News for 04 March 2010

All the news for Thursday 4 March 2010


Germany, Korea and The Netherlands win in Delhi

The Netherlands earned their second win at the Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 in Delhi, beating New Zealand (3-1), while Germany and Korea added a win to their tie on opening day.

Game 10 – Canada v. Germany: 0-6 (half-time: 0-4)

The first game of day 4 pitted the youngest team of the competition (Germany, 24 years old) lead by the youngest Captain (Maximilian MÜLLER, 22) to the oldest team (Canada, 27) lead by veteran Ken PEREIRA (36). The two teams have not met often, and only once in a World Cup back in 1998 when the match ended in a 4-4 tie with Rob Short, still playing in the Canadian team today, scoring two goals.

Germany promptly took advantage of some sloppy play by the Canadian defense to take the lead by Benjamin WESS, pushing the ball past Dave CARTER in the Canadian goal. The match was played without much tempo and there were no clear chances for a while at either end. Germany had two penalty-corners in a row, but they were well defended by Dave CARTER and Paul WETTLAUFER on the line.

The pressure was nonetheless on Canada; they had a reprieve thanks to a quick whistle by umpire David GENTLES blowing a penalty-corner just when the ball was rolling in goal, but Germany came back with a vengeance and quickly scored two penalty-corners in a row, first by Jan-Marco MONTAG then by Maximilian MÜLLER, to build a comfortable cushion.

Rob SHORT and Ken PEREIRA were trying to rally the troops in midfield, but there were long sequences when the Germans were monopolizing the ball, progressing inexorably towards goal. Martin HÄNER added a forth penalty-corner goal in the 27th minute, and it was clear that it would be a long match for the Canadians, obviously not in a good day, struggling physically and losing most of the duels.

Germany had two penalty-corners at the beginning of second period, however Canada had now found the key and defended them well. The Canadians were indeed playing much better now and threatened the German circle on occasions, with a good chance for Mark PEARSON with a sharp reverse stick shot.

After the two teams traded yellow cards, Canada could not prevent another goal in the 58th minute by Florian FUCHS, left with an easy tap-in after a circle penetration by Matthias WITTHAUS. Youngster FUCHS, 18 years old, added another goal a few minutes later, his tenth goal in nine international games! Canada had a late chance on penalty-corner but they could not control it and the World Champions cruised to a comfortable win to avenge the tie against Korea in their opening game.

Match facts (Canada vs. Germany):

> Germany won 6-0 to hand Canada their biggest World Cup defeat ever.
> Canada had never lost by more than four goals in World Cup competition.
> Today’s 6-0 victory also marked the joined second biggest World Cup win for Germany and their biggest in 32 years since beating India 7-0 in 1978.
> Germany equaled the Pakistan’s longest World cup unbeaten streak by avoiding defeat in their 15th consecutive World Cup match. Only Australia have ever set a longer WC run without defeat (20 matches).
> Benjamin Wess and Florian Fuchs (GER) joined David Alegre (ESP) and Ashley Jackson (ENG) as players to have scored in both of their team’s matches at the 2010 World Cup.
> Florian Fuchs (GER) scored twice against Canada. He has now netted three goals at the 2010 World Cup.
> Germany skipper Max Mueller became the third captain to score at the 2010 World Cup, joining Jamie Dwyer (AUS, 2 goals) and Rajpal Singh (IND, 1 goal).
> Canada are still to collect their first points at Delhi 2010.
> Germany are now on four points from two matches.

Game 11 – Argentina v. Korea: 2-1 (half-time: 0-0)

Argentina and Korea have not met in World Cup action since 1994 in Sydney, when current Korean Coach Seok Kyo SHIN was still playing for his country.

Argentina started the match at full speed, creating two dangerous situations with a first shot crashing on the post and another one barely saved by Myung Ho LEE in the Korean goal. Korea replied at the other end by Eun Seong HONG (KOR), penetrating the circle down the baseline, but he could not shoot on target. Korea had two penalty-corners in a row, well saved by Juan Tomas ESPINOSA in the Argentinean goal, while at the other end Pedro IBARRA propelled his drag flick wide on the first penalty-corner for the South Americans.

Just like the previous one, this game lacked sustained tempo, as if the teams were not stimulated to play in a stadium nearly empty when India is not on the daily schedule, and half-time was reached without any goal.

The two teams managed to neutralize each other, with very few scoring opportunities, until the 53rd minute when Facundo CALLIONI concluded a long sequence of intense action in front of the Korean goal to score the first Argentinean goal of the competition. Korean tied the score a few minutes later by Nam Yong LEE, deflecting from close range a cross from the right.

Argentina had a few more penalty-corner chances but Pedro IBARRA was not in his usual lethal form and the score remained tied until the final minute when Korea earned a penalty-corner after a video-referral and this time Hyun Woo NAM managed to slot his low shot past Juan Tomas ESPINOSA to win the game on the wire, leaving Argentina dejected and without a point.

Match Facts (Argentina v. Korea):

> Korea beat Argentina 2-1 as Nam Hyun-Woo converted a penalty corner in the last minute of the match.
> Korea also pulled this trick in the 2006 World Cup. In their match against India they scored the winning goal in the 69th minute by converting a penalty corner.
> Facundo Callioni scored Argentina’s first goal at Delhi 2010 and the first World Cup goal for Argentina since Rodrigo Vila scored in the 2006 Final 9-10 against Japan (2-1).
> Lee Nam-Yong scored the equaliser for Korea. He joins Benjamin Wess (GER), Florian Fuchs (GER), David Alegre (ESP) and Ashley Jackson (ENG) as players to have scored in both of their team’s matches at the 2010 World Cup.

Game 12 – New Zealand v. Netherlands: 1-3 (half-time: 1-3)

The last match of the day between New Zealand and The Netherlands started with a bang! Black Sticks Captain Phillip BURROWS sneaked in the Dutch defense to deflect the ball in goal in the first minute of play and shortly after Ronald BROUWER was on hand to pick up the rebound after a reverse stick shot by Teun DE NOOIJER was stopped by Kyle PONTIFEX. Two goals in less than two minutes. The avalanche continued a few minutes later when Taeke TAEKEMA made no mistake to score his forth penalty-corner of the competition.

The game kept going on the same high tempo, with action at both ends of the pitch and chances for The Netherlands on penalty-corners and a golden opportunity for Nicholas WILSON in front of Guus VOGELS, but the Dutch keeper held his ground firmly. Jeroen HERTZBERGER increased the lead in the 27th minute with an instant shot from the top of the circle that seemed to surprise Kyle PONTIFEX. New Zealand scrambled a chance to reduce the gap on a penalty-corner and half-time was reached with two-goal lead for The Netherlands.

Teun DE NOOIJER forced a penalty-corner early in second period but it was superbly saved by the Black Sticks defense. At the other end, designated drag flicker Andrew HAYWARD, who was so efficient at the World Cup Qualifier in Invercargill (7 PC goals), was firing blanks tonight and the danger came once again from Phillip BURROWS who propelled a missile on the post so hard that the rebound hit and injured his teammate Nicholas WILSON.

Despite some hot situations at both ends, no goal was scored in this period and The Netherlands joined England as the only teams in the competition with maximum points (two wins).

Match facts (New Zealand v. Netherlands):

> The Netherlands join England as the only team to have won maximum points from their first two matches.
> With only one goal conceded, the Dutch have allowed least goals so far at Delhi 2010.
> Taeke Taekema converted one of five penalty corners in this match to lift his Delhi 2010 PC tally to 4. This brings him to the top of the goals scorer list.
> Only 2 minutes into the match, both teams had already scored a goal.
> The last time two teams scored one goal each within 10 minutes from the start of the match, was in the 2002 semi-final Germany-Korea (3-2), when the score was 1-1 after 7 minutes.
> Ronald Brouwer (NED) scored his 4th WC goal and his first in 2010.
> Dutch side Rotterdam saw two of their players score in this match: Phillip Burrows (NZL) and Jeroen Hertzberger (NED).

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

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 4 - Wednesday 3 March 2010

Canada v. Germany 0:6 (0:4)

GER 3mn Benjamin WESS (FG) 0:1
GER 21mn Jan-Marco MONTAG (PC) 0:2
GER 22mn Maximilian MÜLLER (PC) 0:3
GER 27mn Martin HÄNER (PC) 0:4
GER 58mn Florian FUCHS (FG) 0:5
GER 63mn Florian FUCHS (FG) 0:6

Argentina v. Korea 2:1 (0:0)
ARG 53mn Facundo CALLIONI (FG) 1:0
KOR 62mn Nam Yong LEE (FG) 1:1
KOR 70mn Hyun Woo NAM (PC) 1:2

New Zealand v. Netherlands 1:3 (1:3)
NZL 1mn Phillip BURROWS (FG) 1:0
NED 2mn Ronald BROUWER (FG) 1:1
NED 8mn Taeke TAEKEMA (PC) 1:2
NED 27mn Jeroen HERTZBERGER (PC) 1:3

Pool Standings:
Pool A: 1) Netherlands 6 pts 2) Germany 4 pts (+6) 3) Korea 4 pts (+1) 4) New Zealand 3pts 5) Argentina 0 pt (-4) 6) Canada 0 pt (-7)
Pool B: 1) England 6 pts 2) Australia 3 pts (+2) 3) Spain 3 pts (+1) 4) India 3 pts (0) 5) Pakistan 3 pts (-2) 6) South Africa 0 pt

WorldHockey



Nam's strikes give South Korea full points

S. Thyagarajan


Germany asserts its power to smother hapless Canada; Netherlands beats New Zealand

— Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

HAIL THE HERO: Overjoyed Korean teammates congratulate Woo Hyun Nam (left) as they celebrate the win over Argentina on Wednesday.


New Delhi: Korea snatched a dramatic 2-1 win when only 54 seconds were left for the hooter. A penalty corner was obtained from a verdict delivered by the video umpire and Woo Hyun Nam sent in a scorcher of a carpet drive into the goal signalling the team's first win in two matches in a Pool A encounter.

The victory for the Asian champion could not have come at a more appropriate moment. The team had shared four goals in the opening game against Germany and a reverse on Wednesday could have impacted its chances of making it to the last four.

It was a tight match with exchanges well-controlled. Argentina used the height advantage while Korea leaned heavily on the speed of its players' movements and accurate passes. If Lucas Vila looked the most dangerous Argentina player on view, it was skipper Jong Ho Seo who inspired the Koreans by making several threatening moves.

Neither side could manage to hit the target in the first half. Lucas Vila barged in twice but his marksmanship was poor.

Almada scores

Midway through the second half, Argentina gained the lead when Almada paved the way in a scrimmage and Facundo Callioni netted.

Only 16 minutes remained on the clock and the Koreans understood the desperate situation they were in. Sik Hyo You prompted a surging attack from Ho Seo that culminated in Nam Yong Woo delivering the equaliser.

A draw was on the cards but the Koreans were not prepared for that verdict. Forcing the pace, they came as an attacking wave. Umpire Christian Blasch awarded a free hit but the Koreans preferred a referral and won it. Then everything turned to ecstasy for the Koreans, who have now four points too with Germany.

Earlier, Germany asserted its power and strength to outsmart Canada 6-0, after leading 4-0 at half-time.

Taking a more realistic view of the proceedings, it can be assumed that the Germans are yet to come to terms with the conditions or even the new pitch.

This became clear going by the promptings of coach Marcus Weise and his instructions in a stentorian voice to the players to increase the tempo. However, his reactions to some of the decisions by the Australian umpire Gentles did not go well with many.

Germany's domination stood pronounced in penalty corners and their variations. At least three of the goals surfaced from set pieces.

The opening goal in the early minutes, resulting from a brilliant bout of passing between Benjamin Wess and Osken Deeck was striking.

Florian Fuchs lived up to his reputation as the best striker in the squad with a brace in the second half.

His second surfaced from a superbly executed backhander which gave no chance whatsoever for the Canadian defenders.

With the Germans holding such a firm grip throughout, the chances for Canada were few and far between. This first penalty corner for Canada emerged only in the last minute of the tie. Germany has four points from two matches while Canada is yet to open its account.

The outcome was important statistically too. Germany extended its unbeaten streak to 15, the same as enjoyed by Pakistan between 1978 and 1982. The record stands at 18 against Australia from 1978-1990.

Netherlands scores win

In the final match of the day, the Netherlands beat New Zealand 3-1.

Phil Burrows gave the Kiwis a flying start less than a minute from the push off. But that joy proved evanescent as the Dutchmen roared back. Not only did they draw level but scored twice more in the first half.

The fightback was led by veteran striker Ronald Brouwer, who restored parity. Then Taeke Taekema pumped in his trademark penalty corner to the roof and before half-time Joeren Hertzberger widened the margin. Taekema equalled Bovelander's tally of 17 goals in the World Cup. Paul Litjens owns the record at 26.

Netherlands' second successive win — it beat Argentina 3-0 in the opening match — gives it six points in Pool A.

The results: Pool A: Germany 6 (Benjamin Wess, Jan Marco Montag, Max Muller, Martin Haner, Florian Fuchs 2) bt Canada 0. HT 4-0.

Korea 2 (Woo Hyun Nam 2) bt Argentina 1 (Facundo Callioni). HT 0-0.

Netherlands 3 (Ronald Brouwer, Taeke Taekema, Joeren Hertzburger) bt New Zealand 1 (Phil Burrows). HT 3-1.

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

The Hindu



Germany thrash Canada 6-0


German hockey players celebrate their sixth goal against Canada during their World Cup 2010 match at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium in New Delhi yesterday. Germany won the game 6-0. (AFP

Defending champions Germany toyed with lowly Canada 6-0 yesterday to record their first win in the men’s field hockey World Cup.

Asia’s number one South Korea also earned their maiden victory, a 2-1 verdict against Argentina with Nam Hyun-Woo scoring the winning penalty corner in the last minute.

The Germans, looking to become the first team to win a hat-trick of World Cup titles, came back strongly after being held to an embarrassing 2-2 draw by the Koreans in their first group A match.

The reigning Olympic champions pumped in four goals in the first half, three of them with penalty corners after Benjamin Wess had put them ahead in the 3rd minute with a field goal.

Jan-Marco Montag, Max Muller and Martin Haner fired in set-piece goals, before man-of-the-match Florian Fuchs sealed the emphatic win by striking twice in the second session.

Germany, who won the last two World Cups in 2002 and 2006 before underlining their supremacy with a gold at the Beijing Olympics two years ago, now have four points from two matches.

The 11th-ranked Canada, who lost to New Zealand in their first match, remain without a point.

“We analysed our first game to draw up a things-to-do list,” said German coach Markus Weise. “I am glad some of those negatives have been ticked off.

“We you are not playing a top side, you look to score five to six goals, and we were able to achieve that today.”

South Korea and Argentina produced a barren first half as both sides wasted scoring opportunities, including two penalty corners by the Asian team.

Argentina took the lead in the 53rd minute through Facundo Callioni after the Koreans were reduced to 10 men following a green card to Kyung Min-Jun.

Three-time winners the Netherlands moved closer to a semi-final berth with a 3-1 win over New Zealand.

Ronald Brouwer, Taeke Taekema and Jeroen Hertzberger scored for the winners, after Philip Burrows put New Zealand ahead in the opening minute.

The Netherlands now top the pool with six points from two games. New Zealand are on three points after their two matches.

Gulf Times



Gritty Korea stay on course

The Netherlands remain on top in Pool A with 3-1 win over NZ


OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


New Delhi: In its two previous editions, South Korea have been the only Asian team to make the World Cup semi-finals, finishing fourth on both occasions.

On Wednesday, the gritty Koreans once again ensured they stayed in contention for a last-four berth with a fighting 2-1 over Argentina in a well contested Pool A encounter at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium.

The Koreans, who held defending champions Germany to a 2-2 draw in their first match, now have four points from two matches. Argentina have lost both their matches. Germany, who drubbed a hapless Canada 6-0 in the day’s first match, too, have four points.

It was the orange shirts of the Netherlands that remained pool leaders with six points from two matches after a convincing 3-1 victory over 1976 Olympic champions New Zealand in the day’s last clash. It was the New Zealanders who took the lead through Phillip Burrows in the opening minute but the Dutch retaliated with three goals in the next 27 minutes.

While Ronald Brouwer equalised a minute after New Zealand had opened the scoring, penalty corner specialist Taeke Taekema and Jeroen Hertzberger were the other marksmen for the Dutch. It was the 200th international goal for Taekema who was the highest scorer in the last edition in Germany.

But ask the penalty corner specialist if he wanted to end up as the all-time highest goalscorer in the World Cup and Taekema’s reply underlines his commitment to the team.

“I’d much prefer to finish on top in this World Cup than be the topscorer,” Taekema said. “I want to be a world champion and I’ll celebrate once we win here.”

All the excitement in the Korea-Argentina match was reserved for the last minute when the Asian side clinched the match-winner in dramatic fashion.

With the match locked 1-1, the Koreans pressed hard and asked the umpire for a “referral” when the ball hit the leg of an Argentine defender inside the area a few seconds from the hooter. Granted a penalty corner by the video replay, Hyun Woo Nam blasted the ball into the goal with a clean and energetic hit.

No wonder Nam was ecstatic after scoring the winner, his second goal of the match. As he broke into celebrations by throwing his stick on the pitch, the umpire rushed to ask him to join his teammates so that the match could be restarted.

“It was a difficult match… we are happy to have clinched three points,” said South Korean captain Jong Bok Cha. “After today’s win we can start dreaming about reaching the semis.”

In the end, the Argentines must have felt frustrated as it was them that had taken the lead through Facundo Callioni in the 53rd minute. But Nam had equalised with a brilliant reverse flick nine minutes later.

In the day’s first match, Germany toyed with Canada before subjecting them to a 6-0 thrashing after leading 4-0 at the breather.

For Germany, 18-year-old Florian Fuchs scored twice, in the 58th and 64th minutes, while Benjamin Wess (3rd minute), Jan-Marco Motag (21st), captain Maximillian Muller (23rd) and Martin Haner (28th) found the target once each.

Gunning for a hattrick of World Cup titles following triumphs in 2002 and 2006, Germany forced as many as seven penalty-corners — from which they scored thrice — while Canada got just one in the entire match.

The Telegraph, India



Six in the city: Germans run riot

Manuja Veerappa


New Delhi, March 3: They Canadians may have age and experience, but when it comes to skill and tactics, they surely aren’t a patch on the young German side. Although it wasn’t the best of days for Germany, especially in the second half, they trounced Canada 6-0 in their Pool A game of the 12th Hockey World Cup at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here on Wednesday.

Having drawn their opening match against Korea, the defending champions were not only looking at a victory, but a win by a huge margin.

Benjamin Wess got on to the job early as he struck a close goal off a pass from Oskar Deecke, which sneaked past Canada goalkeeper Matthew Peck.

In the opening match short corner conversions was a major concern for Germany, but they made amends with three of their goals coming off set pieces on the day.

Jan Marco Montag who seemed out of sorts against Korea put Germany 2-0 ahead in the 21st minute. A minute later, Montag set up a goal for his skipper Maximilian Muller off the third penalty corner. With Germany finding success with penalty corners, it became a dreaded prospect for the Canada side, which seemed clueless in defence and most often their defence strategies resulted in penalty corners.

Martin Haner converted one more in the 27th minute when he clinically dispatched the ball to the bottom left corner.

Going into the half-time with a comfortable 4-0 lead, the Germans were a tad complacent in the second half. The controlled game they played through the first 35 minutes slipped away with Canada pushing themselves into the opponents striking circle.

The Germans woke up with 15 minutes left for the final hoot and picked up pace.

Matthias Witthaus was in fine form as he played the role of a feeder well. With Muller leading from the front, he was well aided by Witthaus and Teenager star Florian Fuchs.

In the 58th minute Muller relayed a pass to Witthaus which he set up well for Fuchs to sound the boards.

Fuchs who tormented the Canadian defence for a better part of the match, showed why he is hailed as the star of the future as a reverse flick from a narrow angle in the 63rd minute saw Germany collect three points.

German coach Weise later said he was 75% satisfied with his team’s performance.

Korea shade Argentina


It was a first class display of pace and nimbleness as Argentina matched speed with Korea. Although both the teams were at their attacking best, the battle of even attack and defence resulted in a 2-1 thriller in favour of the Asian side.

With both teams tight in defence, scoring opportunities were few. They could have been early goals if penalty experts from both the sides Pedro Ibarra and Hye Sung Hyun had not been off target.

Argentina were first to go up with Facundo Callioni lobbing a pass of Juan Martin Lopez in the 53rd minute. Korea restored parity in the 62nd minute, when Hyo Sik You relayed a pass to Nam Youg Lee who crept the ball in. With 42 seconds to go for the final whistle, Korea were awarded a penalty corner and Nam Youg Lee’s dragflick earned the Koreans their first victory of the event.

The Asian Age



Germany brush Canada aside 6-0 in World Cup

Olympic champions Germany brushed aside Canada 6-0 in a pool A game at the men's hockey World Cup on Wednesday after the world's top-ranked side moved up a gear in their bid for a third straight title.

Benjamin Wess slammed a third minute goal against Canada to put the Pan-American champions under early pressure as Germany raced to a 4-0 lead at halftime after on Monday having rallied to draw 2-2 against South Korea in the opening game.

Former champions Netherlands defeated New Zealand 3-1 for their second successive victory and Korea snatched a 2-1 win against Argentina off a last minute goal in the other pool A matches at the Dhyan Chand National Hockey Stadium.

Forward Florian Fuchs scored twice in the second half as ruthless Germany took complete control after Jan-Marco Montag, captain Maximilian Mueller and Martin Haener scored off penalty corners in the first half.

Argentina, who lost their opening game to Netherlands, went ahead through Facundo Callioni in the 53rd minute.

Korea equalised through Lee Nam-yong in the 62nd minute while Nam Hyun-woo scored off a penalty corner in the last minute as the top Asian team finished in dramatic fashion.

Penalty corner specialist Taeke Taekema scored his fourth goal of the tournament to lead a dominant performance by the Dutch after scoring a hat-trick in the opening game.

Stuff



Germany hit Canada for six

Prabhjot Singh


New Delhi: Defending champions Germany scored at will to blank Canada 6-0 to notch up their first win of the 12th World Cup Hockey Tournament at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here today. Germany and South Korea had split points in their first pool A match on Monday. For Canada it was their second successive defeat in as many matches as they had gone down fighting to New Zealand 2- in their first game of the World Cup.

German dominance was so complete that in the second half, they rested most of their senior players and blooded their young crop to give them the much needed big match exposure. Germany not only got eight penalty corners, three of which produced goals, two by Jan-Marco Montag and the third by Martin Haner. It is a different story that in the second half, Montag had to go out after being shown a yellow card for intentionally obstructing Ranjeev Deol of Canada.

Florian Fuchs, a promising youngster, had the satisfaction of scoring a brace late in the second half. The second and sixth for Germany was a stunning goal as he took possession of the ball in the extreme left flank of the Canadian striking circle and pelted a bullet like angled shot into the board.

Earlier, he intercepted a goalmouth steamer from Martin Zwicker, another youngster, before finding the target with a shot that sailed into the net. Canadians did try to make a match of the game in the second half with some good moves but the German defence, including skipper M. Muller, were unbeatable.

Since the game was one-sided there was only video referral that went in favour of Germany after substitute umpire had blown for a free hit for Canada.

Germany, however, could not make use of the resultant penalty corner. With four points from two games, Germany is now back in the hunt for top position in the pool.

The Tribune



Germany blank Canada 6-0 at hockey World Cup


NEW DELHI: Defending champions Germany toyed with Canada before subjecting them to a 6-0 plastering in their second Pool A match of the hockey World Cup on Wednesday.

Playing a fast-paced and one-touch hockey, the reigning Olympic champions and world number one side dictated terms for most part of the match which they led 4-0 at the breather.

Canada, ranked 10 places below Germany at the FIH chart, gave a stiff fight after the breather but still conceded two goals in the second session.

For Germany, who had drawn 2-2 with South Korea in their opening match, 18-year-old Florian Fuchs scored twice in the 58th and 64th minutes while Benjamin Wess (3rd), Jan-Marco Motag (21st), captain Maximillian Muller (23rd), Martin Haner (28th) found the target once each.

Gunning for a hat-trick of World Cup titles after their triumphs in 2002 and 2006, Germany forced as many as seven penalty corners -- from which they scored three -- while Canada got just one in the entire match.

Play was confined mostly in the Canadian 25-yard for most part of the match and it was a completely lop-sided contest in the first session.

Just as the handful of the spectators at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium took their seats, Germany opened their account with Benjamin Wess scoring after playing a one-to-one pass with Oscar Decke.

Canada were on a even keel with Germany in the first 15 minutes as they also made some fine moves but once the reigning Olympic champions doubled their lead in the 21st minute through a penalty corner by defender Jan-Marco Montag, the floodgates were opened.

Montag's drag-flick found the Canadian net after hitting the hands of goalkeeper Dave Carter.

Two minutes later, captain Maximillian Muller scored from his side's fourth penalty corner after Montag set it up for him.

Martin Haner then made it 4-0 five minutes later from Germany's fifth penalty corner sending the ball at the bottom left corner of the Canadian goal.

After the breather, Canada improved their performance and for more than 20 minutes in the second session they kept the Germans at bay.

But incessant pressure from the never-say-die Germans resulted to two goals in the last 12 minutes with young Florian Fuchs scoring two fine field goals and end the match with a tennis-like score.

Germany play lowest ranked Argentina in their next match on Friday while Canada take on the Netherlands the same day.

The Times of India



German coach not very impressed

Sports Reporter


GETTING IT RIGHT: Florian Fuchs scored twice in Germany's big win over Canada.


NEW DELHI: In spite of its convincing 6-0 win against Canada in the hockey World Cup on Wednesday, defending champion Germany was not a very excited unit.

Coach Markus Weise lamented that he did not have the best of players at his disposal in an event like the World Cup.

“I have never seen such a nomination in my life. It was because of injury, studies and retirements. We had no choice, no one was left and it was a special situation,” Weise said.

A keen tussle is on in Pool B while the journey appears a little easier in Pool A, in which Germany figures.

Nevertheless, German captain Max Muller did not agree with any such suggestion.

“I do not think our pool is not difficult. The other pool appears difficult because of England upsetting Australia or may be Pakistan's win against Spain,” he said.

Man-of-the-match 18-year-old German striker Florian Fuchs, who scored twice in the match and increased his individual tally to 10 goals from nine matches, said the team could have won by a bigger margin.

“We had problems in scoring. We got many chances but scored only six goals,” he said.

Weise, however, was not pleased with the youngster's showing.

“Even if he scored goals, I am not happy with the way he (Florian) played. He is not playing his best hockey,” the German coach said.

Canada's Keegan Pereira said his team's aim was to play against big countries in the tournament and improve its ranking.

Lucky game

Korean player Hyo Sik You admitted that his side was lucky to beat Argentina through a last-minute goal.

“It was a difficult game. We had spent a lot of energy against Germany. So our coach said take it easy in this match. We were lucky,” he said. Coach Pablo Lombi said his team was not up to the mark and deserved to lose.

Dutch coach delighted

Dutch coach Michel van den Heuvel was delighted that his team quickly recovered from the one-goal deficit to beat New Zealand.

“We created a lot of field chances. Our players reacted well after being 0-1 down. I am happy that different players are growing,” he said. van den Heuvel said his team could have scored more goals had it capitalised on the chances.

New Zealand skipper Phillip Burrows said his side lost because it gave away easy goals.

The Hindu



We now have an edge in our pool: German coach


NEW DELHI: German coach Markus Weise said his team's 6-0 triumph over Canada on Wednesday has given them an edge over other Pool A teams as the fight for the two semi-final spots gets tougher in the Hockey World Cup.

Defending champions Germany scored their first win of the tournament after being held 2-2 by South Korea in their first match.

"There is nothing to complain about once you have a 6-0 scoreline in your favour," said Weise. "The goal difference will help us qualify for the semi-finals as the group is getting tougher, but we are also getting competitive."

Weise was also satisfied with the conversion rate of penalty corners. Germany missed as many as six penalty corners against South Korea.

"I am happy that today we had a good conversion rate. We got eight penalty corners and converted three. So, in this match we have made use of the opportunities. We will keep it going," he said.

German captain Maximilian Muller said his young side is improving with every match.

"We have a young side but they have the potential to take us ahead to the semis or may be to the title victory here," he said. "We drew our first match against Korea but today the team has performed really well as we controlled 70 per cent of the match."

Muller predicted England and Australia to qualify from Pool B, while it will be Netherlands and Germany from Pool A.

"India still have a chance but they have to win all their remaining matches."

He said the pitch at the Major Dhyan Chand National stadium has now become a lot even than what it was at the start of the tournament.

The Times of India



"Fuchs still has miles to go"

Germany’s 6-0 score line against Canada may look very convincing, but not quite. Hear out the German coach.

By Rajarshi Gupta


After Australian coach Ric Charlesworth refused to read too much into Australia's 5-2 rout over India, German coach Markus Weise reiterated that his squad needed to work on a few things, still.

Weise and his skipper Maxmilian Muller did sound ‘content' with Wednesday's win against a hapless Canada but the former had some sharp words for 22-year-old sensation Florian Fuchs, who scored two goals in the defending champions' first win of the World Cup.

"I am not happy with Fuchs. He did not do too much apart from scoring those two goals. He has to start learning fast, which I am sure he will. He is only a young man."

Fuchs may currently be the joint top-scorer in the World Cup with Dutchman Taeke Taekema (three goals each) but clearly the youngest player in the tournament has to go a long mile to win the respect of his coach.

International coaches are no longer only impressed by tall score lines and Weise stressed the need to maintain decent consistency through the tournament.

Meanwhile, Muller, who scored in the 22nd minute, was far from upbeat despite Germany collecting their first three points of the 2010 event.

"6-0 is okay for us. There was a chance for us to score one or two goals more towards the end but we failed to convert those chances."

"We try to win every game and that is what drives us to do well every time we take the field. As of now, we are satisfied with the four points (one from the drawn game against Korea)."

The Germans converted only three of their eight penalty corners and the think-tank have their hats full. If they are to realise their dream of a hat-trick of World Cup triumphs, much work remains to be done.

ESPNStar.com



200th International Cap for Wayne Fernandes


Photo: Yan Huckendubler

Delhi, India – In the World Cup match against Germany, Wayne FERNANDES earned his 200th International Cap for Canada, an exceptional milestone that places him amongst the ten most capped Canadian players.

Wayne first played for the National Team against Pakistan, when they stopped in Vancouver in July 1996 on their way to the Olympic Games in Atlanta. With a strong team already established, he only played episodically until after the 2000 Olympic Games, then became a regular on the roster and did not miss any competition since, playing in the 2008 Olympic Games, 2003 and 2007 Pan American Games, 2004 and 2009 Pan American Cups, 2002 and 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Wayne worked hard to develop a potent drag flick, becoming one the designated penalty-corner strikers with about 90 goals to his name so far. He also excels on penalty-stroke, most famously scoring the final goal in the penalty-stroke shootout when Canada defeated Argentina at the Pan American Games in Rio to earn their Olympic qualification.

Growing up in Toronto, Wayne played a lot on indoor hockey and turned into an outstanding competitor in this exercise, becoming the mainstay of the Canadian Indoor Team that qualified and performed brilliantly in two Indoor World Cups. The sixth place at the 2003 Indoor World Cup in Leipzig ranks high in his best memories, for the atmosphere in the large venue filled to capacity and for the top Canadian performance.

The other top memories of his international career are winning the Pan American Games in Rio to qualify for the Olympic Games, and of course playing in Beijing on the Olympic stage.

After playing for two seasons in Spain to improve his game, Wayne is now living in Vancouver to train with the National Team.

Field Hockey Canada media release



100th International Cap for Scott Tupper



Photo: Yan Huckendubler

DELHI, INDIA – In the World Cup match against Germany, Scott TUPPER earned his 100th International Cap for Canada, a remarkable milestone for a 23-year old player.

Scott first played for the National Team during the Test Series against Scotland in April 2005 in Vancouver. He quickly made an impression and became a mainstay on the roster. After missing the end of the 2006 season, he came back in 2007 and established himself as an integral part of the solid Canadian defense, winning the 2007 Pan American Games and 2009 Pan American Cups in dramatic fashion to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games and the current World Cup, an exceptional array of experiences for a young player.

In the last year, Scott decided to go to Europe to develop his game and has been playing in the German League and in the EHL (European Hockey League) with the Club An Der Alster in Hamburg, rubbing shoulders and standing his ground with the elite of hockey every week.

Scott ranks the wins in the Pan American competitions as the best memories of his young career. “Nothing beats the feeling of qualifying for a world level competition”, said Scott from Delhi. “Playing in the Olympic Games is of course special and the World Cup in India will certainly stay as a strong memory”.

Field Hockey Canada media release



Hyun helps Korea earn full points against Argentina

NEW DELHI: Drag-flicker Hyun Woo Nam scored in the dying moments as a resilient Korea came back from a goal down to beat a fighting Argentina 2-1 in their second Pool A match of the hockey World Cup on Wednesday.

Lee Nam Yong (62 minutes) scored the equaliser while Hyun (70th) converted a penalty corner just 54 seconds from the hooter to give Korea full three points from the match.

Facundo Callioni scored the lone goal for Argentina in the 53rd minute at the floodlit Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

Korea showed great fighting spirit and scored two goals within last 10 minutes to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

The Asian champions sparkled in the final 15 minutes of the match, which was mainly dominated by Argentina for most part of the day.

Argentina were the more attacking side in the first half as they had two big scoring chances in the initial two minutes but on both the occasion the forwardline disappointed.

The Koreans too had a few chances, mainly through counter attacks, but their strikers lacked the finishing ability as both the teams failed to break the deadlock in the first period.

The second half started on a similar note as both the teams fought tooth and nail but still failed to score inspite of numerous chances.

However, it was Argentina who finally broke the deadlock in the 53rd minute through Callioni from a Juan Martin Lopez lay off. It was incidentally the Argentina's first goal in the tournament as they lost to the Netherlands 0-3 in their tournament opener.

Just when it seemed that the Argentines would walk away with full three points, Young drew parity after he was beautifully set up by his captain Jong Ho Seo.

As if it was not enough for the Argentines, Korea scored the winner in the final minute of the match when Nam's drag-flick beat Argentine custodian Tomas Juan Espinosa all ends up.

Korea earned their sixth penalty corner when they claimed for it after the ball hit an Argentine foot inside the D. The video umpire confirmed the short corner and Nam was spot on with the low flick to the delight of his teammates.

Korea will face New Zealand in their next pool match on Friday, while Argentina takes on defending champions Germany.

The Times of India



Referral comes to the rescue of Koreans

s2h Team


Thanks to a timely referral, South Korea obtained full points in the tight match against the Pan American Champions Argentina in the second match of the Day IV of the Hero Honda World Cup.

Both the teams were tied 1-1 when just 42 seconds left for the hooter. Following a right wing attack, Koreans felt they owed a Penalty Corner but the umpire was not interested. The Koreans instantly used the television umpire referral provision, which was upheld.

Hyun Woo Nam converted it much to the delight of the team. Heart-broken for the fighting Argentineans.

Earlier, Argentina scored in the 53rd minute through Facundo Callioni, and Nam equalized in the 62nd second.

Earlier in the first match, Germany had difficulty whatsoever to easily steamroll Canada. In a lackluster match, pepped up by the young lion Floran Fuchs, who scored a brace in the second half, Germany defeated Canad 6-0 after scoring four goals in the first half.

Germany converted three of its eight goals in making the contest one-sided.

Stick2Hockey.com



Last gasp win for South Korea

Score seconds before the final hooter to down spirited Argentina

M.S.Unnikrishnan


New Delhi: Korea scored the match-winner off a penalty corner seconds before the final hooter to down a fighting Argentina 2-1 in a crucial Group A match of the 12th Hero Honda FIH World Cup Hockey Championship at the National Stadium here tonight. Korea did not display the flair and speed they had exhibited while playing a 2-2 draw against England in their opening match, but after being down by a goal, they stirred into action to slot in two goals in the final eight minutes to earn full points and keep themselves in the hunt for a semifinal berth.

Argentina, who were handed out a 0-3 hiding by The Netherlands in their opening match to become the only team not to have scored a goal, corrected that abberation when they took the Koreans by surprise when with a goal from Facundo Callioni 18 minutes into the second half.

Juan Martin Lopez took the ball down the wing, and crossed into the dee which was put into goal by Facundo. The Koreans, till then playing a kind of passive hockey though they had forced two penalty corners in the first half, revved into action and pulled off the equaliser when Sik Hye You made an electrifying rund down the right flank, crossed the ball into the goal area, and Yong Nam Lee struck the ball home in a trice.

And when the match was heading towards a possible draw, Korea made a fierce counter attack which was baulked by Argentina inside the circle, which fetched the Koreans a penalty corner after referral. Woo Hyun Nam packed so much power in his hit off the penalty corner that the Argentine defence was caught napping.

The Koreans were slack initially and Argentina took full advantage to showcase their dribbling act. Yet, it were the Koreans who came near scoring with their sporadic raids which got them two penalty corners, though both went abegging.

Korea also wasted their third penalty corner before coming good with the fourth, when it mattered the most. Argentina also earned three penalty corners but they were quickly dipossed by the speedy Koreans inside the circle. This win was a sweet revenge for Korea for their 3-5 defeat at the hands of the Latin American team in the 1994 World Cup. Argentina had also beaten Korea in the 2008 Champions Trophy and 2005 Champions Challenge by 4-2 and 5-2 margins, respectively.

The Tribune



Hyun Woo-Nam helps his side prevail 2-1 over Argentina

C Rajshekhar Rao


New Delhi: The Netherlands were left looking for an evasive second-half goal, but their effort in the first session was enough to ensure a second consecutive win in the FIH Hero Honda World Cup.

The pool A contests at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium produced matches of different hues, culminating with a 3-1 victory in the final match of the day for the Dutch over New Zealand, who suffered their second loss in the championship.

In other matches, Korea pipped Argentina 2-1 in the last minute, while defending champions Germany thrashed Canada 6-0.

The Netherlands were surprised by an early goal from the Kiwis, when captain Phillip Burrows scored in a first-minute foray. But the Dutch equalized the very next minute through Ronald Brouwer, and the three-time winners took control of the match soon enough.

Penalty-corner specialist Taeke Taekema, who was the highest scorer of the last World Cup with 11 goals and already has a hat-trick under his belt in this edition, then produced a trade-mark penalty-corner conversion to help the world number three take the lead. Jeroen Hertzberger completed the tally and some late attacks from the Kiwis were thwarted in a barren second half.

In another match, Germany produced a glut of goals against Canada, but said they were looking for more in their second outing.

The top-ranked side had a fair distribution of three field goals and as many penalty-corner conversions. The hunger for goals was evident from early on, Benjamin Wess slipping in one in the third minute, as the team looked to make the most of their outing after being held to a 2-2 draw by Korea in their opening match.

Jan-Marco Montag converted the third short corner to put the team further ahead in the 21st minute. Captain Maximilian Muller converted another one the very next minute while Martin Haner did the same in another five minutes to complete the half-time score of 4-0. Striker Florian Fuchs then notched up a brace in the second session.

German coach Murkus Weise said he was “75 per cent satisfied with the team’s performance” but that he expected more goals once the opposition was on the mat.

The Koreans too managed a win in their second outing, a last minute penalty-corner conversion from Hyun Woo-Nam clinching the issue for the Asian champions. The mercurial player, who had earlier in the day produced the equalizer too, sent in a rasping shot along the ground to sound the board.

The goal was followed by a joyous routine that included the marksman throwing his stick on the ground in delight and earning a warning from the umpire, even as the Koreans heaved a sigh of relief after almost playing out a second draw in as many matches.

Following a goal-less first session, Argentina were the ones to draw first blood through Facundo Callioni in the 53rd minute. But the delight of the South American side was short-lived as the Koreans shot in through Hyun Woo nine minutes later.

DNA



The Netherlands beat spirited NZ 3-1 at hockey WC


NEW DELHI: Title contenders the Netherlands staved off New Zealand's spirited resistance to record a 3-1 victory in their second Pool A match of the hockey World Cup on Wednesday.

The Dutch, who had blanked Argentina 3-0 in their first match on Monday, slammed three goals after New Zealand had taken the lead in the opening minute of the match itself in front of a handful of spectators at the floodlit Major Dhyan Chand Stadium.

Both sides failed to add any goal in the second half after the Netherlands led 3-1 at the breather.

For the Netherlands, Ronald Brouwer (2nd minute), Taeke Taekema (7th) and Jeroen Hertzberger (27th) found the target while Phillip Burrows (1st minute) scored for New Zealand.

The Netherlands earned five penalty corners in the match while New Zealand got three. The Dutch now topped the Pool A with six points from two wins.

The match was nicely set up with New Zealand sounding the board as early as the opening minute through skipper Phillip Burrows who had the faintest of a touch of a cross by Steven Edwards.

In-form the Netherlands struck back immediately in the next minute with Ronald Brouwer scoring after captain Teun de Nooijer's reverse stick shot was rebounded off goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex.

Star drag-flicker Taeke Taekema then gave the Netherlands the lead by converting his side's first penalty corner in the seventh minute and in the process equalling his great countryman Floris Jan Bovelander's 17 World Cup goals. The goal was Taekemas' fourth for four attempts in this World Cup.

A defensive blunder cost the Black Sticks dear as Dutch forward Jeroen Hertzberger scored his side's third goal in the 27th minute.

Veteran Dutch goalkeeper Guus Vogels was in the thick of action twice in the first half. He first saved a Nicholas Wilson shot in the 18th minute following a fine cross from Ryan Archibald in front of the goal.

A minute before the breather, Vogels again blocked a shot by New Zealand captain Phillip Burrows.

New Zealand regained some lost ground in the second session which saw both the sides fighting on equal keel.

Star New Zealander Ryan Archibald missed the easiest of chances in the 52nd minute as he connected a cross almost on the goal-line only to see it out of the cage.

Six minutes later, a hard shot from Phillip Burrows hit the near side post before hurting Wilson, who was waiting at the far post. Wilson left the pitch injured.

The Netherlands play their next match against Canada on Friday while New Zealand take on South Korea on the same day.

The Times of India



Black Sticks go down against Netherlands

BLACK MARK: New Zealand's Nick Haig and Shea McAleese battle with Netherlands' Floris Evers and Teun de Nooijer for control of the ball in the goal mouth during the International Hockey Federation World Cup 2010 in New Delhi, India. AP


New Zealand scored an early goal and dominated the second half but it was not enough to stop the Netherland winning 3-1 in their second match at the hockey world Cup in New Delhi this morning (NZtime).

The Black Sticks went ahead after just 47seconds when captain Phil Burrows provided the finish to a good build-up from Steve Edwards.

But celebrations were quickly muted when the Netherlands hit back in less than a minute with a field goal of their own when the New Zealand defence failed to clear and Ronald Brouwer was on hand to sweep home.

After seven minutes, New Zealand fell behind when drag flick expert Take Taekema fired a rocket into goal, his 200th for his country.

Taekema had two further chances in the 15th and 16th minutes but failed to convert either. The scoring ended in the 29th minute when again the defence failed to respond and Jeroen Hertzberger hit home.

Stunned, the Black Sticks rallied, created a couple of decent half chances - to Burrows and Nick Wilson - and won their only penalty corner of the half which was quickly squandered.

The second half promised much as New Zealand took the upper hand.

But failure to convert either of two penalty corners and chances from Ryan Archibald which the goalkeeper kicked clear and one which Blair Hilton pushed wide cost them any hope.

"I thought we played some pretty good hockey but were let down by the fine details," New Zealand coach Shane McLeod said."

"We gave away some soft corners which didn't help. But, having said that I thought we defended their corners well.

"If we had been able to hold on for 10 minutes after that early goal it might have been a different story as they would have had to chase the game.

"At halftime we talked about applying pressure and tried to make sure we defended better.

"I thought we achieved that and were the more dominant team after halftime. From 25 to 25 it was pretty even but we didn't have any luck in the circle with a couple of shots which hit the post. If one of those had gone in, who knows what might have happened.".

Defending champions bounced back from a 2-2 draw with Korea ion their opening match to beat Canada 6-0 today.

It stretched Germany's unbeaten World Cup run to 15 (from 2002 through to this tournament) - the second-best streak, along with Pakistan (1978-1982), and five behind the record 20 held by Australia (1978-1990).

Any hope Canada might have entertained of taking the game to Germany quickly disappeared when Benjamin Weiss provided the finish to an expansive attack in the third minute.

Jan-Marco Montag, Max Muller, Martin Haner and, Florian Fuchs (two) added the others.

In another match played today, Korea beat Argentina 2-1.

Stuff



High-flying Dutch ground Kiwis

M.S.Unnikrishnan


New Delhi: The Netherlands inflicted a 3-1 defeat on New Zealand to register their second straight victory in a Group A match of the 12th Hero Honda FIH World Cup Hockey Championship at the National Stadium here tonight.

Netherlands thus became the second team, after England, to maintain an all-win record. And the Dutch have also three goals as a kind of benchmark for their wins as they had blanked Argentina by 3-0.

Drag-flick expert Taeke Taekema, who registered the first hat-trick of the championship here, got the second goal today to put the Dutch on a 2-1 lead.

Though the Netherlands took the field on a confident note, their image took a knocking when New Zealand captain Phillip Burrows scored in the opening minute. But the Dutch with their quick forays, interceptions and carefully structured moves finally breached the Kiwi defence when Ronald Brouwer powered one in to get the equaliser.

Taekema struck with his trade-mark dragflick to gain the lead which was consolidated by Jeroen Hertzberger seven minutes before the interval.

Though New Zealand did not throw in the towel after trailing by 1-3, they could not capitalise on the three penalty corners they forced, as they were simply not in the league of their rivals when it came to scoring off corners.

Even Taekema was also not in his best as he could strike only once as a couple of times rival custodian Kyle Pontifex effected superb saves off his sweeps. Late in the second session, the Kiwis used the flanks to flummox the Dutch defence, but the quick-footed defence baulked the Kiwis before the moves could end up in menacing tones. The Dutch are now sitting pretty in the Group win-wise and goal-wise as the six goals they have totted up may come in handy when it comes to goal-count for upward movement in later stages of the group play. This was Netherlands' fifth victory against New Zealand in six World Cup encounters, as they had succumbed to the Kiwis only once - a 1-2 defeat at Kuala Lumpur in 1975, where India emerged victorious for their first and last cup triumph.

Interestingly, Netherlands and New Zealand were the only teams to have won their opening matches in Group A, and despite the defeat, the Kiwis have nothing to be ashamed of as they lost to a better, skillful team.

The Dutch, three-time winners of the World Cup, have now emerged as one of the favourites to make a shot at the title.

The Tribune



Dutch coach not looking beyond match with Canada

NEW DELHI: Despite bagging full points from their two matches, the Netherlands coach Michel van den Huevel is not ready to think beyond the next group match in the Hockey World Cup.

A 3-1 win against New Zealand here Wednesday at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium have boosted the three-time World Cup winners' chances of making the cut for the semi-finals.

Huevel admitted that his boys have improved after their opening match against Argentina, but still have a long way to go.

"I am not thinking beyond our next match against Canada on Friday. We have improved from our first match. But we still have a long way to go," said Huevel.

"It was good to see that we got some nice field goals and our boys are also performing well with every match. It is a good sign that our players are also getting better with every match," he added.

Huevel was also happy that players never panicked despite conceding a goal in the very first minute.

"Our boys responded well despite conceding a goal in the very first minute. They showed a great presence of mind," he said.

Star drag-flicker Taeke Taekema was also happy with the team's performance and echoed the coach's sentiments.

"We can't start planning for the semis now. We have to plan for the next match against Canada," he said.

The Times of India



We could have won the match by bigger margin: Dutch coach

NEW DELHI: The Netherlands captain Tuen de Nooijer said his side could have defeated New Zealand by a bigger margin had they not wasted their chances galore in the second half of their Pool A match.

Nooijer said the Dutch had improved upon their performance from the last match but squandered a lot of goal-scoring chances.

"We played good hockey in the first half. We were 1-0 down in the first minute but came back strongly to win the match convincingly. We had more chances in the second half but we missed, otherwise we could have won by a bigger margin," he said.

The Netherlands beat the Black Sticks 3-1 in their second Pool A match at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here.

"We have improved a lot. The good thing is that we have scored more field goals today," he added.

The Netherlands coach Michel van den Heuvel also rued the missed chances but said he was more than happy with his side's performance.

"I am happy. We are aiming to get better with every match. We have improved a lot from the last match. We created a lot of chances. We expected to score more goals if you look at the number of chances we got," Heuvel said.

Goalkeeper Guus Vogels also admitted that they should have put up a better performance in the second half.

"To be honest we played well, we have improved a lot. We should have scored a little bit more in the second half but 3-1 is a good result," he said.

New Zealand captain Phillip Burrows said missing penalty corners and conceding soft goals did them in against the Dutch.

"We missed our penalty corners and that is an area of concern. We also conceded soft goals," he said.

The Kiwi skipper said they cannot afford to repeat the same mistakes against Korea in their next match on Friday.

"We have to recover from this defeat early. Korea is a dangerous side and have to ensure that we don't give them many penalty corners," Burrows said.

The Times of India



New Zealand-Holland match delayed due to power failure

NEW DELHI: The Hockey World Cup Pool A match between New Zealand and the Netherlands was delayed by a couple of minutes on Wednesday due to a power failure at the Major Dhyan Chand national stadium.

The national Stadium was plunged into partial darkness for a couple of minutes due a small power failure, which also forced the authorities to skip playing the national anthem before the start of the match.

As per International Hockey Federation (FIH) guidelines, however, playing the national anthem before the start of the match is not mandatory.

The Times of India



England keen to tighten grip on group by seeing off Pakistan

By Patrick Rowley in New Delhi

Midfield battle: England hockey player Adam Dixon (right) vies for the ball with South African hockey player Julian Hykes during their World Cup 2010 match Photo: GETTY IMAGES


England, with victories over Australia and South Africa behind them, have a great chance to strengthen their position at the top of their World Cup group when they play Pakistan in their third match here on Thursday evening.

Already three points clear in their pool, they will know that at least one of their rivals for a semi-final spot must drop points since India play Spain later on Thursday evening.

Pakistan handed out an 8-2 mauling of Britain at the 2000 Sydney Olympics but a lot has changed since then. England have learnt how to play against the former Asian giants, India and Pakistan.

Britain, with a virtually English side, beat Pakistan 4-2 at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and England have come on since then.

There were two narrow defeats for England against Pakistan at Cannock last year (2-1 and 3-2) but England, preparing to peak for the European Cup, did not break from training for those games.

Here Pakistan, having lost 4-1 to India and came back to beat Spain 2-1 on Tuesday. They played four forwards instead of the usual five and also showed greater discipline in defence.

Yet England should enjoy more space than they get against non-Asian sides. They certainly benefited from that in their 6-4 win over South Africa when the Springboks opted for an open attacking game.

England's lively attack forced five corners. Even though they scored from two of them, coach Jason Lee complained that the corner drills were sloppy. He is a perfectionist.

Pakistan, have a very promising forward in Abdul Haseem Khan and will seek corners too. They have the renowned Sohail Abbas in their ranks.

Corners played a crucial role for the fancied teams group A on Wednesday. Germany scored from three in succession in a 6-0 win over Canada. England won't get any such one-sided games in their group.

Korea were a goal down to their bogey side Argentina but won 2-1 with a last-minute corner conversion after being awarded the corner on video referral.

Holland, the third fancied team in group A, were behind in 30 seconds to New Zealand but Taeke Taekama put them ahead from their first corner – his 200th international goal – and they went on to win 3-1.

The Telegraph



Pakistan face England in crucial showdown

NEW DELHI: Pakistan are back in contention for a semi-final slot after their hard-fought win against Spain, but they have their task cut out as they take on European champions England in a Pool B encounter of the Hockey World Cup on Thursday.

Pakistan left behind the disappointment of a 1-4 loss to India on Sunday to regroup and carve out a 2-1 win over Spain with a determined effort that also saw the sub-continental side cutting down on their traditional flair at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

Pakistan were well served by their forward Shakeel Abbasi whose searing runs down the right flank helped split open the Spanish defence and the team management would be hoping for a repeat performance from the 26-year-old against England who lead the six-team Pool B with six points after winning both their opening games.

After two games, Pakistan are on three points, same as India, Spain and Australia, and the two semi-final berths from the pool are up for grabs.

The Pakistan midfield led by Waseem Ahmed also put up a good show in blunting the Spanish attacks besides keeping the feederline active for the forwards and it would be interesting to see the strategy of England coach Jason Lee to contain them.

Sesasoned striker Rehan Butt is another player who came into his own against Spain after being bottled up by the Indians, but he will have his hands full against the solid England defence.

The two sides met in the classification match of the 2006 World Cup in the German city of Monchengladbach, with England finishing fifth following a 1-0 win.

Head-to-head, England have won three of the seven World Cup games against Pakistan and lost two.

England have had a fairy-tale start to their campaign shocking pre-tournament favourites Australia 3-2 in their opener, before prevailing over South Africa 6-4 Tuesday in the competition's 500th outing.

But as England captain Barry Middleton admitted, his side's performance against South Africa was far less convincing than their first match against Australia.

Australia have what seems to be a relatively easy game against South Africa, arguably the most inexperienced team in the pool, but they need to guard against complancency.

Only the third side from the African continent to play the big event after Kenya and Ghana, the South Africans have lost both their games, though they did throw some challenge against both Spain and England.

The Kookaburras badly mauled India 5-2 to signal they were back in their element after the upset against England and their speed and verve could prove too good for their rivals Thursday.

The Times of India



Buoyant England meet Pak

Devadyuti Das


New Delhi, March 3: Pakistan’s 2-1 victory over Olympic silver medallists Spain has spiced up the race for the semi-finals of the 12th Hockey World Cup in Pool ‘B’. With four teams tied on three points each, every single match from here on in becomes critical to progress in the tournament.

Pakistan now face a buoyant England side, who are sitting pretty on the top of the points table with impressive wins over Australia and South Africa, on Thursday at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

The four-time world champions gave a good account of themselves in their second match here, clinically curtailing the fast-paced Spanish team to come out on top. The Pakistanis decided that defence was the best form of attack on Tuesday night, preferring to play the waiting game.

England have shown the ability to produce plenty of goals and they are the one side that have looked completely at ease in conversion of short-corners. It was James Tindall who tormented Australia on Sunday while Richard Mantell found the back of the net in both his tries at the penalty-corner against South Africa.

The 2009 EuroHockey Nations Champion believe a win over Pakistan will be a big step towards a semis berth.

“We are on the right track after two wins here. We have a tough game up next against Pakistan but we are confident of our chances,” England skipper Barry Middleton said after their 6-4 win over South Africa on Tuesday.

“We can’t say we are favourites for the trophy just yet but I wouldn’t call ourselves the underdogs either,” he added.

One thing on Pakistan’s side is be the Delhi crowd, who cheered them on vociferously against Spain. “After a long time, we found some crowd support in India. It was a great feeling and we felt as if we are playing in Lahore or Karachi,” Pakistan’s star dragflicker Sohail Abbas said on Tuesday.

“The pool has opened up now and after Australia’s loss to England in the first game, it seems that every team has a chance of making the semis. We are not looking too far ahead but going to take it one step at a time,” he said.

Pakistan showed on Tuesday that they had a few tricks up the sleeve when it came to drag-flicks.

While everyone expected Pakistan’s highest goal-scorer Abbas to go for goal after the team earned their first penalty-corner against Spain, the team opted to go for an indirect strike.

“With Sohail there everyone expects a direct hit, but we have been working on a few variations. You’ll see all of them in the course of the tournament,” Pakistan coach Shahid Ali Khan said.

Apart from Tindall and Mantell, Pakistan will be wary of 2009 FIH Young Player of the Year Ashley Jackson, who has given a good account of himself throughout the tournament.

Meanwhile, in the other match of the day world number two side Australia will look to continue their fine form against South Africa, who have lost both their matches here so far. The The Kookaburras put the reverse against England behind them by walloping India 5-2 on Tuesday.

“This is probably one of the most competitive World Cup yet. Both pools are very tough with most of the world’s top 12 nations seen in action here. Even if you drop points it is not the end of the world for a team because any side is capable of posting a win,” Aussie skipper Mark Knowles said.

The Asian Age



Pakistan eye England scalp in crucial clash

Coach says his team will play attacking game against the dangerous English today

 

By Khalid Hussain

KARACHI: With two impressive victories in a row including one against top title contenders Australia, England have emerged as one of the most destructively attacking sides of the 2010 Hockey World Cup.

But Pakistan will go all out on Thursday (today) to beat the English at their own game in a bid to stay alive in the race for the semifinals.

“England are a very attacking side, something they’ve proved in the matches against Australia and South Africa,” Shahid Ali Khan, the Pakistan coach, told ‘The News’ in an interview from New Delhi on Wednesday.

“They attack in waves and also have two very good short corner specialists. They’ve won two high-scoring matches and seem to be in good form. But I’m confident that we can beat them (England) at their own game,” stressed Shahid whose team bounced back with a 2-1 triumph against Spain on Tuesday after suffering from a morale-shattering 1-4 defeat against old rivals India last Sunday.

In spite of the much-needed win against Spain, Pakistan are trailing at the fifth spot in Pool B behind England, Australia, Spain and India and need to win today’s encounter to remain in the hunt for a record fifth world title.

“Once again it’s a must-win game for us,” said Shahid, a former Olympian. “But the pressure has been released with a win against Spain and our confidence is back.”

When Pakistan last faced England, they beat them 2-0 in a Test series in England last summer and Shahid believes that his boys can do it again.

“We have beaten England in a Test series last year. It’s the same England team which is why I’m confident that we can beat them again.”

Pakistan spent a couple of hours watching footage of England matches and their coach is fully aware that a rampaging English attack will be tough to contain.

“There is no doubt that our defence will be under extra pressure tomorrow,” he said. “We will also need a lot of improvement in the midfield,” added the coach who is hoping that playmaker Waseem Ahmed will regain his lost form against England.

“Waseem is our key player but unfortunately he has been out of form. But he is very experienced and we are hoping that he will regain his form and strengthen our midfield.

Another cause for concern for the Pakistani management is that their main strikers Rehan Butt and Shakeel Abbasi have been unable to make their presence felt in the first two matches.

“To continue winning the coming matches we will need all out players to play their role, especially the senior ones,” said Shahid.

“So far, our forwards have been unable to play their best game but I’m sure that players like Butt and Abbasi will click soon.”

The coach is hoping that his boys will stick to the game plan like the way they did against Spain. “We decided to cramp the midfield against Spain and it worked. Against England, we will devise a game plan and I hope that the boys with stick to it.”

Today’s matches

Australia vs South Africa 16:05 (PST)

Pakistan vs England 18:05 (PST)

India vs Spain 20:05 (PST)

The News International

 



India has to forget defeat, look ahead

Spain is also in the same boat with three points


S. Thyagarajan


— PHOTO:AFP

RARE MOMENT:This was one of the few happy moments Indian players had in the match against Australia on Tuesday.


New Delhi: India was outplayed. It was clear as crystal. The margin confirms it. After that exotic start on Sunday against Pakistan, the home team experienced the stress and strain of matching the Aussie expertise suffused in speed, skill and system.

The 2-5 reverse mirrored why the Aussies still are the favourites for the title in this Hero Honda hockey World Cup. This is even after the shocking defeat by England in the opener.

Coach Jose Brasa is pragmatic. He acknowledged the team was outpaced by the perfection of the Aussies in orchestrating a high degree of controlled pace at will.

The usual pattern of launching a blitz in the first 10 minutes invariably pays off for the Australians. It succeeded to a nicety on Tuesday.

The defeat need not dishearten India. The few spells when the home team dominated indicated that the new tapestry is gaining a systematisation if not perfection.

The deep defence, despite the good work by Gurbaj, was overwhelmed by sheer pace. Mahadik strove manfully but Sandeep Singh looked a babe in the woods.

Halappa shines

Halappa caught the eye in the midfield but more effective work came from Sardar Singh with support from Bharat Chikara.

Minus the sparkling runs by Rajpal and a few sallies by Prabhjot, the frontline work was weak, inconsistent and unimaginative.

True, it missed the proficiency of Shivendra Singh, going through a two match ban. But Deepak Thakur was innocuous in both the games.

And that left the attack incomplete and fragile.

With a win and defeat, India meets Spain on Thursday.

Spain is also in the same boat with three points after winning the first against South Africa and going down to Pakistan on Tuesday. In both matches, Spain's performance was uncharacteristic. That's surprising for a team with such high credentials in recent years.

The team is weakened by the absence of its all rounder Santi Friexa, nursing a serious knee injury for months now.

Pol Amat and Eduard Tabau along with Xaviar Ribas, have not found their wonted form.

This is what makes coach Brasa believe the Spaniards cannot be equated with the Aussies.

Such optimism is welcome, perhaps inevitable, in restoring the morale of the team suffering from the blues after the thrashing by Australia.

Brasa may be familiar with the rival team's strengths and frailties being a Spaniard himself. That is one positive factor.

Outright win

If India is to stay in contention for a semifinal berth, an outright win is mandatory. And that makes the contest a key one in every sense.

For the record it must be noted that India has 23 victories against 17 defeats and nine draws against Spain from the 49 matches played so far.

In the World Cup the teams share two victories each of the four played.

Forget the defeat and forge ahead. The inherent strength of this squad is good enough for that.

The Hindu



India ready to stick it out

Harpreet Kaur Lamba


New Delhi, March 3: India’s campaign at the Hockey World Cup has been a roller coaster ride so far.

Jose Brasa and his boys left Pakistan battered and bruised, showing promise and purpose in the opening game. A day later, the Australians brought them back to earth down with a 2-5 rout.

It was a reality check for the home team, who next face Beijing Olympic silver medallists Spain.

Clearly, one more tumble and India could well see their World Cup hopes evaporating. The team will have to regroup quickly and shed the disappointment of Tuesday’s loss to avert further damage.

India are in Pool B — England, Australia, Spain, Pakistan and South Africa being the other sides — and the race for the top two spots is wide open.

England are on top of the table with six points, having beaten favourites Australia, who along with India, Pakistan and Spain have three points each (a win and a loss) — and cannot afford to let go the momentum.

In the chasing pack, Australia lead on goal difference and going by what the team put on display on Monday, will be a tough nut to crack.

That is likely to leave Spain, Pakistan and India playing the catch up game.

Chief coach Brasa is expected to know the Spaniards like the back of his hand, having trained a few of them.

Said Brasa, “Going by current form, Spain are at par with India. They are without Santi Freixa, one of the best players in the world, and also I think Eduard Tubau has an ankle injury and that will help us.”

Asked about the areas of concern in the Indian camp, Brasa said, “We will look into the footage of yesterday’s match and see where we went wrong and then decide on our plan of action against Spain.

“I am only worried about Shivendra’s absence and the rolling substitution that is affected. Other than that, there are no worries.”

Brasa might have put up a bold front in making that statement, but there is a lot the team will need to iron out against the Spaniards. Ranked World Number 4, Spain play with a lot of flair and individual skill, and will be no pushovers.

The absence of the suspended Shivendra Singh is hurting India, as was evident against Australia.

The forward line was all at sea on Monday night and that is a definite concern. Gurvinder Singh Chandi’s lack of experience in high-pressure games has come to the fore, Deepak Thakur is not hundred percent fit — a fact admitted by Brasa — while Rajpal and Prabhjot have shone only in patches.

The midfield has been the fulcrum in the two games so far. Arjun Halappa, Gurbaj Singh, Tushar Khandker and Sardara Singh have been in ominous touch and that is where India’s hopes are raised.

Spain, on the other hand, look a different team without star striker Freixa, who scored seven goals in 2006 at Monchengladbach, and led the team to the semi-finals almost single-handedly. His expertise at drag-flicks make him an indispensable member, and Spain are struggling on that front.

The focal point this time is skipper and 2008 FIH player of the Year Pol Amat, an extremely talented forward.

Amat has been in the best of form and is imperative to Spain’s plan.

Xavier Ribas and Pau Quemada are strong in setpieces, while the midfield is in safe hands of Xavier Ribas and Rodrigo Garza.

“We know that we have to improve against India. They play a different game, and we have prepared ourselves. Hopefully we can do well,” said skipper Pol Amat.

Spain defeated India convincingly in the two test matches played last year — 8-2 and 5-4 being the victory margin.

The Asian Age



Spain’s open style is to our advantage

Dhanraj Pillai


No doubt, Australia are a great side, who play to their strengths, but there was no reason for India to succumb to the rivals’ game plan and forget their strengths in the bargain.

Getting the first goal was the target, which the Aussies achieved within the third minute. A goal down, India are a different side mentally. They could have played at their pace, but they did not, and there was a lack of understanding between the defence and sweeper-back, defence and forward-line.

Australia, with quick changes, played aggressive hockey, which unnerved the Indian defence. No doubt, the Indians played their heart out but they did not make intelligent moves. They were good in patches, which got us two field goals, but our forwards lacked the confidence to dribble past the defenders in one-on-one situations.

Going by the final score line, one may blame the goalkeeper but Adrian D’Souza did his best to prevent the Aussies from scoring more goals.

India are now in third position in this high-scoring Pool B. They have to pull up their socks to beat an ever-improving Spain. India should play to their potential and penetrate the opponents’ circle more often with through passes or long hits.

Pakistan came in determined to get three points against Spain and there were some good moves from the forward line and a last-minute penalty corner gave them victory. Yet, I am not happy with the way they’re playing. The Indian crowd is looking forward to the magical and skilful hockey that the Pakistanis are known for.

England’s 6-4 victory read like a tennis match score and they deserved the big win. I have seen England play such good, positional hockey, with strategy, after a long time. This team is a strong contender for the semifinals. South Africa also scored four goals but never looked like winning.

The South Africa versus Australia game will be played at a pace that will be set by the latter. After watching their performance against India, Australia seem to have settled down to our conditions and are now favorites for a podium finish. India have to win against Spain and we should not commit the errors we did against Australia. Spain’s style of play is more open and will not have the tight man-to-man marking of the Aussies, which should give our players room to parade their skills. I want the boys to go all out and enjoy their game. Good luck!

Hindustan Times



India must pass Spanish test

Alok Sinha


NEW DELHI: Halfway through the group stages of the tournament, India have walked into a ‘must-win' match. But that's what a World Cup is all about. There are no easy pickings here, no time to catch your breath. It's at your throat all the time, gnawing at you, choking you. The Indians know this well, but given their new-found confidence, they are not losing much sleep over it.

After relishing the mix of the Asian and European hockey - which Pakistan now play - and then learning a lesson in the unique Australian style of robust, ruthless and yet beautiful hockey, India have now run into their first European rival - Spain. They have always struggled against top European teams, so what's in store on Thursday?

It promises to be a tactical battle in the midfield where one shouldn't expect the teams to be too different from each other as the hosts are coached by a Spaniard, Jose Brasa. Is it an easier game for Brasa then? "No match is easy and Spain are a very strong side. But yes, most of these boys in the Spanish team have been trained by me," Brasa said. Beyond the comfort of knowing the strengths of the Spaniards, Brasa would also be relieved by the fact that Spain are playing without two key strikers - Santi Freixa and Eduard Tubau who are injured.

Their absence has surely hurt Spain. They have looked sedate, even subdued here, not the dominating force one saw at the Beijing Olympics where they made the final. But two years is a long time in modern hockey. They have managed to score only five goals in two matches in a group which has opened up several possibilities. And that should give India reasons to hope and plot. "They don't play at the same pace as the Aussies so that's certainly a relief. Then, I'm looking at another positive - India beat Pakistan who beat Spain. So, India will beat Spain," Brasa laughed.

On a more serious note, India have a lot of fine-tuning to do. Their defence was suspect against the marauding Australians. There were trapping errors, mispassing and at times they left huge gaps in their half, which the Aussies exploited. Beyond that, the Indian forwards who have otherwise been impressive, need to look for more field goals than hunt for penalty corners for Sandeep Singh to convert. "This is the individual's choice. The player has to decide in a split second whether he wants to shoot or pass after entering the circle. At times it works, at times it doesn't," explained Harendra Singh, India's second coach.

India's midfielders have looked composed, except for some moments in that maddeningly fast match against the Aussies. As for the main goal-getter Sandeep, he had an off-day against Australia. He is a better defender than what we saw on Tuesday and can be devastating with his drag flicks. Ask Pakistan.

The Indians have recovered from the loss of suspended forward Shivendra Singh and are looking ahead. "It'as a new game. We are ready," said Harendra.

The Times of India



After reality check, Spanish flair awaits India in World Cup

NEW DELHI: Bruised and battered by Australia, India will have to regroup their forces when they take on Spain in a crucial Pool B encounter of the hockey World Cup on Thursday.

After drubbing Pakistan 4-1 in their tournament opener, the Indians were given a reality check by Australia.

The hosts were surprised by the pace and verve of the Kookaburras, who completely outplayed them in all departments of the game in their 5-2 win last night.

Jose Brasa's men were taught a good hockey lesson by Australia and showed that only control over the mid-field was not enough to win a game.

If pace and fitness was all about Australia, world number three Spain is known for its flair and one-touch hockey and the Indian defence cannot afford to relax at any moment and repeat the mistakes they committed against Australia.

A defeat on Thursday will severely dent India's semi-final chances.

Against the Australians, the Indian defence wore a sorry look from the onset, conceding two goals within the first 10 minutes. Sandeep Singh-led backline had no answers to the speed and angular passes of the Australians.

Such was the Aussie domination that even India coach Brasa admitted his players were not used to such fast nature of hockey.

"We did not play bad, we played at our level much better than what we had in Salta. But Australia played at a different level of fast-paced hockey. We were not used to that kind of fast hockey," Brasa said.

The Indian forwardline, which missed the banned Shivendra Singh, completely looked off-colour with Prabhjot Singh and Deepak Thakur doing very little to prove their presence in the game.

But with the two-match suspension ruling Shivendra out of the next match, the trio of Deepak, Prabhjot and captain Rajpal Singh will have to rise to the occasion and come out with more innovative ideas to beat the Spanish defence.

"Playing without Shivendra and with just 15 players is our main concern," Brasa said.

Sandeep had a bad day in office against Australia as he could not convert even a single penalty corner out of three that India earned, and the ace drag-flicker will have to pull up his socks against Spain as short corners are one of the strong points of the home team.

"We were not lucky with penalty corners against Australia. We didn't succeed and that was the reason we couldn't get closer," Brasa said.

The Indians will also have to do away with their perennial habit of holding on to the ball for longer, a mistake which proved costly against Australia.

But notwithstanding all the flaws, Brasa will draw heart from the fact that the Indian mid-field sparkled yet again. Arjun Halappa and Sardar Singh were as cool as cucumber even under tremendous pressure.

But what they lacked is support from the forwardline and they will be eagerly looking forward to the strikers to deliver the goods against the Spaniards and see that their hardwork does not go waste.

Another and most important heartening factor for the eight-time Olympics champions ahead of the Thursday's game is the presence of Brasa up their ranks as he knows more than enough about the Spaniards.

"Spain are a good team but of our level. I say this because they don't have two key players in their side - Santi Freixa and Eduard Tabau.

"I had trained them for many years. Freixa is not with the current squad due to injury. He is one of the best players in the world. Tubau is injured (in the first match here). Without the two I think we can beat Spain," he said.

"I don't think they can beat us easily. They are not of Aussie level. I hope my knowledge of the Spanish team will help us. We are in a better position than Spain," he added.

However, he said that in Pol Amat, Spain has got one of the best strikers of the world and his defenders will have against the Spanish captain.

"Pol Amat is a quality player. We will have to mark him closely," the Indian coach said.

Meanwhile in other matches of Pool B on Thursday, Australia will look to consolidate their position in the points table when they take on a lowly South Africa, while Pakistan will look to play out of their skin to keep their winning momentum intact against an unbeaten England.

The Times of India



India bank on Brasa's insight

Uthra G Chaturvedi


As a Spaniard, Jose Brasa knows quite a few things about his national team. On Thursday, the Indian chief coach will have to put every bit of that inside information to use against the world’s number three side if the hosts intend to keep their semi-final hopes alive.

India’s first two games in the World Cup so far have been a study in contrast, as much for their style of play and the results as for the opposition they were up against. The Pakistan team were slow, they played an Asian style of hockey and were weak in defence, relying more on individual flair rather than team co-ordination.

Tight marking kept their playmakers in check, and that helped India. Australia, on the other hand, were super-fit, played as a unit, outpaced India and had the edge in the first 10 minutes with two quick goals that the Indians could not recover from. Their fitness and speed ensured they could defend as well as the Europeans while playing attacking hockey like the Asians.

In their third outing against Spain, India will again have a completely different set of challenges on hand. The Spaniards are not known for being too flashy or adventurous. They prefer playing a more defensive game, relying more on counterattacks and a lot of aerial passes. At the same time, they also rely more on individual excellence. Their three main defenders — Sergi Enrique, Ramon Alegre and Xavier Ribas — have more than 100 international caps each against their name, while Alex Fabregas and Albert Sala in the midfield are nearing 200. With Pau Quemada’s emergence, they now have an expert drag-flicker as well, which makes their counters even more dangerous.

On the flip side, the Spanish team have a lot of youngsters this time around. The Olympic silver medallists have also been patchy in the tournament so far. While Pakistan easily got past them on Tuesday, South Africa stretched them to the limit and it was only two goals in as many minutes that put Spain on their way. In fact, Spain’s strengths this time around have been their captain Pol Amat and David Alegre up front, while Francisco Cortes has been impressive under the bar. Though Eduard Tubau completes the attacking threesome, he may opt out of the crucial tie due to personal issues. If the Indian defence is able to keep Amat and Alegre quiet, half the work will be done.

India will be looking to step on the pedal from the word go. It is a known fact that if India are first off the blocks, they end up with a positive result. The Spain tie will not only be an opportunity for them to recover from their loss to Australia but also strengthen their chances of reaching the semi-finals for the first time since 1975, the year they won the title.

PR Sreejesh is likely to return for the game, in tune with Brasa’s preference to test both goalkeepers equally, despite Adrian D’Souza being impressive against Australia. Shivendra Singh will again be out of action.

If Deepak Thakur is able to come up with his best, it would help the Indian attack significantly. The midfield has been India’s strength so far and the team would hope they continue to hold fort.

India have 23 victories, 17 defeats and nine draws against Spain from the 49 matches played so far. In the World Cup, the teams share two victories each of the four games played.

After the Australia loss, Brasa had commented: “We beat Pakistan convincingly and they beat Spain, so that equals we can beat Spain.” Ric Charlesworth knew the Indian players and made full use of that knowledge. It’s time for Brasa to repeat the task.

Indian Express



India looking for gain vs Spain

After setback, hosts hope for turnaround

JAYDEEP BASU


New Delhi: Their bubble having been burst by Australia, India face a must-win situation for Thursday’s meeting against Spain in the hockey World Cup.

The 2-5 loss to the superbly fit and speedy Australians at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium has jeopardised India’s chances for a last-four berth as they now find themselves reduced to fourth in Pool B, behind group leaders England (six points), Australia and Spain (three each). India, too, have three points from their spectacular win against Pakistan but are behind on goal difference.

Despite the setback, chief coach Jose Brasa, who is Spanish himself, remains hopeful about grabbing three points on Thursday. “We are not too bothered about Spain. Let them think about us.” he said.

Spain are the Beijing Olympics silver medallists and strong pre-tournament contenders for a berth in the last-four but their defeat against Pakistan has given hope to the Indians. So much so that veteran midfielder Prabhjot Singh believes India have the strength to get the better of the Spaniards.

“If we can play the kind of hockey we played against Pakistan, then there is no reason to worry,” said Prabhjot. “After all, we have a good track record against Spain.”

India have always done well against Spain although they have not beaten them in recent years. The Spaniards have made rapid progress since 2002 when famous Dutch trainer Maurits Hendriks took over as their national coach. Under Hendriks Spain won the 2003 Champions Challenge, the 2004 Champions Trophy and the 2005 European Nations’ Cup.

Present coach Dani Martin is hopeful that his team would be able to outplay the Indians. “They have the advantage of playing at home but we are aware of the situation. The mistakes we committed against Pakistan won’t be repeated,” he said.

Whatever the mood in the Spanish camp, Brasa remains unperturbed. “Spain are a good team but they don’t have two key players in their side, Santi Freixa and Eduard Tabau.”

“I know the Spanish players,” Brasa said. “I have trained them for many years. Freixa is not with the current squad due to injury. He is one of the best players in the world. Tabau got injured in the first match. My knowledge of the Spanish team will help India. I am sure we can beat them,” he said.

But then, more than Spain, it is their own game that India need to worry about. Against Australia, the Indian defence looked pathetic and was completely demolished in the first half-an-hour. Even the midfield and the frontline, sans Shivendra Singh, were not at their best.

Brasa has been talking about a mixture of the Indian and European styles but against Australia his game plan was all in a shambles.

Thankfully, Spain do not operate at the same pace as the Australians. “The Australians are in a completely different league, we are yet not ready to play top teams like Australia. Spain also are a fit team but I am sure the boys can match them in speed,” Brasa said.

Thursday's matches

Pool B: South Africa vs Australia (4.35pm), England vs Pakistan (6.35pm), Spain vs India (8.35pm).

The Telegraph, India



Can India reign over Spain?

C Rajshekhar Rao


New Delhi: Expectations went up soaring with India’s handsome win over Pakistan and came crashing down with the gloomy loss to Australia in their second match. After the two-match stage, the optimists will have you believe that the hosts are set to make this a memorable World Cup, while the pessimists will try to convince you that disaster is just round the corner.

But seeing things in perspective and also noting the fact that the permutations are many in pool B of the FIH Hero Honda World Cup after England’s early surprise victory over formidable Australia, India have a fair chance of remaining in contention for the semifinals towards the end of the league, which will not be bad for a team that went into the championship not knowing what to expect and with a world ranking of 12.

But of course, they should be looking to gain full points against Spain, who were unimpressive against Pakistan on Wednesday. “We played at a pace we wanted against Australia. Though we could not match them, we can surely match Spain’s pace,” said India’s coach Jose Brasa, who is also a Spaniard.

One had not envisaged that England would be the group leaders after two rounds, but that is how things have panned out here. For India, the match against Spain on Thursday will be crucial as they are now tied on points with that team as well as Pakistan and Australia.

With the teams just settling down in the tournament, the failings have been highlighted in at least one match for each team. Australia were left frustrated after failing to get early goals against England, Pakistan were shocked with some different strategies from India, while Spain could not cut through a re-worked Pakistani defence.

Though Australia’s 5-2 victory over India has shown the Champions Trophy winners’ true capability, England are the only side to have kept up the intensity in two consecutive matches. They too were a touch lacklustre in one phase of their match against South Africa, but in the end, the win has done a lot to their chances. What it means is that England are the team to beat for teams like India and Spain.

Australian coach Ric Charlesworth, who kept a keen eye on India’s match against Pakistan, gave fair credit to the team despite the loss to Australia.

“India have some good quality players. I was not surprised that India beat Pakistan in such a convincing fashion. The issue for them will be consistency,” said Charlesworth, whose consultancy with India ended on a bitter note last year.

Though players like Arjun Halappa (midfield), Dhananjay Mahadik (defence) and Sandeep Singh (drag-flicks) have performed crucial duties, the team will have to play a tight game against Spain, who have been more used to performing well on the big stage in recent years and are ranked just one rung below Australia at third.

Captain Pablo Amat, FIH’s 2008 Player of the Year, heads one of the more potent attack-lines and Spain’s record speaks for them.

They won the Champions Trophy in 2004, the European Championships in 2005, the bronze medal at the World Cup in 2006, and the silver at the Beijing Olympic Games. However, they are missing their last edition’s top-scorer Santi Freixa, who is out due to a knee injury.

India have lost the habit of doing well at the world level for a number of years now and the coming days might just be the best opportunity for a long time to come.

DNA



India should play an extra forward today: V Baskaran

D Ram Raj


Mumbai, New Delhi: It was action-packed hockey from Australia and their 2-3 loss to England, against whom they have never lost, made them a little more aggressive. The Aussies launched a blitzkrieg with five forwards and two midfielders and the first 10 minutes of the game left India in a pretty bad shape.

The Australians kept up the pace right through 70 minutes without being bothered about conceding goals. It was as if India had entered a forest with wounded tigers.

As I had said, the first 10 minutes made a lot of difference. Australia scored twice in the first five minutes even before the lethargic Indians could settle into any rhythm. India perhaps made the mistake of being too defensive.

Though India tried to come back, they didn’t launch too many attacks. India were too dependent on the right flank and even the first goal scored by Vikram Pillay came off a move from the right. They should have tried to attack from the middle, but the Australians were well up to the task. Theydidn’t allow India any free zone.

India could have prevented at least three goals which Australia scored from half chances. The Australians were fitter and hungrier. Even Germany and the Netherlands would have met with similar fate on Tuesday.

The India-Spain match is crucial for both teams. India shouldn’t lose heart. The Indians didn’t play badly. Against Spain, it is going to be a new ball game. The teams are similar in their approach — cautious and defensive. If I were the coach, I would play a fourth forward. Jose Brasa’s knowledge of Spain’s strengths and weaknesses should come handy for us.

The team should try out variations and not keep all secrets bottled up till the last. They should unleash some surprises on Spain.

India need full points from Spain game. It is easier said than done, but the Indians surely need to ensure that they don’t concede early goals.

As told to D Ram Raj

DNA



Tactically speaking: India vs Spain

Spain's 8-2 mauling of India during their tour of Europe last year will definitely rankle as the hosts get set for a group B league match against Pol Amat's men on Thursday.

Spain's line-up is pretty much unchanged but their accent on quick goals followed by a game of possessional hockey in the midfield has often rattled their opponents no end. Will India's riposte be apt?

* India's strengths: The midfield
* Area of improvement: Variety in attack

* Spain's strength: The midfield, depth in penalty corner
* What Spain lack: Ace forward and dragflicker Santi Freixa

* Spain (rank 3) vs India (12): WC Head-to-Head

* Played 4: India won 2, Spain won 2
* Last encounter: In 2002, India won 3-0
* Spain's last WC win over India came 24 year ago in 1986 (2-1)
* Since last WC encounter in 2002, the two teams have met thrice with Spain winning all three ties

Key Facts

* Break-up of Spain's 5 goals: 3 FG, 2 PC
* Break-up of India's six goals: 3 FG, 3 PC
* Spain's PC success rate: 50% (2/4)
* India's PC success rate: 42% (3/7)

The Times of India



India will miss Shivendra against Spain: Charlesworth

NEW DELHI: India would badly miss Shivendra Singh against Spain on Thursday but in a big tournament like the World Cup, the team should have prepared a good replacement for such eventualities, feels Australia coach Ric Charlesworth.

"Shivendra is a very important player for India. He is a very good player and will be missed by India. But every team must have cover for a particular player," Charlesworth said.

Shivendra missed the last match against Australia, in which Charlesworth's boys humiliated the hosts 2-5 yesterday and will also be out of the Spain encounter as he is serving a two-match ban for hitting a Pakistani player during the team's opening game on Sunday.

The legendary Australian said the Indians are skillful but lack consistency.

"I have no doubt about the skills of Indian players but what is more important is be consistent. Consistency is a big issue with them," Charlesworth said.

He also felt that the 12th edition of the mega-event will be tough for all teams.

"We love to play India at any time but this tournament is the most competitive World Cup in my view. Both the pools are very difficult," Charlesworth said.

"But if you drop points, it is not the end of the world," Charlesworth said.

He said India and Australia must play hockey on more often.

"I want India and Australia to play more. We will try to get more matches against the Indians in future. We tried for the last 14 months to arrange matches between the two teams but couldn't succeed," Charlesworth said.

Charlesworth also feels that Pakistan's 2-1 win over Spain yesterday opened up Pool B as three teams - India, Pakistan and Australia - are tied at three points each while England was the only team to register two wins out of as many matches.

"I am very happy that Pakistan has won against Spain. It opens up the tournament," he said.

The Times of India



Going will get tougher for India in hockey World Cup

NEW DELHI: It was not surprising that India stood exposed during their 2-5 rout against Australia in the men's Hockey World Cup on Tuesday night.

The lack of exposure against the top teams in the past year highlighted many inherent weaknesses in the Indian team that were covered up by their 4-1 success against a mediocre Pakistan on the opening night.

Expectedly, the Indians were cramped for want of space due to some close marking by the Aussies who then used their superior fitness to set a scorching pace and maintained it through the 70 minutes to overrun their opponents.

Tuesday night, the Indians did not do anything different from the Pakistan game. It was attack from the start and they tried to keep pace with the Aussies. It was not long before they ran out of steam. Two goals down by the seventh minute proved knockout punches. Despite the fight Indians put up to score twice, the damage was irreparable.

In the past, rarely have Indian teams shown the special ability to raise their game. One can think of the 4-1 drubbing they handed out to the Netherlands in the 1996 Olympic qualifier in Barcelona. The Dutch went on to win the gold medal at the Atlanta Games a few months later!

That has been one of the standout performances by an Indian team, apart from their showing in the 2003 Champions Trophy in Amstelveen when they led 3-0 with seven minutes left only to lose 3-4 to the Dutch in a rip-roaring game that ended in controversy.

Apart from the two instances, Indian teams have always struggled against opponents who used pace and first-time passes like the Aussies did Tuesday night. Part of India's problems lie in slow recovery and mobility, especially in the defence where players tend to remain static while ball watching rather than covering their rivals.

The Australians thrive on a solid start, and conceding an early goal to them is inviting disaster. Once they get into the flow, the Aussies can overrun any team. Indians would be better off watching the tapes of 2002 and 2006 World Cup finals where Germany out-thought Australia who until then had looked the best team in the tournament.

The German ploy of keeping possession and stifling the Aussies in the midfield fetched them the desired results, especially in 2002 when barely 48 hours earlier Australia had flattened the Dutch 4-1 in one of the most spectacular displays of attacking hockey ever seen in the World Cup.

But then, it is far too much to expect Indians to keep possession through clever ball rotation for long periods as their attacking instincts eventually take over. Back in 1994, coach Cedric D'Souza drilled it into the players to keep possession on the simple theory that the opponent can only score if he has the ball. The team finished a creditable fifth.

Old habits die hard -- or in the case of Indian hockey, they never do. Tactics and strategies require a high level of thinking besides patience and discipline to execute. A succession of coaches have tried and failed in the past. It remains to be seen whether Jose Brasa would be any more effective in implementing his ideas.

There is still far too much of individualism in the national team. Such skills more often than win applause but not the match, as was the case in the 1986 World Cup where Mohd Shahid, India's latter-day Dhyan Chand, was rendered ineffective as he was repeatedly boxed in by a ring of defenders who let him showcase his stick-work but denied movement.

At the moment, all is not lost for India, but the going will get tougher against opponents who would have settled down and revised their targets based on the results. The onus will be on India to up the ante and level of play. If the time has come to deliver, then this is it. There is no place to hide.

The Times of India



India not good enough for semi-final: German captain

NEW DELHI: Going by current form, India is not in contention for a semi-final berth in the ongoing hockey World Cup and they would have to take their game altogether to a different level to reach the last four stage, according to Germany captain Maximillian Muller.

After blanking Canada 6-0 today, Muller picked three teams -- other than his own -- which looked good for the semi-finals.

"I think England, Australia and the Netherlands are the favourites," said Muller.

"There are still chances for India but they have to win against strong teams in their pool. They have to improve their performance in the remaining matches," he explained.

German coach Markus Weise said India's next match against Spain on Thursday would decide the home team's fate in the tournament.

"I have only seen India play on television and whatever I saw, I think India is doing good. But their match against Spain will be crucial," Weise said.

Muller, meanwhile, dismissed suggestions that Pool B -- featuring India, Pakistan, Australia, Spain, South Africa and England -- is tougher than the Pool A.

"I don't think our pool is lighter. Our pool is different that the other one. Pool B consists of teams of similar power. Pool B is open because of the results of England-Australia and Pakistan-Spain matches," Muller said.

Muller also expressed satisfaction with his side's performance today and said from here on, every game is a challenge for them.

"It is a very good win for us after the draw against Korea. We needed the three points. We controlled the game for 70 per cent and that was our game plan.

"We have a quite young team but we have the potential. If we can perform like today and improve upon our performance in every match, we might reach the finals and who knows we can win the title also," he added.

The Times of India



Sehwag wishes good luck to Indian hockey team

NEW DELHI: Recuperating from a sore back, Virender Sehwag has been spending the time away from cricket to root for the Indian hockey team in the World Cup and the dashing opener wished good luck to Rajpal Singh and his men for a successful campaign.

The Indian hockey team started with a bang, winning 4-1 against arch-rivals Pakistan on Sunday but succumbed to a 2-5 loss against Australia in their second match last night.

"I have watched all the matches of the Indian team and I wish them all the best for the rest of their campaign in the World Cup," Sehwag said on the sidelines of an event to promote luxury spa 'Asian Roots' in the capital.

Sehwag said he will travel to Bangalore for treatment on Wednesday.

"I hope to get well soon. I am going to Bangalore today for treatment and will stay there for some days. I am looking forward to the forthcoming tournaments and hope to give my best," he said.

"I always give my best and I will look to do the same in the coming tournaments and be successful in all the three formats of the game.

"If I am successful I would be happy but even if I fail, I will know deep inside heart that I have given my 100 per cent," he said.

Clad in jeans and t-shirt, Sehwag, who recently underwent hair transplantation, said he was very happy with the treatment as it made him look younger and hoped that more companies will approach him now for endorsements.

The Times of India



'India's revival important for hockey'

NEW DELHI: He avoids talking in length about his brush with Indian sports authorities when he was the technical advisor for the national hockey teams less than two years back. If asked, Australian coach Ric Charlesworth would say only this much: "I was disappointed."

Charlesworth, who had been roped in to help India revive its glory in the game, was literally forced to quit his posts just 10 months into his job. The reasons: he was unhappy over payment of his dues and also the way the game was being run in the country.

Now back in India on a different mission, as the coach of the Australian team for the World Cup, Charlesworth said he was happy to be back in the country. "I love India and love to come back here. What happened in the past was disappointing, I am doing something else now. But playing hockey in India is one of the best things in my life."

Referring to India's style of play in the World Cup, Charlesworth said he could clearly see Spaniard Jose Brasa's effect on it. "I wasn't here for long enough to have a effect on the team. But I think Jose has a good effect. India is playing more or less the way the Europeans used to play."

India's European style certainly makes Charlesworth's team unique in a way. "If you look at the teams in the competition, almost all are playing the same way. That makes us a bit different as we have our own brand of hockey. It's risky but my belief is that you have to risk losing to win. We can always go for a cautious approach, but then that's not our style."

The Australian also said the Indians players have become more organised and fitter under Brasa. "They are now also sharing the load in the park. All the players are interchanging and that's a smart thing to do. The way they are playing, India have the capacity to beat any team here."

The 58-year-old said there was a need for teams like India and Australia to play each other more in the larger interest of the game. He also said hockey must be revived in the country as Indian presence is critical for the game's future. "That's why I was here (in his bid to do his bit for the game)."

The Times of India



FIH not biased against Asian players: Negre

NEW DELHI: International Hockey Federation president Leandro Negre on Wednesday dismissed allegations that the two-match suspension of Indian striker Shivendra Singh for injuring a Pakistani player in the ongoing World Cup was a reflection of FIH's bias against the Asian players.

Negre said tournament director Ken Read was within his power to review the video footage of Shivendra lifting his stick and injuring Fareed Ahmed without the notice of umpires and complaint by Pakistan as it can be done under FIH rules if a player is injured.

"We follow a fair and open procedure without any bias. We follow the rules and guidelines. It is very clear from FIH rules that if a player is injured, the tournament director will have to review it without any complaint from anybody," Negre said.

"Hockey is a fast paced game. The umpires may not notice certain things and Pakistan may not have complained. But if any player is injured we have to review and find out what had happened," he said.

"Personally I feel that the incident was not intentional and accordingly the decision was handed," he added.

Negre said that nobody should doubt the fairness of FIH. "It is important to have fair decisions and at the same time we should also have faith and confidence in the technical officials. Officials of different countries work together and take decisions in FIH," said the Spaniard.

The Times of India



Newly-laid pitch remains a cause for concern

It is not a superfast pitch: Weise

The pitch is wobbly: Charlesworth


Y.B. Sarangi


NEW DELHI: The newly-laid pitch at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium, the venue of the ongoing hockey World Cup, remains a cause for concern for the teams even on the fourth day of the competition.

The pitch is yet to settle down causing the ball to jump unexpectedly at times.

“I am not happy with the new pitches. Not particularly about this one but also the one used in Beijing (Olympics),” German coach Markus Weise said on Wednesday.

Unforced errors

“It is not a superfast pitch, it is a little bit wobbly. You can see turnovers and unforced errors. When you expect the ball to come to you rolling it jumps a little bit and then it is gone,” Weise said.

Australian coach Ric Charlesworth had also spoken his mind about the unevenness of the turf.

“The pitch is wobbly. It becomes a bit problematic to take penalty corners on such a surface. We missed penalty corners in the last match and we missed today (on Tuesday). Other teams are also facing a similar problem,” Charlesworth had said.

Dutch penalty corner exponent Taeke Takema had similar views too.

“There were some troubles during the warm-up games,” he said. He said it was difficult to latch on to the ball and get into the rhythm as well.

According to Gregg Clark, the South African coach, the players are making some of the errors because of the turf.

Yet to settle

“It is a nice surface, it is spongy in nature. But it has not settled down. That is why the players are making some mistakes,” he said.

The remodelling of the stadium, also a venue for the coming Commonwealth Games, had started very late. However, the speedy work in the latter part of last year had helped the cause.

Though the venue was inaugurated by Union Sports Minister M.S. Gill on January 24, a lot of work had been going on till the last minute to make it ready for the World Cup.

It had forced the showpiece event to be held without a test event being conducted on the new pitch.

The Hindu



Players unhappy with the new turf

OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


New Delhi: Their 6-0 victory over Canada notwithstanding, German coach Markus Weise is not too happy with the newly-laid pitch at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium, the venue for the World Cup.

The stadium, formerly known as the Imperial Amphitheatre and then as the National Stadium, has been redesigned for the World Cup and is also a venue for the Commonwealth Games later this year.

“It was definitely a smooth and satisfying win but I am not too happy with the way the pitch has been behaving during the course of play,” said the German coach as his side look to become the only side to win three back to back world titles.

“The new turfs have some problem, not only in India but all over the world,” said Weise.

“The pitch is bouncy and the ball is difficult to control. Playing a match on this turf is not the best experience.”

Asked how then were his team able to strike three goals from penalty corners, Weise said they had to adopt a different tactic to get the goals: “We had to push the ball harder on the ground to keep the balance.”

Germany captain Maximillian Muller echoed his coach’s view, saying his team needed more practice on this turf. “It was definitely bouncy and uneven in both the matches. To play on this turf is not an easy task,” he said.

Dutch drag-flicker Taeke Taekema, who scored a hattrick against Argentina the other day, too, had similar a complaint.

“The pitch is a little bumpy at times, especially when it is dry and not watered. In practice matches also we faced a few problems but luckily we managed to overcome them,” the topscorer in the 2006 World Cup said.

Argentina skipper Martin Lucas Rey agrees: “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.”

The Telegraph, India



Coins classified as restricted items, forbidden inside the stadium

Shubhodeep Chakravarty


It’s a queer case of coins. On one hand, like paper, handkerchief and coins are classified as ‘restricted items’ here! But at the same time, the food and beverage stalls inside the stadium are ‘flouting’ the same without any concern for the ‘security’.

Order a burger from one of the outlets here and chances are you will get back a few coins as change along with the food neatly wrapped in a plastic sheet of paper. Isn’t it ironic!

For avid coin collectors, the gates at the National Stadium are a paradise. A huge pile of metal currencies is piled on several tables.

Coins of almost every participating country can be found here. “There is always a chance that people throw them at players,” is a security official’s polite explanation.

Hockey enthusiasts obviously, have not taken this too kindly.

“I have never seen a place or an event where you cannot carry your own currency,” said V.K. Aneja, a lawyer who had come to see the matches on Wednesday.

Ana Marquet of Canada shared the same thought as she gave in four dollars in loose change.

“It is not about the money. The security concern over such items is something I have never seen before,” she said. Marquet had to also give up a newspaper she was carrying and was told that she could collect them later.

An organising official, however, said: “It is common practice before any sporting event of such magnitude.”

He said people were allowed to return and collect their belongings.

Hindustan Times



Nick Catlin takes the heat of World Cup battle in his stride

Cathy Harris Delhi


Nick Catlin celebrates his goal for England against South Africa

Catlin celebrates his goal against South Africa

Nick Catlin was studying for a history exam at Nottingham University when he learnt that he had been called into England’s World Cup squad.

The youngest member of the party, aged 20, he admits that he was both shocked and delighted to realise his dream.

The second-year student earned his place at the Champions Trophy in Melbourne in December and so impressed Jason Lee, the head coach, with his assured performances up front that he was an automatic inclusion.

Catlin laughs at being labelled the “Theo Walcott of hockey” and admits that being the youngest often means carrying items of team baggage around.

“There is a bit of banter about being a few years younger than the others but nothing too serious,” he said.

Catlin may have won only 12 caps and have three goals to his credit, but the Loughborough Students player has already been marked out as a star of the future. He opened his World Cup account with a sharp opportunist goal against South Africa on Tuesday and the signs are that there will be plenty more to come.

Unfazed by the pressures of the World Cup and all the hype in hockey-mad India, Catlin faces a severe test of his nerve on Thursday when England take on Pakistan.

“I’ve never played against a Pakistan side before,” he said, “but I imagine they’ll be fast and skilful like the Indians. It’ll be a completely different experience for me but the highlight of the trip so far has been the stadium and the huge crowds, so I hope the atmosphere is as fantastic as it was against Australia.”

Andy Halliday, the England team manager, said that a late decision would be made on the fitness of Jonty Clarke, the striker who has a hamstring strain, adding: “We’re expecting a lighting-quick contest and have to be careful not to be caught on the counter-attack.

“Neither must we concede penalty corners, because in Sohail Abbas they have the best corner specialist in the world.”

In Pool A, Germany, the Olympic and world champions, coasted to a 6-0 victory over Canada, and South Korea kick-started their campaign when they snatched a last-minute goal to win 2-1 against Argentina, the lowest-ranked side in the tournament.

The Netherlands eased to the head of the pool, two points clear of Germany and South Korea, after their 3-1 win against New Zealand.

The Times



Injured Spanish star Freixa sad to miss out

Age Correspondent


New Delhi, March 3: Watching hockey matches on TV is not something that Santi Freixa is used to. But when India take on Spain in a Pool B game of the 12th Hockey World Cup here on Thursday, the Spanish striker will be doing just that.

The 27-year old forward — he struck seven goals in the 2006 edition and was Spain’s highest scorer in their bronze medal triumph — saw his World Cup dreams come to nought when India goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh trampled on his foot in a test match in August last year.

Said Freixa in a chat with this paper from Terrassa, “It was a big disappointment. The day I got injured, I knew I couldn’t play the World Cup, but life goes on and I had to realise that I would miss it. Nowadays, I am recovering and looking forward to playing hockey soon.”

Spain boast of a powerful attack line, but Freixa’s absence has hit them hard. Is that the reason behind Spain’s indifferent show in the first two games?

Said Freixa, “No, not at all. Everyone can be replaced. There is no single reason on why they are not doing well. It is obvious that everyone expected a better performance than these two matches, but I would say that there are still nine points to accumulate and Spain have a chances to make it to the semi-finals. But I do wish I was there.”

Thursday’s game will be make or break for both India and Spain, if the teams are to have any realistic chances for the semi-finals.

Opines Freixa, “India played a great game against Pakistan.

“In my opinion, they were better in all aspects of the match. It was the perfect way to start a tournament at home.

“I saw many changes in their game but will they be able to put up the same level against top teams during the whole tournament is the question.”

“It will be interesting to see how the two teams face this crucial match after a defeat in the previous match. I think Spain are a better team than India, but when India play at home you never know,” he said.

Spain is home to Indian coach Jose Brasa and the 57-year old is expected to come up with a well chalked-out strategy against the Beijing Olympic silver medallists. Freixa, however, feels it will not make a difference come Thursday.

“Of course Jose Brasa knows a lot about Spanish players but in the same way we know him. It’s even knowledge I would say. If you want to succeed in top matches, you have to take decisions quickly so it doesn’t matter if your coach knows a lot about the other team.”

Asked to assess Brasa as a coach, Freixa said, “He achieved the gold medal with the Spanish women’s team, it was amazing for our country. That result says enough!”

The Asian Age



A chat with Canada's Mark Pearson

By Cecelia Carter Smith


Mark Pearson and I have hooked up. His feet are firmly planted on the ground in Delhi India and mine in Burlington Ontario.

Mark considers himself among “the lucky players” who is suiting up at the 2010 Hero Honda FIH World Cup. “The send-off (in Vancouver) was a lovely evening with friends and family at a nice downtown hotel. It was especially nice with all the Olympic festivities going on.”

And the UBC alum was most appreciative of Coach Alan’s (Brahmst) “formal team announcement and small token gift” given to the members of the World Cup team.

“Our participation in the Olympics and the 2010 World Cup are major achievements for our team,” said the affable 22 year old. “And our Leadership Crew of Rob (Short) and Kenny (Pereira) have been waiting a long 12 years to get back to World Cup.

“I look up to both Rob and Ken (14 and 15 years Mark's senior) for advice both on and off the field.”

Shortly after the team’s opening 3-2 loss to the Kiwis – “a tough pill to swallow - a game that we had keyed in on as one to get a result from” - Mark described ‘the fabulous facility in Delhi.’ “The Indian authorities have done a fantastic job of refurbishing the National Hockey Stadium.

“The timing works well since the stadium will also host the hockey tournament for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in October. Consequently with two major tournaments they have spent a massive amount of money and the 20 000 all-seater stadium with two adjoining practice pitches is a major investment and should provide a major boost for the sport in India.

“We attended the India-Pakistan match the other evening and it was packed. An unbelievable atmosphere comparable to an NFL match in America.”

Mark continued, "We are anticipating larger crowds than we had for our opener, but the first game of the day coupled with March 1st being a National Holiday could be used as a possible explanation (for the smaller crowd). It seems that the crowds build throughout the day – and the third (evening match) will generally have a great crowd.

“We play Argentina (March 9) in our last pool match in the evening, so I anticipate a large crowd.”

Concluded Mark, “Our hotel is great and our guys are generally healthy and fit.”

Bring on the Germans – March 3rd.

O Canada – Go Canada.

Field Hockey Canada media release



Father played for Kenya, son plays for Canada


NEW DELHI: It is a rare story of an Indian father and his Kenya-born son -- both taking to hockey, but across the continental divide.

Meet Canada's star forward in the ongoing Hockey World Cup Ranjeev Deol, whose late father Surjeet Singh Deol was a Kenyan hockey Olympian.

Surjeet shifted base from Ludhiana in Punjab to far-off Kenya and then went on to represent the African nation in three Olympics (1956, 1960 and 1964).

Surjeet passed away when Ranjeev was five. Ranjeev and his mother fell on tough times and moved to Ontario in Canada in 1993 in search of better living.

But Surjeet's legacy was enough to shape the future of Ranjeev, who took his first nervous steps in hockey with a club Toronto Lions and made his way into the Canadian team in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

"Hockey is in my blood. And it is a great feeling to play the World Cup in India, where my roots are. My father would have been proud of me if he was alive," Ranjeev said here Wednesday at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

"My mother has played a crucial role in my life. My father passed away when I was very young. But my mother struggled hard to bring me up. My mother was undoubtedly a role model for me, but my father was an idol for me on the turf. I am happy that I have fulfilled my dream," said Deol, who sports his father's name on left arm and mother's name on the right.

Deol said turning out in hockey leagues in the Netherlands and England helped him mature as a player.

"Today Europeans are dominating world hockey. I learnt a lot playing in those leagues," he said.

Asked if he would visit his native village in Ludhiana, Ranjeev said: "I have a lot of friends in India and I am also close to some of the Indian players, who hail from Punjab. I will surely try to visit Ludhiana this time."

The Times of India



What is Indian in India’s second World Cup?

Prabhjot Singh writes from New Delhi


In 1982 when India played host to the fifth World Cup Hockey Tournament on the lushful green grassy playfields of Bombay Hockey Association Stadium, it had a lot, other than Indian hospitality, to offer to both players and officials.

Intriguingly, India has not only lost its supremacy in the sport but also in equipment, and technical conduct of major hockey events. Now 29 years later when the World Cup has returned to the country, the Indian touch to the event has almost gone. But the most important component that can win any nation any major sporting event these days is the sponsorship it can offer. And India has plenty of sponsors. Only visible Indian touch to the 12th World Cup has been its money with Hero group, Steel Authority of India (SAIL), Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, and a few others as its major sponsors. Hero has been the title sponsor.

In 1981-82, since there were hardly any TV stations in this part of the world, there was no live coverage. This time, however, a TV channel from the Middle East, Ten Sports, has won the right to telecast live all matches of the world cup. India’s national channel, Doordarshan, that is required to provide the earth station or ground signal, is beaming only India’s games of the World Cup.

Grassy playfields of Mumbai have been replaced here by Poligras synthetic playfields that have come from Australia. Leather balls used in Mumbai have long been replaced by Dimple balls that too have Australian origin.

India and Pakistan, who were till early 90s were known as the home for hockey sticks made from mulberry and bamboo wood, have also lost to the technology-savvy Europeans and Australians. Hockey sticks used by most of the participants here may have some South Asian components but these have been branded and marketed by companies based out of the sub-continent.

Gradual diminish is also reflected in the structure of the technical committee given the mandate to oversee the conduct of the tournament. Number of Indian Judges, umpires and other support staff, too, has been significantly reduced. Except for a Judge and two umpires, India has no other representation in this committee.

All said and done, the most important touch that even the International Hockey Federation, cannot at this time afford, to disappear is the crowd. Hockey is still a major crowd puller both in India and Pakistan. Eighty per cent of total TV viewer ship of any hockey event anywhere in the world comes from these two countries. It is this viewer ship that has been motivating major business houses like Hero, Sahara, SAIL and others to sponsor both hockey and cricket events worldwide.

Tailpiece: Confusion and chaos that prevails here, too, has been India’s major touch to this mega event.

The Tribune



Hockey World Cup not a test event for CWG


The organisational hazards at the recently concluded Commonwealth shooting championship in the capital has put the Hock- ey World Cup under the scanner, with Common- wealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell expected to take stock of the situation on his visit here next week. Fennell, who will arrive here on Sunday, will gauge security ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in October.

Though the hockey event is not a test event for the CGF, the officials are expecting to get some valu- able information from the FIH as regards security and organisation.

Said CGF CEO Mike Hooper, "The ongoing Hockey World Cup cannot be labelled as a test event for the Commonwealth Games.

It is an event conducted by the FIH and Hockey India and has nothing to do with the organising committee or the CGF. Having said that we are looking forward to the FIH sharing their reports with us after the tourna- ment. There will be valuable lessons for us to learn from the World Cup."

Hooper added that the event would also be a per- fect opportunity to check Delhi's readiness for a big event. Fennell will visit Delhi along with chef-de- missions of the 71 Com- monwealth Games Associa- tions. They will inspect sev- eral venues on their five-day visit, including the National Stadium.

Hooper also said that the CGF's security expert team also would be visiting India for a proper assessment. "The World Cup has provid- ed us an opportunity to assess security arrange- ments. The security is good, but still it is a subjective issue.

"What's good today might not be sufficient tomorrow. We reviewed it again after the blast in Pune. Our secu- rity experts will assess the arrangements again next week," Hooper said.

What the Papers Say Today - Stick2Hockey.com



Graded system of payment: More money on cards for Indian players

Saurabh Duggal


The Indian hockey players, who went on strike demanding money, will get Rs 10,000 each per match at the ongoing Hero Honda FIH Hockey World Cup.

Hockey India is going ahead and implementing the decision taken by the Special Committee set up to decide on the gradation system. They will get the same amount for playing in the Olympic Games and the Champions Trophy.

The match fees for the Asian Games, Asia Cup, Commonwealth Games and other FIH-approved events for both the men and women players would be Rs 5,000 each.

Hockey India secretary, Narendra Batra, told Hindustan Times that “As the committee was set up before the World Cup, whatever decision it takes will be applicable for the World Cup as well.” However, it is learnt that the players have not accepted the proposal in totality, as they have not been able to discuss the issue among themselves. The players are reportedly seeking Rs 20,000 per match and some extra incentives.

Going by their sentiments and Hockey India’s limitations in arranging the funds, another confrontation could be round the corner. But a HI official said the body was open to hiking the fees in future. “We have proposed Rs 10,000 as match fee but we will increase it later,” he said. The players are happy that their demand for a graded system has been accepted. According to the proposal accepted at the Special Committee meeting on February 16, five grades have been made.

The top bracket (A*) will include men’s team players who have played 150 matches or more, while for women, it is 125-plus matches. These players will get 50 per cent of the match fees as incentive.

The players have also been promised monetary incentives for winning medals. The players will get Rs three lakh, two lakh and one lakh respectively for winning medals in the Asian Games, Asia Cup and the Commonwealth Games.

The committee will also ask the government to hike the daily allowance for overseas trips to $50.

During camps, the core group probables will get Rs 500 as pocket allowance.

Hindustan Times



Korea upset Hockeyroos in game 2 of 3 test series

Melville spectators turned out in force to watch the first international at Duracraft Hockey Stadium and they weren’t disappointed. Korea came out with the same determination as the first test in the 3 test series and earned two penalty corners in the first few minutes but without result.

Australia then made forays into their half but were kept at bay with good Korean defence. In the 19th minute Park Mi Hyun set up a penalty, the flick hit the post and an Australian foot stopped a certain goal.

A penalty stroke was awarded and Lee Soo Kyung scooped it to the top right to put Korea in front. Korea looked strong in defence and in the midfield and the Australians were forced to run hard.

Ashleigh Nelson and Hope Munro were repeatedly attacking but to no avail. In the last five minutes of the first half Shelley Liddelow fed the ball through to the circle and Fiona Boyce had a strong shot to the right that was saved by the Korean goalie.

This was one of their few chances in the half. The second half started as a similar tussle with most of the play in the midfield. In the 12th minute of the half an Australian reverse stick tackle was considered rough and a resultant penalty corner drag flick flew high.

Soon after another agricultural tackle by Australia resulted in a second penalty corner flick, a rocket that was again wide. Comments spoken as Hope Munro left the field for an interchange gave her 10 minutes in the sin bin.

Playing with 10 seemed to bring the Australians back in focus and patiently they built play. Against this tide Kim Young Ran brought the ball into the circle and had a lightening tomahawk at goal that was smartly saved by Toni Cronk.

Australia had few more chances apart from a lifted ball in to the circle that was nearly within Liddelow’s reach but was just beyond her stick.

A superbly fit Korean outfit looked fresher and sharper than Australia and the Hockeyroos will have to lift their game to win the series of three to be decided on Friday.

Korea (1) defeated Hockeyroos (0)


Half Time Korea (1) AUSTRALIA (0)

Goals: Korea: Lee Soo Kyung 19 min PS.

Hockey Australia media release



Azlan Shah Cup fixtures 2010

Malaysia will open their campaign in the 19th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Tournament with a match against Pakistan on May 6.

And ironically the coach of the Malaysian team could well be the ex-coach of the green shirts, Roelant Oltmans who is due to take charge of the Malaysian team on May 1.

The Dutchman will come under close scrutiny as he plots the progress of the Malaysian team as 24 hours later it will be South Korea whom they will face at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh.

The second day will also see a repeat of the opening day clash between traditional Asian giants, India and Pakistan. India whipped Pakistan 4-1 in their clash in the ongoing World Cup in New Delhi.

Fixtures

Thursday, May 6
1605 - South Korea v Egypt
1805 - China v India
2005 - Pakistan v Malaysia

Friday, May 7
1605 - Austraia v Egypt
1805 - Pakistan v India
2005 - South Korea v Malaysia

Saturday, May 8 - Rest Day

Sunday, May 9
1605 - South Korea v India
1805 - Pakistan v China
2005 - Australia v Malaysia

Monday, May 10
1605 - South Korea v China
1805 - Australia v India
2005 - Malaysia v Egypt

Tuesday, May 11 - Rest Day

Wednesday, May 12
1605 - Australia v Pakistan
1805 - China v Egypt
2005 - India v Malaysia

Thursday, May 13
1605 - Pakistan v Egypt
1805 - Australia v South Korea
2005 - China v Malaysia

Friday, May 14 - Rest Day

Saturday, May 15
1605 - Australia v China
1805 - South Korea v Pakistan
2005 - India v Egypt

Sunday, May 16
1605 - 5/6th Placing
1805 - 3/4th Placing
2035 - Final

The seven teams that have confirmed participation are Australia, South Korea, Pakistan, China, India, Egypt and Malaysia.

Malaysian Hockey blogspot



Muller Announces Squad for Celtic Cup


Ireland's senior women's hockey team have had a hectic few months as they have packed in training camps, sessions and plenty of match practise as they continue to build towards their WCQ which takes place from 24th April - 3rd May in Chile.

But before that Ireland will head over to Nice in France to compete in the annual Celtic Cup, the tournament which serves as a timely final opportunity for players to impress prior to final selection for the WCQ squad.

Commenting on the impending tournament Coach Muller said This will be a tough tournament and an ideal preparation event for us. We have had some very tough matches against Scotland in recent times, and France have improved to a level that sees them well prepared for their world cup qualification event. We have not decided on a World cup qualification team yet so this is a chance for players to stake a claim for the qualifiers in April.

Muller who is expected to make his squad selection for Chile towards the end of this month will play the Celtic Cup without Julia O'Halloran who was not considered for selection due to study commitments, but he welcomes back Cliodhna Sargent and Alex Speers who have both recovered from injury in time.

Muller's squad sees Audrey O'Flynn selected after earning her first cap recently as she blends into a more experienced squad which has an average caps earning of 63 per head. Ireland start off their campaign against hosts France on Friday before they have a days break on Saturday due to Wales withdrawal from the Celtic Cup and they finish up by playing Scotland on Sunday.

SQUAD - CELTIC CUP


Mary Goode (Bray); Louisa Healy (Loreto); Roisin Flinn (Old Alex); Cliodhna Sargent (Cork Harlequins); Eimear Cregan (Catholic Institute); Emma Clarke (Leicester); Emma Stewart (Armagh); Bridget Cleland (Ballymoney); Shirley McCay (Dragons); Audrey O'Flynn (UCC); Alex Speers (Dragons); Rachel Mulligan (Armagh); Nikki Symmons (Loreto); Emma Smyth (Railway Union); Lizzie Colvin (Loreto); Lisa Jacob (UCD); Niamh Small (Loreto); Michelle Harvey (Pegasus)

Match Schedule (FRENCH TIME)

Friday 5th March Ireland v France 2pm
Sunday 7th March Ireland v Scotland 10am

Irish Hockey Association media release