra was reckless to the safety of Ahmed. The Pakistani player suffered a small cut above the eye. Brasa, on the other hand, blasted the FIH saying it was a very harsh decision that would affect his team’s performance.

“I haven’t seen such things at any world-level meet,” said the experienced coach. “To suspend someone for three matches in a seven-match tournament is very harsh and demoralising for the team. The problem is that I am now left with only 15 players for the match against Australia.

“I know the FIH has the right to do such things during the course of a tournament. But why pick on our team only,” asked the Spaniard. “Even the other two matches of the day were very physical. No one bothered to keep a check on those.”

Brasa said he himself watched the video and found nothing wrong with it. “The umpires ignored it and there was no complaint from the Pakistan side. Then why did they take away half the World Cup from one of my best players?”

The FIH has also suspended Pakistan’s Irfan Mohammed for a game for wearing unapproved gear in the match versus India. Pakistan manager Asif Bajwa has been severely reprimanded.

The Telegraph, India



Shivendra Singh suspended for three matches

NEW DELHI: In-form Shivendra Singh has been slapped a three-match suspension for deliberately hitting a Pakistani player last night and the Indian team management on Monday appealed to the World Cup tournament director against the suspension.

"Shivendra was found deliberately hitting a Pakistani player in the eye in last night's match which earned him a three-match suspension," International Hockey Federation (FIH) spokesman Arjen Meijer said.

"India, however, is free to appeal against the ban and if they do so, an appeal jury would be set up to look into their appeal," Meijer explained.

A Hockey India official said an appeal has already been lodged against the suspension.

"We already have made an appeal to tournament director Kean Read against the appeal. We have deposited the Euro 600 as appeal fee," the official added.

Shivendra is a crucial cog in the forward-line and he opened India's account against Pakistan on Sunday by scoring from a rebound.

India play Australia in the next Pool B match on Tuesday, followed by ties against Spain (Thursday) and England (Saturday).

The Times of India



'Pick and Choose' policy of TD irks Jose Brasa

s2h Team


"The punishment is big, huge, enormous". This is how India's chief coach Jose Brasa described the Shivendra’s three-match suspension.

Indian coach Jose Brasa has further termed as harsh FIH World Cup Tournament Director Ken Read’s decision to suspend striker Shivendra Singh for three matches after an incident during the team’s opening match against Pakistan on Sunday.

Talking to reporters at the Maj. Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Monday evening, Brasa said while Tournament Directors retained the right to make such decisions, he had never been witness to such ‘exemplary’ punishment being meted out to a player without any complaints from the on-field umpires or the opposite team.

"I have been to all major tournaments in the world including world cups, for both men and women, Olympics, but have never come across such a decision", he wondered

“We maintain that Shivendra did not strike the Pakistan player with his stick deliberately,” he said, pointing out that it was severe penalty to make India play with just 15 players instead of 16 over the next three matches. “It will mean that we cannot use our substitutions as effectively and that our players will get tired more than the other sides.”

Brasa said the coaching staff was working to ensure that the suspension would not affect the team’s morale too much. “We are telling the team that it has overcome all hurdles and focus on playing well on the field,” he said. “I am confident that the players have the ability to cope with the physical and emotional demands made of them because of the suspension.”

"We are little bit angry, why to take extreme step when the other side did not even complain about it", he asked.

There were so omany incidents in the first days matches where more severe acts had been committed than the one by Shivender Singh. If he wants to send a strong message to the other assembled teams here, why you pick us. Why not other teams? Jose asked with 'josh'.

Even Sandeep Singh was very physically tackled in the team, the player who did that was not picked up for penalization. Two matches were played before our match, why cannot he pick out one action to send the message?"

Acts of this nature should be condemned, though I feel the number matches Shivender was penalized will be reduced in the appeal, it is unfair to us, we are unlucky to be portrayed like this"

Giving a view that that he had to now do with only 15 players for rotation, he asserted this will upset the plans, and players will be tired more.

Stick2Hockey.com



Jose Brasa lashes out at tournament director Ken Read

New Delhi: India coach Jose Brasa today lashed out at tournament director Ken Read for slapping Shivendra Singh with a three-match suspension for an "unintentional" foul against a Pakistani player during their hockey World Cup opener here.

Brasa wondered why tournament director Ken Read had picked an Indian player while players of other teams were "let off with far more graver offences".

Read had suspended Shivendra for "deliberately" hitting Fareed Ahmed by lifting his stick during the high-voltage India-Pakistan encounter yesterday but Brasa said other matches of the tournament so far were much more physical and graver offences were committed.

"The three-match suspension penalty was very harsh and in that sense wrong. I don't say he (tournament director) does not have the power under FIH rules. He has the authority but the decision was wrong. It was an enormous penalty for an unintentional foul," Brasa told reporters.

"If Mr Read wants to send a message why did he pick the Indian team. My players were struck on the face in that match against Pakistan and matches involving Australia, England and other countries were much more physical involving graver offences by their players.

"I have never ever experienced a player being handed a three-match penalty in my life -- be it Olympics, World Cup or Champions Trophy. Three match is half of the World Cup. To penalise a player by suspending him half of a World Cup for an unintentional foul was enormous," said Brasa.

The experienced coach, however, made it clear that he was not suggesting that Read had acted in that way because he was from Australia, against whom India play tomorrow.

"I am not even suggesting that he was biased against us as he is an Australian. I am just talking about his decision as a tournament director," he said.

Brasa said they expect Shivendra would be condoned by the Appeal's Jury, which will have FIH chief Leandro Negre as one of three members, from the penalty.

"We are hoping that Shivendra will be condoned of charges as it was just an unintentional foul trying to move ahead. I think, at least his penalty will be reduced," said the Spaniard.

He said the whole team was very sad after the incident and they would suffer if Shivendra has to serve the three-match ban.

"We will suffer because in that case we will have one less player for substitution. I need to keep players fresh and fit in the remaining matches against the likes of Australia, England and Spain. But with one man less we will suffer in the next three matches if Shivendra is banned," he said.

DNA



Coach Brasa calls Shivendra's ban harsh

NEW DELHI: Indian hockey coach Jose Brasa on Monday minced no words in expressing his anguish at World Cup tournament director Ken Read's decision to hand a three-match suspension to forward Shivendra Singh for "deliberately" hitting a Pakistani player, calling the ruling "harsh" and "unfortunate".

Brasa said it has made things difficult for his team ahead of Tuesday's tie against tournament favourites Australia.

The Spaniard also said he did not agree with Read that Shivendra "deliberately" hit Pakistani midfielder Fareed Ahmed.

"It was a normal movement of the stick. He was guiding the ball and it was not intentional. I have seen the video. And he was penalised for three matches which is half the World Cup. There was no complaint from the umpires and even the Pakistan team did not report it. The tournament director has the power, but penalising him for three matches is too harsh," Brasa said.

"I have never seen any player being suspended for three matches. Not even in the Olympics or the World Cup."

Brasa said after the suspension the team has been reduced to 15 players and "it will be a difficult task for players to grapple with the problem".

"It will be demanding on the players physically because now we are one player less. We have to see that we maintain the intensity throughout the match. It will be difficult for me to make substitutions."

When told of Read's comments that it would serve as an example for other teams, Brasa said: "Why is the Indian team being presented as an example? Why not any other team? There was a lot of physical play in the other two matches on the opening day, but no player from any other team was warned."

"I am angry and sad and so are the players."

"But they have to get over it quickly as we play Australia on Tuesday. They are a very good side. We have beaten Pakistan, but the players now need to focus on their next match."

Incidentally, tournament director Read is also an Australian.

Asked whether he was optimistic that the suspension would be reduced after their appeal, Brasa said: "I expect it to be reduced."

A three-member committee, which will include International Hockey Federation chief Leandro Negre, will hear India's appeal on Tuesday.

The Times of India



Ex players smell conspiracy behind Shivendra's suspension

NEW DELHI: Former India players smelt a rat behind inform Shivendra Singh's three-match suspension, alleging that it was done intentionally to weaken the hosts ahead of their second match against Australia on Tuesday.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) tournament director Ken Read, who himself is an Australian, slapped Shivendra with a three-match suspension for deliberately hitting a Pakistani player last night even though the Zeeshan Ashraf-led side did not bring the incident to the notice of the world body.

Former India captain Zafar Iqbal criticised the decision and said such unfair rulings were not surprising for the sub-continent teams.

"It was a very harsh decision and I don't know on what basis they have given it. There was hardly any protest by the Pakistani players. The suspension for three matches is a big blow to India," Zafar said.

"It was not such a big matter, it was part of the game. The match between England and Australia was also very tough and witnessed such incident. The umpire himself has not seen it even though he was very close.

"We Asian countries always have to go thorough such incidents, there is no doubt about it. They always think that we deliberately do it," he said.

Former player Aslam Sher Khan, who was a member of the 1975 World Cup winning side, agreed with Zafar, saying it was deliberately done to down India's morale ahead of the match against Australia.

"Such a harsh decision should not have been given to Shivendra. He is one of our best strikers and his absence in the next three matches will definitely affect India. It's a big blow to us.

"I think it's a conspiracy to make us weak psychologically before the Australia match. For Australia the match against us is a do-or-die game and Shivendra's absence will definitely help them," he said.

He also said that such decisions were not new with India as the eight-time Olympic champions have faced it on many occasions before.

"They (FIH) used to do it earlier in umpiring but with the video referral system in place this time, they opted for other means," Aslam said.

Shivendra is a crucial cog in the forward-line and he opened India's account against Pakistan yesterday by scoring from a rebound.

India has appealed against the suspension and the FIH has set up a jury, which will come out with its decision by Tuesday.

India play Australia in the next Pool B match on Tuesday, followed by ties against Spain on Thursday and England on Saturday.

The Times of India



Shivendra and Irfan suspended

NEW DELHI: India striker Shivendra Singh was on Monday banned for three matches and Pakistan’s Irfan Muhammad for one game for different violations in the men’s field hockey World Cup.

Shivendra was handed the suspension by tournament director Ken Read for hitting Pakistan’s Fareed Ahmed above the eye in Sunday’s league clash between the Asian rivals. Read penalised Irfan for wearing an unapproved glove and knee pad to defend the first penalty corner in the same match, a statement from the International Hockey Federation (FIH) said.

Shivendra will miss India’s key group B matches against Australia, Spain and England, but will be available for the last game against South Africa. Irfan will sit out of Pakistan’s match against Spain on Tuesday (today).

Shivendra, who scored a goal in India’s emphatic 4-1 win on Monday, was charged under a level 2 offence of FIH’s code of conduct which deals with physical assault without causing serious injury.

Read said he handed the three-match suspension after video replays suggested that Shivendra had hit Fareed deliberately, even though the on-field umpires did not penalise the player during the match.

Pakistan’s Irfan was suspended following manager Asif Bajwa’s admission that the offending glove and knee pad were not taken to the technical committee for approval before the tournament.

The News International



Pakistan's Irfan banned for a match for using illegal pads

NEW DELHI: Pakistan hockey player Irfan Muhammad was handed a one-match suspension for using illegal equipment in the match against India in their World Cup group opener.

Irfan, who is a defender, will now miss Pakistan's next game against Spain on Tuesday at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

Tournament director Ken Read while announcing the decision said: "Irfan wore a long gauntlet type glove and a knee pad to defend the first penalty corner. In the Pakistan equipment bag, behind the goal, was the pair of each of these. The technical director removed the equipments immediately after Irfan was seen wearing them. Pakistan manager Asif Bajwa was invited to a hearing to explain what had occurred."

Another Pakistani player was warned for using the same equipments in the Champions Challenge tournament at Salta in Argentina.

"At the managers' meeting for this event, it was explained that there would be zero tolerance for wearing any equipment which is not approved. Asif admitted that the equipment worn by Irfan did not meet FIH's approval," Read said.

Irfan was called to the hearing and admitted wearing the equipment. Bajwa also admitted being guilt and apologised for it.

The Times of India



Heart-warming show by India

Another intense contest in the offing against Australia today

S. Thyagarajan

— PHOTO: AFP

DOING HIS REPUTATION NO HARM: India's second choice goalkeeper Sreejesh gave a good account of himself in the match against Pakistan.


New Delhi: The Holi festivities in the capital on Monday had an added aura. India's heart-warming show against Pakistan in the hockey World Cup opener contributed immensely to this.

Truly, it was an excellent performance, especially in the background of the happenings during the last one month, events that gave a new meaning to epithets like chaos, fiasco, incompetence and what not.

Sunday's super demonstration of proficiency, professionalism and perfection in team work more than obliterated the odium of the recent 3-6 reverse against Pakistan in the Champions Challenge at Salta (Argentina).

Many even feel that the outcome erased once and for all the sad day and memories of the 1-7 thrashing in the Asian Games final in 1982.

Distinct change

India's display on Sunday clearly showed a distinct change in style and system. Not that aesthetics has been given up for the sake of a different matrix; but the velocity at which the patterns were threaded touched an emotional chord.

The captivating moves by Rajpal Singh and Prabhjot Singh, matched the work of the strong mid-field cordon manned commendably by Halappa, Sardar and Mahadik.

While no praise is too high for Sandeep Singh, whose two goals sealed the verdict, adequate mention is due to Gurbaj Singh for his timely interceptions and clearances inside the zone and circle.

Eyebrows were raised when Sreejesh was fielded instead of the tested and tried Adrian D'Souza. Actually, it was thought that the latter was injured or indisposed. In the end, nothing of that sort was reported.

The team management asserted that Sreejesh needed to be played. With India dominating in the rival half Sreejesh, had nothing much to do, but the few saves he made underscored his confidence level.

The euphoria generated by the win over Pakistan must be harnessed when the team faces Australia on Tuesday. There is no place even for a hint of complacency.

Shock defeat

The Aussies are smarting under the shock defeat inflicted by England in the opening encounter. It was somewhat surprising to see the Aussies succumbing the way they did despite showing all the signs of authority in the rival area.

The 13 penalty corners forced are clear evidence of this. But it was not Australia's day.

The crowd, perhaps influenced by the attacks on Indian students in Australian cities, clearly was behind the Englishmen throughout.

The Aussies are expected to enter the field on Tuesday with renewed vigour to get back to the winning mode.

Ranked No. 2 in the world and seeking to regain the trophy after 1986, Australia is very much in the comfort zone as far as records are concerned.

Poor record

Of the 87 matches played, India has a mere 15 victories against 57 defeats and 15 drawn games. In World Cups, India has one win and four defeats with a solitary draw.

For India another tense and intense contest is in the offing on Tuesday.

The Hindu



Clarke worry for SA game

By Cathy Harris


Jonty Clarke, the Reading forward, is the only doubt for England’s game against South Africa today in pool B after suffering a sore hamstring in the 3-2 win over Australia on Sunday.

Andy Halliday, the team manager, said: “We’re hoping he’ll be fit but our main worry is getting the players in the right frame of mind.”

The Times



Tuesday to unfold battle between two high-profile coaches

India's World Cup battle against Australia on Tuesday will not only be played on the field but also in the minds of the master coaches of the two countries, Jose Brasa and Ric Charlesworth.

The common link between Brasa and Charlesworth is their association with Indian hockey to revive the eight-time Olympic winners' golden days.

Australian Charlesworth's stint as technical adviser lasted only a year. He quit in 2008, unable to find his way through the bureaucratic hurdles in India. In contrast, Spaniard Brasa seems to be gifted with a dogged determination which has kept him going till date.

Brasa, who coached the Spanish women's team to a top podium finish in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, took over the reins of the Indian team after Charlesworth left and also consulted the Australian before coming to India.

"When I came to India I knew there will be obstacles. I have told my players that we will have to cross every hurdle and look at the positive side. I am here to learn," Brasa would always say.

Ten months into the job and Brasa has learned to rough it out in the Indian system. Though, the occasional anguish does show up.

The emphatic victory against Pakistan must have bolstered the Spaniard. For 10 months Brasa has gone about his task quietly, fine tuning the players' skills and trying to blend the Indians' traditional style with European finesse. The players found it difficult to adjust initially, but are now at home with Brasa's methods.

It was certainly a transformed Indian side on display against Pakistan Sunday night. They showed speed and moved around the turf fluently. More importantly, they played with a professional approach and stuck to the gameplan decided by their coach.

"Brasa's emphasis on getting the fundamentals right helped. You could see against Pakistan, the players got right the basics like timely delivery of the ball, positional delivery of the ball. You could do so many things with the ball but you have to release it quickly," former India international Ashok Kumar told IANS.

"The players were also moving freely. They were helping each other and there was a team spirit, which is a healthy sign."

"I am happy that Brasa has shown faith in players like Bharat Chikara when no other coach was willing to put his faith in him. See how Chikara played yesterday, not allowing the Pakistani forwards to move freely and at the same time, also playing his game," he said.

Charlesworth, who coached his national side to Champions trophy victory last year, may have had a bad day in office Sunday as title contenders Australia lost to England but make no mistake that he will make all the necessary moves to bring his team back in the reckoning.

"Australia lost the first match. Charlesworth will try to do something new and better," warns former India captain Zafar Iqbal.

Zafar points out the difference in style between the two coaches.

"Brasa believes in the Eoropean style while Charlesworth believes in the traditional formation. Look at Australia. They are playing in the same formation in which we used to play earlier," Zafar told IANS.

When India visited Australia a year ago, they were beaten by the Australian developmental squad coached by Charlesworth.

Tuesday's clash will be the two sides' first meeting at a major tournament for a year. Even Charlesworth concedes he cannot predict much about the Indian side.

"I can't say. We haven't played them in a while. I haven't even seen them play for sometime now," said Charlesworth after his team's loss Sunday and before going to study India in their match against Pakistan.

"India is a good team. But we've been in such situations before. There are no real surprises in international hockey."

Hindustan Times



India look for a repeat

Hosts have a job at hand today vs Aussies

JAYDEEP BASU


New Delhi: Fresh from their mind-boggling victory over Pakistan, India have yet another big match to play in Pool B when they take on the mighty Australians in the hockey World Cup on Tuesday.

India coach Jose Brasa has been talking about this match from the day the draw for the World Cup was released.

“We are in a tough group and the Australians are the biggest hurdle,” he said. “If they continue to perform the way they did in the Champions Trophy in Melbourne, then very few would be able to stop them from winning the title,” he said.

The Australians are perennial favourites for the title and certainly the most compact team in the tournament.

Sunday’s unexpected defeat against England makes them even more dangerous as they can be expected to go flat out to grab full points against India and stay in contention for a last four berth.

As such, India can expect a bruising and somewhat physical encounter against a team whose line-up is the envy of all. With FIH Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer leading from the front and the likes of Eddie Ockenden and Des Abbot for support, the Aussies pack the kind of punch that can knock out any opponent.

“It’s going to be a difficult match,” admitted Brasa. “They lost to England, but then England are a vastly improved team, working very hard for the London Olympics in 2012.”

To make matters more difficult for India, Australia coach Ric Charlesworth could well be looking forward to the match in order to prove a point. Last year, after being appointed technical director of Indian hockey, the revered coach was forced to leave following a bitter tiff with the authorities. Charlesworth so far has not said anything publicly but he would certainly not be in a charitable mood for the clash.

The Indian camp, however, was hardly worried. “We have just won a big game that has really boosted our confidence,” said India captain Rajpal Singh.

“Our team, I am sure, will continue to perform smoothly in the rest of the matches. Australia, too, are vulnerable, England have shown it on the opening day. We are not going to yield even an inch without a fight.”

Having won 51 of their 72 World Cup outings, Australia boast of a win-loss ratio of 71 per cent — higher than any other team.

Not only that, the team were runners-up in the last two editions and given the statistics Brasa has advised his boys to not get carried away by the triumph against Pakistan.

As for Australia, Charlesworth himself has acknowledged that Tuesday’s tie is a must-win match for his team.

The last match time the two teams met was in the Champions Trophy, five years back in Chennai, when Australia won 4-1.

Australia have come here on the back of their Champions Trophy triumph at home last year and the team are being seen as one of the title contenders. The Aussies are ranked No.2 in the world.

History, too, favours Australia with the Indians having won just one of the six World Cup matches involving the two sides.

The Telegraph, India



India hope to maintain winning momentum against Australia

NEW DELHI: After a virtuoso performance in an emotionally charged campaign-opener against arch-rivals Pakistan, India will have to maintain the attacking form when they take on Australia in their second Pool B match of the hockey World Cup on Tuesday.

India produced one of the finest performances in long time in front of a capacity crowd at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium to beat Pakistan 4-1 on Sunday and now would want to overcome Australia to brighten their chances for semi-finals.

Pumped up by a cheering home crowd, everything clicked for India against Pakistan with the midfield, defence and upfront spot on.

The defence of Sandeep Singh, Diwakar Ram and Dhananjay Mahdik were able to keep at check the dangerous strike duo of Rehan Butt and Shakeel Abbasi throughout the match.

The upfront led by Prabhjot Singh, Shivendra Singh and Rajpal Singh created havoc with their fast-paced interchanges, but the difference was the midfield with an outstanding Sardar Singh.

On the other hand, Australia would be an altogether different side with their one-touched fast-paced hit and run style of play and India will have to be extra vigilant as the Kookaburras are now like a wounded tiger after their 2-3 loss to England on Sunday.

Having won 51 of their 72 World Cup matches, Australia boast a winning percentage of 71 - higher than any other team. They finished runners-up in the last two editions (2002 and 2006).

Rightly for India, coach Jose Brasa has advised his boys to remain grounded on their feet and not being carried away by the triumph against Pakistan.

For Ric Charlesworth's side, it will be a must-win match against India and any hiccup would make it difficult for Australia to qualify for the semi-finals.

Charlesworth himself has acknowledged that it would be a must-win match for them.

"It is a must-win situation now," he said. The last match between the two teams was in Champions Trophy in Chennai five years ago when Australia won it 4-1.

Australia have come into the tournament at the back of their Champions Trophy triumph at home last year and they have been one of the title contenders though that tag has been dented by their loss to England.

They are the second-ranked side in the world but Olympic and World Cup records (just one gold medal each) do not match with their formidable prowess.

Australia, however, are the favourites as far as history goes with the Indians having won just one of the six matches the two sides have played in World Cup since 1975.

The Australians committed mistakes in the defence and also was poor in converting the penalties against England. Specially, Australia need to improve penalty corner conversion rate as they could score just once from the 12 they got on Sunday.

In the two other Pool B matches on Tuesday, South Africa take on England while Pakistan play Spain.

Teams (from):

India: Rajpal Singh (C), Adrian D'Souza, Sandeep Singh, Arjun Halappa, Prabhjot Singh, Sardar Singh, Gurwinder Singh Chandi, Deepak Thakur, Sarvanjit Singh, Gurbaj Singh, Tushar Khandker, Sreejesh Raveendran, Shivendra Singh, Bharat Chikara, Dhananjay Mahadik, Vikram Pillay, Danish Mujtaba, Diwakar Ram.

Australia: Jamie Dwyer (C), Liam De Young, Simon Orchard, Glenn Turner, Robert Hammond, Matthew Butturini, Mark Knowles, Edward Ockenden, Luke Doerner, Grant Schubert, Matthew Swann, Nathan Burgers, George Bazeley, Kieran Govers, Kiel Brown, Graeme Beg bie, Fergus Kavanagh, Desmond Abbott.

The Times of India



Pakistan need to beat Spain to stay in reckoning

NEW DELHI: Four-time winners Pakistan need to exorcise the ghost of their 1-4 drubbing from India as they go into their second Pool B game of the Hockey World Cup on Tuesday, needing a victory against Spain to stay in the reckoning.

Pakistan, who last won the World Cup 16 years ago, would be hoping for some luck and better finishing from their ace penalty corner specialist Sohail Abbas, who twice hit the upright from set pieces on Sunday.

Rehan Butt, policed into submission in the first game by the Indian defenders, would also be hoping to deliver against Spain, who prevailed over South Africa 4-2 in their lung opener.

The sub-continental side also looked a trifle rusty in their first match, and need to improve upon their fitness to log full points against the Beijing Olympics silver medallists.

Pakistan have an outstanding record against their European opponents.

In the ten World Cup games between the two teams, Pakistan have won seven, and Spain only two. The other match - in the previous edition in Monchengladbach (Germany) - ended in a draw.

The only time the two sides met in a World Cup final was in 1971, and Pakistan went on to win 1-0.

Spain, now third in the FIH rankings, would depend on their seasoned campaigner and skipper Pablo Amat to deliver the goods after his somewhat lackadaisical display against South Africa.

Amat, adjudged FIH player of the year in 2009, missed several chances despite his fluent runs on Sunday, and the Spanish team management would be looking for a more disciplined showing from him.

In the other game on Tuesday, England start firm favourites against South Africa after their upset 3-2 win over Australia Sunday evening.

The Times of India



Dean Couzins to hit 200 caps at World Cup

BY TERRY MADDAFORD In New Delhi


Hardly the household name -- in hockey circles at least -- like some of those who have gone before him, Canterbury, now Auckland-based, defender Dean Couzins will run out for his 200th international when the Black Sticks play their second World Cup match against the much-touted Dutch here tonight.

Couzins, part of the key defensive pairing with double-centurion Blair Hopping, said joining the “200 club” had “crept up on me.”

He joins other current team-mates Phil Burrows and Ryan Archibald in becoming the eighth New Zealander to reach the milestone. Along the way, he has played with the other four, now retired, Simon Towns, Umesh Parag, Bevin Hari and current Black Sticks assistant coach Darren Smith.

Ever-present in the national side since that epic extra period win over Argentina in the North Harbour-based Olympic qualifier in early 2008 -- in which many saw him as the player of the tournament -- Couzins has been a quiet achiever.

With Hayden Shaw often pushed forward to play in the half line, Couzins has found himself, more often than not, paired with Hopping, who played his 211th international against Canada overnight, at the back.

“It is a combination we have worked on quite a bit,” said Couzins as the Black Sticks joined the massive crowd to watch the opening night Indian demolition of often-bitter rivals Pakistan. “We complement each other with good understanding.

“He tends to play in front of me in a setting-up role whereas I take a more organisational role and work closer with goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex and the wing halves.”

A lot of that work in the past couple of years has involved Brad and Hayden Shaw and while Couzins admits their absence, along with Simon Child, has been difficult to overcome, he feels there is the talent to do so.

“You find different qualities in different guys. For example, Andy Hayward has stepped up both in his defensive play and drag-flicking with Hayden out of the team.”

Interestingly, Couzins said he was not feeling the same pressure here as he has in other recent tournaments.

“Sure, you want to do well at a World Cup, but it is not like a qualifying tournament where there is often just one chance at securing one place in a major event like the World Cup or Champions Trophy. In those tournaments there is a definite fear factor.”

After first picking up a stick as a four-year-old and following his older brother on to a hockey field in Christchurch, it has been pretty much “have stick, will travel” experience for the popular Couzins.

After playing hockey and cricket at Shirley Boys’ High fitting in time in the winter to go skiing, Couzins made his debut under Kevin Towns against Malaysia in 2001 along with fellow debutantes Pontifex and James Nation.

“To start with I just wanted to play the next match. At that time I never thought about reaching something like this.”

He ticks off the first of two Commonwealth Games, Manchester in 2002 where New Zealand thrashed Pakistan 7-1, as a highlight along with his Olympic debut in Athens two years later.”

He has now played at three World Cups, two Olympics, two Commonwealth Games, one Champions Trophy and three Champions Challenge tournaments.

“Because we play away a lot, there have not been too many standouts at home although that win over Argentina two years ago is right up there.”

On and off for the past five years he has also played club hockey in Holland and has tried to fit in post-graduate studies with Otago University.

There will be no rest after this tournament as he has plenty on the horizon including the most important date of all -- his wedding on January 11 next year.

“We have managed to fit that around my hockey and my fiancee’s work,” said Couzins who points to Towns and current coach Shane McLeod as the best he has played under. “They have had the biggest influence on my career and bring different qualities.”

Pointing out he will only be 31 at the time of the London Olympics, Couzins said that might be the time to refocus but he is not making definite plans just yet.

Hockey New Zealand Media release



Defender joins the '200 club'

By Terry Maddaford



Dean Couzins. Photo / Getty Images

Auckland-based defender Dean Couzins will run out for his 200th international when the Black Sticks play their second World Cup match against the much-touted Dutch here tomorrow night.

Couzins, part of the key defensive pairing with double-centurion Blair Hopping, said joining the "200 club" had "crept up on me".

He joins teammates Phil Burrows and Ryan Archibald in becoming the eighth New Zealander to reach the milestone. Along the way he has played with the now retired Simon Towns, Umesh Parag and Bevin Hari and Black Sticks assistant coach Darren Smith.

In the national side since 2008, Couzins has been a quiet achiever. With Hayden Shaw often pushed forward to play in the half line, he has found himself paired with Hopping, who played his 211th international against Canada overnight, at the back.

"It is a combination we have worked on quite a bit," said Couzins as the Black Sticks joined the massive crowd to watch the opening-night Indian demolition of Pakistan.

"We complement each other with good understanding. He tends to play in front of me in a setting-up role whereas I take a more organisational role and work closer with goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex and the wing halves."

A lot of that work in the past couple of years has involved Brad and Hayden Shaw and while Couzins admits that their absence, with Simon Child's, has been hard to overcome, he feels there is the talent to do so.

"You find different qualities in different guys. For example, Andy Hayward has stepped up both in his defensive play and drag-flicking with Hayden out of the team."

Couzins said he did not feel the same pressure as in other recent tournaments.

"Sure, you want to do well at a World Cup, but it is not like a qualifying tournament where there is often just one chance at securing one place in a major event like the World Cup or Champions Trophy. In those tournaments there is a definite fear factor."

Dean Couzins:

* DOB: June 9, 1981, Christchurch
* International caps: 199
* International goals: 10
* Debut: v Malaysia, Hamilton 2001

The New Zealand Herald



Jason Lee thanks lucky stars

By Graham Wilson


JASON Lee will be trying to bring his players down to earth for England’s World Cup clash against South Africa in Delhi today after his European champions had the nerve to beat favourites Australia for the first time in 25 years.

Coach Lee could not believe his luck as he watched the Kookaburras spurn chance after chance as England earned a famous 3-2 win, thanks to goals by Ashley Jackson, a James Tindall brace and a fine defensive performance inspired by Cannock goalkeeper James Fair.

Manager Andy Halliday said: “The players can’t believe they have won while not playing their best, so they know they cannot afford to relax against South Africa.”

Holders Germany came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 against South Korea in their pool while Holland beat Argentina 3-0.

Daily Express



‘We crumbled under pressure’

But Pakistan coach promises his team will bounce back in do-or-die game against Spain today

By Khalid Hussain


KARACHI: Pakistan’s hockey players just wilted in their high-pressure World Cup opener against India on Sunday night, coach Shahid Ali Khan said on Monday.

But the former Olympian promised that his charges will bounce back in their do-or-die encounter on Tuesday (today) fully aware that another loss will almost end their chances of reaching the World Cup semifinals. Pakistan, record four-time champions, have not made the cut for World Cup last-four since 1994.

“Our boys failed to play their best game against India. I think they took too much pressure and were unable to follow the game plan,” Shahid told ‘The News’ in a telephonic interview from New Delhi.

Pakistan began the match against India as favourites but crashed to a 1-4 defeat in front of a boisterous, sell-out crowd of almost 20,000. “Most of our players have never played in front of so many noisy fans,” said Shahid. “The noise at the ground was deafening and we were unable to even communicate with the players on the field.”

However, Shahid made it clear that he wasn’t offering any excuses. “It’s just that we made a bad start and India, in contrast, played really well.” Shahid agreed that his senior trio of Waseem Ahmed, Rehan Butt and Shakeel Abbasi was unable to live up expectations.

“Waseem was completely off-colour yesterday and that was a real blow,” said Shahid of the influential midfielder, who is the team’s key playmaker. “He fumbled a lot. Butt and Abbasi weren’t at their best either.”

But Shahid defended drag flick expert Sohail Abbas, who could score just once off five short corners. “Sohail scored just once but he beat the goalie on three other occasions. We were unlucky because two of his strikes hit the crossbar while one was saved by a defender after their goalie was beaten by the flick,” he said.

Shahid also rejected the idea that the team management could have done better by going for some indirect variations. “There was no need for it. Sohail was beating the goalie comfortably and was just purely unlucky that he wasn’t scoring goals.”

Shahid was confident that his team will make a forceful comeback in their crunch game against Spain today. “It is now a do-or-die match,” said Shahid. “The boys know that we can’t afford to lose it. The slim margin of error that was available to us is gone now with the defeat against India. We have to beat Spain to stay in the hunt for the semifinals and that is what we are going to do tomorrow.”

Shahid said that Spain is a strong team but exhibited a few flaws in their 4-2 win over South Africa on Sunday. “There is no doubt that Spain is a good team but I’m sure that if our boys play to their potential we can beat them.”

The Pakistani players spent a lot of time on Monday going through video footage of Spain’s match against South Africa as well as some other matches involving the Spaniards. “We will do all that’s possible to get our boys ready for tomorrow’s game,” said the coach, adding that he has urged his boys against losing heart. “It’s true that we’ve lost against India but the thing is that it was just one match and there are several more to go. What we need is to quickly regroup and give our best in the coming games.”

The News International



Ex-greats slam ‘pathetic’ show

By our correspondent


KARACHI: Former hockey greats on Monday slammed Pakistan for what they described was a “pathetic” showing in their World Cup opener against arch-rivals India in New Delhi on Sunday night. Pakistan flopped miserably in the big match, losing it by 1-4 to make the worst possible start to their World Cup campaign.

“I wasn’t expecting Pakistan to give such a pathetic performance,” Islahuddin, the former Pakistan captain, told ‘The News’. “There were no drills and I couldn’t find any strategy from the team management. It was really disappointing,” added the former Olympian who has also served as Pakistan’s coach and manager in the past.

Islah questioned team management’s claims that it has helped curb the team’s weaknesses, saying that the Pakistani defence was in complete disarray in the match against India. “It was quite visible the team’s weaknesses are still there,” he said. “Our players as well as the coaches seemed completely clueless and that’s a bad sign at the start of a major event like the World Cup.”

Islah said that after having lost to a lower-ranked team like India, Pakistan have very slim chances of making it to the last-four with tougher matches against Spain, England and Australia still to come.

Shahbaz Ahmed, captain of the victorious 1994 World Cup squad, believes Pakistan were let down by their senior players — Sohail Abbas, Rehan Butt and Shakeel Abbasi. “In such high-pressure matches you can only win if your senior players give their best and inspire the younger ones to do a good job,” said the legendary striker.

Shahbaz also expressed his surprise at the team management’s inability to come out with any back-up plans after drag flick specialist Sohail failed to deliver the goods.

“All teams know that we rely heavily on Sohail Abbas, so it was expected that India will be ready for him. I’m surprised why we didn’t use any other variations to convert the short corners.”

Hanif Khan, another former Pakistan captain, attributed the poor performance to lack of co-ordination between the team’s defenders and forwards. He also fired the players for their individualistic approach saying they seemed to be playing for personal glory.

Mansoor Ahmed, another former Olympian and ex-captain, said that Pakistan’s 1-4 defeat was its worst ever showing against India. “I’m not disappointed at losing the match but with the way we lost it,” said the former goalie.

“Personally I believe that it was our worst ever showing against India. It’s all the more heart-breaking because our hockey officials made tall claims before going for the World Cup,” he said.

His views were echoed by Waseem Feroze, another former Olympian, who said that the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) failed to prove that its team has achieved any worthwhile improvement.

The News International



Pakistan hockey team blasted for losing to India

KARACHI: Pakistan's hockey team was slammed by the country's former players following the disappointing 1-4 defeat against arch rivals India in their World Cup opener in New Delhi.

Former Olympians and experts blamed poor preparations and a lack of game plan as the main reasons behind Pakistan's poor start to the World Cup campaign on Sunday night.

Former Pakistan captain Hanif Khan said there was no coordination between the Pakistani forwards and defender and India exploited this weakness.

Hanif also blamed the Pakistani players for individualistic approach saying they seemed to be playing for personal glory.

Shahbaz Ahmed, who led Pakistan to its fourth World Cup title in Sydney in 1994, attributed the loss to the failure of senior players like Sohail Abbas, Rehan Butt and Shakeel to perform.

"In such high-pressure matches you can only win if your senior players give their best and inspire the younger ones to do a good job," said Shahbaz.

Shahbaz was surprised at the team management's inability to come out with any back-up plans after drag flick specialist Sohail Abbas failed to find the net.

"All teams know that we rely heavily on Sohail Abbas, so it was expected that India will be ready for him. I'm surprised why we didn't use any other variations to convert the short corners."

Mansoor Ahmed, another former Olympian and ex-captain, said that Pakistan's 1-4 defeat was its worst ever showing against India.

"I'm not disappointed at losing the match but with the way we lost it," said the former goalie.

"Personally I believe that it was our worst ever showing against India. It's all the more heart-breaking because our hockey officials made tall claims before going for the World Cup," he said.

The Times of India



India ride on win over Pakistan

The hockey spectacle sparkles with India's thrilling win against Pakistan in the Hockey World Cup opener.

A million hopes soared as India beat Pakistan in the Hero Honda Hockey World Cup on Sunday. Hockey fans have not stopped celebrating and on Monday, when Hyderabadis celebrated Holi - the festival of colours, the Hockey flavour was hard to miss. ‘Well done India', ‘Raring to go' and ‘Cricket can wait… spotlight is now on hockey' ... hockey fans are expressing their delight with SMSes and status messages. The win assumes special significance as it is against Pakistan and comes at a time when India's national sport has been bogged with controversies.

Ask Vishnu, a standard XII student of Kendriya Uppal and a hockey player for his school team if the win was a pleasant surprise, he replies a big ‘No'. “I was quite thrilled but I was not shocked. I was expecting the win as it is a young team and the advantage of playing on the home ground was always there,” he says elatedly and adds, “When the match ended around 9.15 p.m., a group of us got together and cheered till we were exhausted.”

Vishnu is the defender (right back) of his team and lauds the role of Sandeep Singh in the match. Says he, “The forward line of Pakistan is very strong but Sandeep Singh just stood like a wall defending the team,” The youngster calls Sandeep the ‘Great wall' of hockey. “What Rahul Dravid is for cricket, Sandeep Singh is for hockey.”

M. Rekha a student of Nizam Degree College has a different reason to watch the World Cup Hockey matches. “As budding hockey players we have to watch the matches to understand the strategy applied by the Indian team to tackle opponents,” she says. The Commerce student has not been able to practice much but whenever she gets time, she is at the grounds defending the ball and scoring for her team.

The Hockey World Cup has indeed generated a lot of curiosity among people, especially youngsters but the big question is whether the interest will sustain. “People do not understand hockey so they do not watch it. There is lot of difference between hitting, tapping or dragging a ball in hockey,” she says as a matter-of-fact and adds, “The world cup was happening in India but there was not much publicity given to the event. Look at the commercials on television announcing the arrival of Indian Premier League (IPL) and for the hockey world cup, the advertisements are just a few but it is good to see Virendra Sehwag, Priyanka Chopra and Rathod endorsing the game,” she says.

Hockey's loss has always been cricket's gain and experts feel it is the mindless comparisons of hockey players with cricketers which adds fuel to the fire.

“Everyone plays for the country then, why this treatment? Someone like Jagmohan Dalmia or Lalit Modi should take up the reigns of hockey to bring back the glory and develop the game,” suggests former player Mukesh Kumar. And, when India takes on Australia, he hopes the team members will opt for a different kind of strategy.

For now, cricket can take a backseat as the hockey spectacle continues. Hockey lovers are hoping India will pull off a magic and bring back the laurels by winning the cup. Whether India's magic run will continue or not only time will tell. Till then, we are having a prayer on the lips and keeping our fingers crossed!

Malaysian Hockey blogspot



Win against Pakistan is our Holi gift to the country: Rajpal

Satya Siddharth Rath


NEW DELHI: It called for a massive Holi celebration for the Indians. They had earned it; they had played out of their skins to get it. Only, the day after their memorable win over Pakistan, they had no time to get into the festive mood. Bigger and tougher tasks beckoned.

"When is the time to celebrate? We have the match against Australia coming up (on Tuesday), next we play Spain, then England. We can't relax now, we have begun well, we would like to carry on the good work," said midfielder Arjun Hallapa.

The team did have a small celebration at the team hotel on Sunday night, where they just sat together after dinner and poured out their emotions.

"That was no celebration actually, we just shared our thoughts. It was a very emotional moment for all of us. The stadium ambience was simply unforgettable!" added Dhananjay Mahadik, who had an excellent day in the deep.

After a sound night's sleep, the Indians were back for practice by 11 on Monday morning. One, though, could feel the jovial mood. There was a new spring in their steps as they went through the fitness drills.

"More than us, we are glad to have made the whole of India happy. This is our Holi gift to the country," chipped in Rajpal Singh, the Indian skipper.

What were the things they did right against Pakistan? "We had formed a strategy and we just followed it. We had identified the players we had to mark out. Like we managed to pin down Waseem (Ahmed), and that choked their midfield. We also managed to restrict the movements of Rehan Butt, who can be really dangerous upfront. We stuck to the gameplan," explained Halappa.

He added that India would play the same way against Australia. "We will finalise our tactics in the team meeting tonight. We know it would be a tough game. The Australians are known to be relentless in their attacks so we need to be solid in the midfield. We should be able to match them in physical fitness too. The mood in the team is very positive, we are confident of going the distance," said the Bangalore lad.

Vikram Pillay, too, voiced the same thoughts. "We are all very happy," he said, but added that there was a whole tournament left to play. "There are no celebrations. After all it's just one match and it is not a point for big celebrations as yet. There are tougher matches ahead."

The unassuming right-half felt it was teamwork that led to the emphatic win. "Every player did his job. Everyone worked hard and wanted to win, all 16 of us. We played focussed hockey, minute by minute," Pillay, part of the 2001 Junior World Cup-winning squad at Hobart, added.

But he ended the retrospection then and there. "We play Australia in our next match and they will come hard at us," he said. "It's a new match, a new day and like us, Australia want three points badly."

The Times of India



Sandeep: Goals vs Pak worth more

OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


New Delhi: Anuj Srivastava, 49, and a father of two, had his voice trembling with emotion. Twenty-eight years ago, he had travelled in a rickety bus from Meerut to watch India play Pakistan in the Asian Games final at the National Stadium only to return home deeply humiliated after a 1-7 drubbing of the hosts.

“I have rarely watched a hockey match after that,” said Srivastava, after India outclassed Pakistan 4-1 in their World Cup opener on Sunday. “I came because my eldest son wanted to. Now I really feel lucky to be present here tonight.”

Srivastava was not the only one feeling overwhelmed; for the majority of the 15,000-strong crowd, it was a night of redemption as they savoured one of India’s most memorable wins in recent times. The choc-a-block Dhyan Chand Stadium witnessed a premature Holi as a wave of colourful patriotism swept through the stands.

Memories of Indian hockey in its pristine glory were rekindled and aficionados were relieved to see that an Indo-Pak hockey encounter had lost none of its charm.

“This was surely a great win, one of the finest I have seen,” said Zafar Iqbal, the captain in the 1982 Asian Games final.

“Our team played like a well-oiled machine. They never allowed the Pakistanis to get a grip in the match,” said Zafar. “If they can continue in the same vein, this is surely going to be a great World Cup for India.”

Pakistan had beaten India 6-3 recently, in the Champions Challenge in Argentina, and the spectators initially were not too sure about India’s chances on Sunday. As the hundred odd Pakistan fans cheered their team from the stands at the High Court end, the home supporters appeared a bit subdued.

But all hell broke lose once Shivendra Singh put India ahead in the 27th minute with a delicate flick after Sandeep Singh’s penalty corner had ricocheted off Pakistan goalkeeper Salman Akar’s pads. The celebrations that followed reached a crescendo when Sandeep increased the lead a few seconds before the break.

India did get caught on the wrong foot on a few occasions in the second session but not before they had pumped in two more goals through Prabhjot Singh and the indomitable Sandeep. Pakistan earned a series of penalty corners during this period but the battle, as the rivals from across the border became painfully aware of, was already over.

“I am happy to have scored twice and helped the team win,” An elated Sandeep said. “Scoring against Pakistan always gives you extra pleasure. It is a great feeling but we have a tough match against Australia on Tuesday. Australia are a very strong side though they lost to England. We have a job at hand.

Sohail Abbas did pull one back through a penalty corner but even the Pakistan fans were not too impressed.

Balbir Singh (Senior), the manager of the Indian team that won the World Cup in 1975, was at a loss for words to describe his utter delight. “The Indian team played like a single unit. They looked capable of beating any team in the world, leave alone Pakistan,” he said.

In the end, hockey was the biggest winner. Despite the traditional rivals fighting it out in a high-octane match, there was no sign of any acrimony. If the players from either side displayed admirable sportsman spirit, the partisan crowd, too, refrained from barracking the visitors, which they often have in the past.

“Pressure was definitely there, but it was a good match,” said Pakistan coach Shahid Ali Khan. “The Indian team need to be congratulated. They played tremendous hockey and definitely deserved this victory,” he added.

Surprisingly, Spanish coach Jose Brasa, the man credited with India’s turnaround, remained least impressed. “It was a fine win, but that’s all. This is a kind of tournament where you have to play well for at least a fortnight to achieve the target. The victory against Pakistan was definitely a morale booster but nothing more than that.

“We played a match today and won 4-1. I am happy. That’s all,” said the national coach.

Meanwhile, in Sunday’s other matches, European champions England defeated Australia 3-1 and Spain outclassed South Africa 4-2.

The Telegraph, India



Shivendra fulfills promise given to mother

BHOPAL: Shivendra Singh, who scored the first goal for India in its match against Pakistan in the Hockey World Cup, had promised his mother that he will play an important role in last night's match.

"I will not return unless I play an important role in the team's victory," he told his mother Radha Choudhary.

Radha said her son was learning playing techniques from ace forward Prabhjot Singh.

Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced that a sum of Rs one lakh will be given to each player who scores a goal in the World Cup.

The Times of India



Straight talk from SA striker Lloyd Norris-Jones at Hockey World Cup, India.

LLOYD NORRIS-JONES

AFTER exploring a bit of the city of Delhi the day before our opening game on Sunday, the SA players more commonly know as "The Lads" felt a bit more relaxed brushing off the cabin fever and excitement of the start of our Hero Honda FIH Hockey World Cup campaign.

Having visited The Red Fort, where the Indian flag was hoisted for the first time to claim their independence from Britain in 1947 and Ghandi's Memorial, the sheer sight of these landmarks inspired those who visited them.



There was definitely plenty of excitement going into Sunday's game, as there was a lot to prove on the international stage and to those back home. The game started, with our main intentions in slowing down the game, seeing that the Spaniards have the most potent attack in this tournament.

By slowing it down, we managed to frustrate our opponents and caused them to make mistakes, which led to our first goal when Ian Haley pounced on a loose ball in the midfield and countered to set up Julian Hykes for a one-on-one with the goalkeeper and he coolly slotted the ball into the net for the opening goal of the tournament.

This goal was nominated as Goal of the Day, which was somewhat of a consolation for our hard work. Quick counter-attacks and broken play is what Spain thrive on – and that's what took them into a 2-1 lead.

Pulling back the scoreline to 2-2 after pouncing on some broken play ourselves was where we took our final opportunity, as the Spanish were fortunate enough to get the rub of the green and use the inadequate umpiring decisions to their advantage and build a 4-2 lead. Strive as we might, we couldn't take our chances in the second half.

It was a spirited performance to which people here stood up and took notice of this young South African side, which we believe can cause an upset or three. If we had beaten Spain it would have completed a full day of upsets at the Hockey World Cup as the sixth-ranked English beat world number two Australia 3-2 and host country India stomped Pakistan 4-1 after going 4-0 up, a performance that was wildly appreciated by a near-capacity crowd of about 17 000 people in the 20 000 capacity National Hockey Stadium.

This throws Pool B wide open and going up against England tomorrow (Tuesday, 1 pm live on SuperSport) we hope to tidy up our mistakes and look to tire the rather large English central defenders with our nimble forwards.

Regards
Lloyd Norris-Jones


SA Hockey World



Rave reviews for referral system

Sports Reporter


NEW DELHI: The video referral system introduced for the first time in the World Cup hockey tournament got rid of one of its criticisms when it started showing the replays of the referrals on the big screen at the stadium in the Pool ‘A' match between New Zealand and Canada on Monday.

On the first day, the system proved effective in providing some penalty corners to the teams. Even India benefited when a referral earned a penalty corner and subsequently a goal. However, it kept the media as well as the crowd in the dark as the replays were not displayed on the big screen.

Earlier in the day, Tournament Director Ken Read had said he would like the referral replays to be shown on the big screen.

“I am aware of it, I recognise the problem. I want to solve it. It is a problem not only for the media but also for the spectators as well,” he said, adding that the replays could not be shown to the crowd on Sunday due to technical glitches.

The system has drawn appreciation from various quarters. Under this, each side gets one chance to seek a penalty corner, penalty stroke or goal. If a team appeals successfully, then it gets another chance for a referral.

Thumbs up

South African skipper Austin Smith backed the system even though it slows down the game. “It is quite a new system. There are some TV issues. The umpires will get used to it with time. I am in favour of this,” Smith said.

Kuku Walia, an umpires' manager in the International Hockey Federation (FIH), said it was a useful tool for the umpires. “It is a very good system even though it slows down the pace of the game. What's important is that it is delivering the correct decisions,” Walia said.

Cash award

Sahara India Pariwar has announced a cash award of Rs. two lakh each for the players and coaches of the Indian hockey team following the side's emphatic 4-1 win against Pakistan in the World Cup on Sunday.

The Hindu



Referrals add to confusion


Team referrals made their debut in the hockey World Cup but raised questions about whether they actually helped the spectators at the Dhyan Chand stadium understand the reasons behind the decisions.

Referrals were introduced last year in the Champions Trophy to help in deciding on matters pertaining to decisions within the 23-metre area, including penalty corners, penalty strokes and awarding of goals.

Each team is given one opportunity to appeal against the on-field decision, with every successful referral allowing them the chance to retain the prerogative.

South Africa appealed twice in their match against Spain once against a goal and the other to find out whether a penalty corner decision was right or not. England too wanted the third umpire to intervene on a few penalty corners while Australia too turned to the electronic eye for the final word after the umpire turned down their request for a similar award.

Besides breaking the game into fragments and, perhaps, increasing the curiosity among a packed crowd, the referrals managed little else. It might have made sense to those who were either close to the action or were knowledgeable enough to know the nuances of the game but for the uninitiated and those seated in the farthest corners of the stadium, it was another of those numerous periods of lull.

The public address system too did not help in mending matters, with the announcement hardly going beyond the known truth that the team had opted for a referral. And, with replays not allowed during the period on the giant screen at the stadium, hockey continued to be a game of mysteries, with only the fast action in between coming as a saving grace.

Olympian Viren Rasquinha felt the referrals ought to have been followed up with proper explanations of why the decisions were either upheld or rejected. "While team referrals are welcome, we need to have the person at the public address system completely clued in to the game," he said.

Contending that such a move would in fact help people understand the sport better, Viren said: "Hockey has seen so many rule changes in the past. With the ball being too small to be followed by the spectators, a simple explanation of what transpired on the pitch will help."

Malaysian Hockey blogspot



Players find National Stadium pitch bouncy

NEW DELHI: Foreign players on Monday said that the newly-laid poligras turf at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium which is hosting the 12th hockey World Cup is little bumpy and creates problems in trapping the ball.

Veteran Dutch drag-flicker Taeke Taekema, who scored the tournament's first hat-trick on Monday, said the pitch does not behave in a smooth manner when it is dry.

"The pitch is little bumpy sometimes, specially when it is dry and not watered. In practice matches also we faced a few problems but luckily today it was fine," Taekema said.

His views were backed by Argentina skipper Martin Lucas Rey, who said they faced a few problems in stopping the ball.

"The pitch was bouncy. We had a lot of problems. Once I pushed the ball but the stopper couldn't stop it as it suddenly bounced in front of him," he said.

The Netherlands today convincingly defeated Argentina 3-0 in a Pool A match.

The Times of India



The spectators have matured

Vijay Lokapally


— Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

Disciplined show: Spectators enjoyed every moment of the India-Pakistan match in New Delhi on Sunday.


NEW DELHI: From the time the spectators at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium sang the National anthem in unison, the “ jaya he, jaya he, jaya he” chant a motivating crescendo for the home team, to the disciplined manner in which they exited, it was clear that matured spectatorship had arrived in the Capital.

The India-Pakistan match in the World Cup on Sunday was played in excellent spirit. There was not a soul sitting when the Pakistan National anthem was played.

The small bunch of Pakistan supporters responded with equal warmth. And then the atmosphere assumed electrifying proportions, the arena transformed to host a grim contest.

The Pakistan fans, one of them carrying a placard ‘Happy Holi to all Indians from Pakistan', were moved to a “safer” area in the southern stands when the police apparently sensed trouble. But nothing untoward happened.

Pleasant departure


It was a pleasant departure from the past acrimony among the spectators. A small group tried the “Pakistan hai, Pakistan hai” refrain but it died for want of support. The vocal chords were stretched only to support an India move and the roar when the host slammed in the fourth goal may have reached Lahore.

Some incidents in the past had shown the spectators of either camp in poor light. If the Indians received a rough welcome at the Lahore World Cup, the behaviour was no different when the Pakistan team left the Shivaji Stadium after a victory some years ago, with stones being thrown at the team bus.

The spectators have now come to realise that an India-Pakistan sporting encounter is nothing more than that; just a game.

These were different spectators and sitting in the stands one could feel the pulse of the hockey lover. Every good move was applauded. The best part was some stars of the national team were quickly recognised too. Ignace Tirkey and Jugraj Singh must have been pleasantly surprised by the response they got from the spectators surrounding them. Zafar Iqbal was visibly moved when two senior police officers rushed forward to shake his hand when they discovered his identity.

The profile of the audience said a lot. There were young girls, mothers carrying infants and even a few elderly ladies, rooting for Rajpal Singh and his men in their opening match of this World Cup.

At the Sector 42 Stadium in Chandigarh, the sight of a family turning up to watch a game of hockey is no surprise. But in Delhi it does!

That there were no incidents spoke highly of not only the efficient organisation but also the character of the audience.

The colourful ambience jelled with the knowledgeable audience that loved its hockey through the afternoon and well into the night.

An impromptu ‘bhangra' by a few young Englishmen was a nice way to sign off, as if to reconfirm the fervour that comes when watching a sporting event without any prejudices.

The Hindu



Go to Hockey WC, but don't take anything along

NEW DELHI: Go empty handed to watch Hockey World Cup matches.

This seems to be the message of Delhi Police to spectators going to Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium as it on Monday came out with a list of the 39 items which they cannot carry to the venue.

Hockey fans cannot carry pens, pencils and even coins, a senior official said.

Flags, binoculars, musical instruments, laser lights, torn papers, whistles and balloons are also in the list of the prohibited items, he said.

Spectators were in for a rude shock on Sunday, the first day of the tournament, when police prevented them from not taking even coins, pens or pencils inside the stadium, fearing that it could be used to throw at players.

We have been given a list of prohibited items. We cannot take any chance, so we did not allow anyone to carry coins, pens or pencils, the official said.

However, fans cried foul. "Without a flag or a whistle, what is the fun in watching a match. Nobody likes to watch a match like attending a funeral. This is security paranoia," Sarabjit Singh, an avid hockey fan said.

Another fan Mukesh Kumar said this kind of security arrangements are taking the thrill away.

The list of prohibited items also include alcohol, cans, bottles, firearms, knife and other sharp-edged items, match box, crackers, umbrella, cameras, sprays and perfumes.

Any other item that could cause harm or public nuisance as determined by security personnel on threat perception could also be prohibited, officials said.

"There will be no facility to keep the prohibited items at the entry point and confiscated items will not be returned to the owner after the game," they said.

The Times of India



2010 ATAHolding World Cup Qualifier

Six of the world's top field hockey nations travel to San Diego for a chance to play in one of the world's top international competitions. USA Field Hockey, the national governing body for field hockey in the United States, will host the AtaHolding Women’s World Cup Qualifier, scheduled from March 26 to April 3, 2010 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA.

USA vs Belgium

Playing on their home field, the USA Women’s Olympic Field Hockey Team will welcome traditional Pan American rivals Canada and Mexico, as well as Belgium, France and Korea. The tournament champion will head to the BDO FIH 2010 Women’s World Cup Rosario, Argentina in September.

Tickets to all games are now available. The AtaHolding Women’s World Cup Qualifier features 18 matches over six days of competition. Half-price tickets can be purchased online for as little as $5.00 per person per day! Competition days feature three matches per day.  Additional ticket promotions will be announced soon, including discounts for military personnel.

The USA Women qualified for a World Cup Qualifier with a silver medal performance at the 2009 Pan Am Cup. They met 2008 Olympic bronze medal winners Argentina in the gold medal match at the 2009 Pan American Cup in February, where Argentina edged the Americans in sudden death penalty strokes.

The AtaHolding Women’s World Cup Qualifier is the largest senior international field hockey tournament to be held in the United States since the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. USA Field Hockey hosted the 2009 BDO Women’s Junior World Cup last August in Boston.

USFHA media release



Four EHL Premier Division Clubs Make Cup Semi Finals

Leicester, Reading, Trojans and University of Birmingham into women’s last four

Following the completion of the Women’s Cup and Trophy quarter finals, the draws have been made for the last four of both competitions.

The semi finals of the Women’s Cup comprise four teams from the England Hockey League (EHL) Premier Division.  Domestic league leaders and 2008 Cup winners Leicester comfortably overcame a battling performance from Surbiton to win 6-2 in Sunday’s quarter final and secure their place in the last four.  Six different players scored for Leicester and they will now play University of Birmingham after they twice came from behind to beat local rivals Sutton Coldfield.

Vicky Woolford had put the hosts 3-2 up with her second after 43 minutes but four goals in the last 15 minutes, which included two apiece for Jo Turnbull and Liz George, put the students through.  Coincidentally, Leicester beat the University of Birmingham on Saturday in the England Hockey League.

The second semi final will be between Reading and Trojans after the Berkshire club returned from the North East with a comfortable 6-0 victory over Sunderland, a brace from Alex Smith helping them on their way.  Reading will be looking to reach the final for the second year in succession when they take on Trojans, who reached the last four after receiving a walkover against Dereham.  Reading will fancy their chances against their league counterparts after already defeating Trojans twice this season.

In the Women’s Trophy, 2008 finalists Teddington have been drawn at home against Falmouth in the last four.  Teddington eased their way to this stage with an 8-2 victory away at City of Oxford thanks mainly to Raynor Harmsworth who scored four goals.  Falmouth’s match was a lot closer as they came from two goals down to beat Broxbourne 3-2 and gain revenge for their quarter final defeat last season.  Emma Collenette struck just two minutes from time to send the Cornwall side through to the semi finals for the first time.

The other semi final will be between Kendal and the winners of Lewes and Richmond, whose match was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.  Like Falmouth, Kendal were also involved in a close match against Wellingborough and had to rely on a last minute goal to progress.  With Kendal winning 2-1, Wellingborough’s Leanne Syme equalised with three minutes left on the clock but as the match looked destined to go into extra time, Nicola Conway netted her second to send Kendal into the last four of the competition.

Women’s Cup Semi Final Draw, to be played Sunday 28 March

Leicester v University of Birmingham
Reading v Trojans

Women’s Trophy Semi Final Draw, to be played Sunday 28 March

Kendal v Lewes or Richmond
Teddington v Falmouth

England Hockey Board Media release



Conference West Champions in Bath


Leicester remains 10 points clear in the Women’s Premier Division thanks to a 3-0 win against University of Birmingham. Although Leicester has scored only a few more goals than their nearest rivals, it is in defence where they have been most impressive this season. They have conceded just six goals in fourteen games after yet another clean sheet on Saturday. Second placed Slough won 8-1 at bottom of the table Trojans, who will at least have taken a crumb of comfort from ninth placed Clifton going down 2-1 at Canterbury. Third placed Reading won 5-1 at Olton and a massive thirteen points separate them from fourth placed Canterbury.

There was a surprise in Women’s Conference East where top of the table Ipswich were held 1-1 at bottom of the table Northampton Saints. Sevenoaks move to within two points of Ipswich after a 2-1 win at Cambridge City. At the other end of the table Northampton’s point puts them just one point behind Southgate who lost 1-0 at Chelmsford. Harleston won 3-0 at St Albans and Horsham and Old Loughtonians ground out a 0-0 draw.

There was no change in Women’s Conference North with the top two teams both winning. Durham University won 3-0 at Beeston to remain five points clear of Sutton Coldfield who beat Doncaster 5-3 with Vicky Woolford netting a hat-trick. Sunderland moved off the foot of the table with a 7-0 demolition of Sheffield Hallam. The result also had the benefit of taking their goal difference to 0, a remarkable feat for a team ninth in the table and this might come in useful in a very tight race to avoid the drop. Liverpool Sefton slipped to the foot of the table after a 2-1 reverse at home to Bradford Wakefield. Belper beat Loughborough Students 5-1 in the Midlands derby.

Cannock and Barnes Hounslow Ealing remain neck and neck in Women’s Conference West; however, Cannock improved their goal difference differential thanks to a 5-2 win over Bournemouth. Barnes HE had to come from two goals down to beat Swansea 3-2. Both of the losing teams are in the relegation zone and more bad news for them came in the form of a win for Aldridge, their first points since the break, against Staines. The win lifted Aldridge above both Swansea and Bournemouth. Team Bath picked up a useful point against Exe as they battle to avoid the drop and Firebrands are not safe after they lost 4-1to Buckingham.

Whilst Men’s Premier Division stars were featuring in England’s 3-2 defeat of Australia in the World Cup; at home Reading further extended their lead at the top of the table with a 1-0 win over Cannock. Warren de Souza netted the only goal just before the break for the Berkshire side. Second placed Surbiton now trail by six points having been held to a 1-1 draw by Loughborough Students.  Third placed East Grinstead, were made to work hard for a 2-1 at Exeter University, Rick Gay’s winner came with just six minutes remaining on the clock. Three goals in the first sixteen minutes gave Hampstead a fine 3-0 win over play-off hopefuls Beeston who dropped down to fifth, behind Bowdon, as a result. Bowdon took the honours in the Manchester derby beating Brooklands MU 4-1 that result means Brooklands occupy the relegation play-off place.  

Old Loughtonians and Canterbury continue to slug it out at the top of Men’s Conference East. Loughts beat Indian Gymkhana 7-1 with Alex Jennings scoring four of their goals to help improve their goal difference advantage over Canterbury, who won 5-3 at Harleston, with Kwan Browne netting a hat-trick. Bottom of the table Chelmsford pegged Sevenoaks back three times, but lost out to a Peter Turner winner with four minutes to go; they now trail Indian Gymkhana by four points.

Four goals from Pakistani star Ali Ghazanfar helped Men’s Conference North leaders, Deeside Ramblers, to a 5-3 win over Harborne keeping them nine points clear at the top. Sheffield Hallam Civica also went ‘nap’ and will have enjoyed their 5-0 defeat of Yorkshire rivals Doncaster that took them into second above Leek on goal difference. Leek drew 0-0 with Barford Tigers. Things are looking bleak for Formby, who remain rooted to the bottom, after a 2-0 reverse at home to Belper proved their latest setback. Sheffield University Bankers drew 1-1 at Durham University to keep daylight between them in eighth and Barford below them.

Team Bath Buccaneers became the first team to clinch a title as they took the honours in Men’s Conference West. They won 3-0 at Havant with former Havant player Tim Davenport doing the damage with a hat-trick. They are now fifteen points clear of second placed Guildford with a maximum of twelve up for grabs. Bath, therefore, became the first team to be confirmed in the Premier Division Promotion tournament at Cannock over the May Bank Holiday weekend. Will Blockley hit a hat-trick in Guildford’s 6-0 defeat of Bournville and they go above Whitchurch and Fareham who lost 4-2 against Birmingham University, and 3-2 against Plymouth Marjon, respectively. For bottom of the table Plymouth this was a crucial win secured by a last gasp penalty corner from Calum Giles. However, they remain tenth with Old Georgians a point ahead after they won 3-1 at Stourport. The relegation battle in the Division looks likely to go to the wire with only six points separating tenth to fifth place.   

England Hockey Board Media release



Browne does the trick for Canterbury

T&T men’s hockey captain, Kwandwane Browne fired in a hattrick Saturday to lead Canterbury to a 5–3 come-from-behind thrashing of Harleston Magpies in the England Hockey League Men’s Conference East clash. Browne scored from a penalty-corner as early as the third minute but Andy Hipwell drew the Magpies level seven minutes later. Matthew Bunyan scored from a field goal for Canterbury to lead 2–1 in the 13th minute which it held at the interval.

The Magpies tied up the score for the second time in the match when Tristan Baynes converted a penalty-stroke in the 44th minute but within two minutes, Browne also scored from the penalty-spot for Canterbury to lead 3–2 after 46th minutes. The Trinidadian added another goal four minutes after to extend the advantage to 4–2 and push his season tally to 17 goals.

Hipwell got the Magpies to within one goal of Canterbury in the 55th minute but a 68th minute item from Michael Farrer sealed the win for Canterbury to stay level on 37 points from 14 matches with Old Loughtonians at the top of the ten-team table.

Old Loughtonians clobbered T&T’s Terrence Baptiste and his Indian Gymkhana, 7–0 led by a beavertrick from the Division’s top scorer Alex Jennings to stay ahead on goal-difference from Canterbury. Gymkhana stayed ninth with eight points. In Conference West, T&T’s Allan Henderson and his Guildford clubmates slammed Bournville 6–0 to improve to 22 points and second spot, 15 adrift of runaway leaders Team Bath Buccaneers.

The Trinidad Guardian



Govia beaver keeps Parkites perfect

Nigel Simon


Raphael Govia registered a beavertrick as Queen’s Park maintained its perfect start to the 2010 T&T Hockey Board Men’s Championship Division with a 7-2 bashing of host Paradise on Saturday at the Dwight Yorke Stadium, Training Field, Bacolet, Tobago. Camacho opened the scoring in the 12th minute while Nicholas Camacho (27th) and Govia, four minutes later made it 3-0 at the interval.

Three minuets into the second-half, Dominic Young extended the Parkites advantage to 4-0 before Clint Prescott pulled one back for Paradise to trail 4-1 in the 44th minute. Govia banged in his second a minute later for a 5-1 cushion before Vernelle Rivers got a second item for Paradise. That was as close as Paradise would get as Govia completed his beavertrick with field goals in the 57th and 68th minute for the Parkites to improve to maximum12 points from four matches at the top of the table.

United Petrotrin and Corona Fatima also recorded comfortable victories at the National Hockey Centre, Tacarigua. Petrotrin captain, Atiba Whittington and Wayne Legerton, both national players, netted two goals each for the Oilmen in a 5-2 drubbing of Stag Malvern. Teenager, Shakeil Joseph got the other for Petrotrin while Joshua De Four and Jason Clarke got Malvern replies. National Under-19 pair, Andrew Vieira and Quinn Clarke also scored for Fatima in its 4-1 whipping of Paragon.

Seasoned campaigners Dominic Jaikaransingh and David Lee got Fatima other items. Kiel Murray fired in Paragon’s lone item. In the Women’s Championship Division, Maritime Harvard Checkers used a first-half goal from inform Brittney Hingh to slip past Paragon 1-0 and Ventures came from two goals down to earn a draw with Paradise in Tobago.

Results

Friday
Veterans

Malvern 4 (Albert Marcano 2, Charles Carter, Anthony Marcano) vs Shape 1 (Kevin Adams).

Defence Force 1 (Neil Lezama) vs Fatima 0.

Saturday
Men’s Championship

QPCC 7 (Raphael Govia 31st, 45th, 57th, 68th, Nicholas Camacho 12th, 27th, Dominic Young 38th) vs Paradise 2 (Clint Prescott 44th, Vernell Rivers 54th).

Petrotrin 5 (Atiba Whittington 2, Wayne Legerton 2, Shakeil Joseph) vs Malvern 2 (Joshua De Four, Jason Clarke)

Fatima 4 (Andrew Vieira, Quinn Clarke, Dominic Jaikaransingh, David Lee) vs Paragon 1 (Kiel Murray).

Women’s Championship

Ventures 2 (Nataki Akii-Bua 41st, Cheryl Evans 66th) vs Paradise 2 (Gabrielle Phillips 25th, Abigail Daniel 37th).
Checkers 1 (Brittney Hingh) vs Paragon 0.

Boys’ Under-19
QPCC 3 (Justin Clarke 19th, 67th, Mark Ayen 54th) vs Paradise 0.

Shape 4 (Shaquille Edwards 2, Glen Campbell, Jordan Reynos) vs Petrotrin 2 (Shakeil Joseph 2).

The Trinidad Guardian



Jaguars face tough test

By Erick Ochieng’


By booking a place in the Kenya Hockey Union Premier League, Western Jaguars entered history books as the first team from Western Province to play top-flight hockey.

But Jaguars may have killed two birds with one stone as the feat effectively means they play at the regional clubs’ championships later in the year, while winners of the men’s Premier League and women’s National League play at the Africa Cup of Clubs Championships. Jaguars had to overcome a stubborn Parklands Sports Club 5-4 on penalty flicks after a 1-1 stalemate in regulation and extra time at Parklands Sports Club.

Parkland might have squandered an opportunity to play top-flight hockey as they went ahead through Fred Okeyo’s field goal in the first minute of the closely-contested tie. It was Mike Muingai who put the visitors back into the game in the 22nd minute of play as they went on to triumph on penalties. The team’s promotion to the top league did not come easy.

The match was marred by a heated exchange among players from either side, forcing the umpire to sin-bin some players. The game was also characterised by unconventional play, which saw several players trooping out of the field with injuries.

It remains to be seen how they would play at the East African clubs championships as they eye a first-place finish in the domestic league against big boys Kenya Police and Kisumu Simba.

The Standard Online



Loyola claims title

Sports Reporter


Chennai: Loyola claimed the Reverend Father Francis memorial hockey title after prevailing 2-1 over St. Joseph's (Bangalore) in the final here on Monday.

The patchy grass covering resulted in the ball rearing up nastily on a few occasions while it almost consistently robbed passes of a lot of pace. Even as St. Joseph's was struggling to come to terms with the nature of the playing surface,

Loyola showed how it was done as it executed a practice-ground routine to perfection in the eleventh minute.

A penalty corner was worked around until Durand Anthony found an angle that was covered neither by the defence nor the goal-keeper and thrashed the ball in.

The score remained one-nil at half-time and ten minutes into the second half, Loyola extended its lead. Nanda ran down a loose ball deep inside St. Joseph's half and the goal-keeper in trying to block the cross found himself stranded, leaving Fazil with a tap-in.

St. Joseph's control inside Loyola's ‘D' faltered time and again but S.K. Uthappa soon made amends as he pumped a goal in, leaving the 'keeper almost no time to react, let alone pull off a save.

With 18 minutes still left in the match, St. Joseph's failed to make a fist of it, often conceding possession or misplacing passes within their own half. In fact, the last chance of the match fell to Loyola, with Nanda's fierce drive going just wide.

D.B. Jain claimed third spot after winning 3-0 against Nandha College (Erode) in the earlier match.

Raghuvaran (goal-keeper, Loyola), Fazil (striker, Loyola) and Uthappa (forward, St. Joseph's) were presented with honours for their work through the tournament. Reverend Father Victor gave away the prizes.

The results (final): Loyola 2 (Durand Antony, Fazil) bt St. Joseph's Bangalore 1 (S.K. Uthappa).

Third place play-off: D.B. Jain 3 (B. Suresh 2, V. Shanmugam) bt Nandha 0 .

The Hindu