News for 12 March 2010

All the news for Friday 12 March 2010


Hero Honda World Cup

Day 12 - Thursday - 11- 12 Classification 11-03-2010 15:35 Canada 3 : 2(GG) Pakistan
Day 12 - Thursday - Semifinals 11-03-2010 18:05 Germany 4 : 1 England
Day 12 - Thursday - Semifinals 11-03-2010 20:35 Australia 2 : 1 Netherlands

Final Positions

11. Canada
12. Pakistan



Australia and Germany in World Cup Final

Germany dominated England (4-1) and Australia edged The Netherlands (2-1) at the Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 in Delhi to set-up the third World Cup Final in a row between Australia and Germany. An overtime goal lifted Canada over Pakistan for 11th-12th place.

Game 31 – 11th-12th – Canada v. Pakistan: 3-2 aet (half-time: 1-1 – full time: 2-2)

The first game of the day started earlier than usual in the afternoon and the heat initially affected the rhythm of play. Pakistan went up first on the scoreboard by Rehan BUTT deflecting an innocuous shot by Shakeel ABBASI from the edge of the circle past Dave CARTER, screened on the play. A period of Canadian domination followed; they were first unlucky when Gabbar SINGH saw his shot hit a post but were finally rewarded in the 12th minute when Connor GRIMES deflected in goal a hard free hit from Rob SHORT.

Canada were playing with heart while the Pakistani players seemed dejected and committed many unforced errors, with only Shakeel ABBASI trying to build plays and shake the troops. Canada had a penalty-corner but Wayne FERNANDES’ flick was deflected wide by Salman AKBAR in goal for Pakistan. Play settled in midfield for the remainder of the half, with few circle penetrations at either end. Canada had two more penalty-corners late in the period but could not control them and half-time was reached on a tied score (1-1).

Second period started with two penalty-corners for Pakistan but Canada defended well in front of Sohail ABBAS, very discreet in this competition with only 2 goals. Pakistan nevertheless took back the lead in the 46th minute by Akhtar ALI, left unmarked in front of the Canadian keeper with time to bat in goal a cross by Muhammad ZUBAIR deflected high by a defender. After a period of Canadian pressure, Pakistan missed another penalty-corner and Dave CARTER made two excellent saves in quick succession to keep his team in the game.

Canada tied the game for the second time in the 58th minute by Mark PEARSON, deflecting acrobatically in goal a cross from the right lifted by a defender. With ten minutes to go and neither team controlling play, it was everybody’s game. Canada had a chance on penalty-corner (their forth of the game); they tried an option but it fizzled. Pakistan were reduced to ten players after a yellow card to Akhtar ALI but nevertheless forced a penalty-corner in the dying seconds of the period; Sohail ABBAS missed and the match had to go into extra-time, with golden goal in effect.                                                                                                               

Gabbar SINGH forced a penalty-corner in the first period of overtime after running the whole length of the field eluding Pakistani defenders but the shots was deflected wide. Both teams had thrown caution to the wind and play was shifting quickly from one end to the other. A quick Canadian counter-attack by Gabbar SINGH again and Mark PEARSON earned another penalty-corner and this time Scott TUPPER hit it directly out of reach of the keeper to end the suspense and leave Pakistan, 4 times winner of the World Cup, dejected with the wooden spoon of the competition for the first time.

Shortly after the game, the Pakistan Hockey Federation announced the dissolution of the coaching staff and the “retirement” from international hockey of the entire team (including their four teenagers).

Match Facts (Canada v. Pakistan):

> Canada beat Pakistan 3-2 in extra time through a Scott Tupper golden goal.
> This marks Canada’s first win at Delhi 2010, after losing all their 5 pool matches.
> This is the first time Pakistan finish last in a World Cup tournament.
> Canada has now won all three of their WC Final 11-12 matches. They also finished 11th in 1978 and 1990.
> Canada were awarded 6 PCs in this match. This exceeds the combined total of 5 PCs they were awarded in their five pool matches at Delhi 2010.
> Conner Grimes became the 5th Canadian goal scorer this tournament.
> Philip Wright did not score in this match, but did become Canada’s top goal scorer at Delhi 2010 (3 goals).
> Rehan Butt (PAK) scored the opening goal to lift his Delhi 2010 total to 3 goals. This makes him Pakistan’s top goal scorer at Delhi 2010.
> Akhtar Ali became the 7th player to score for Pakistan at the Delhi World Cup.

Game 32 – Semi-final – Germany v. England: 4-1 (half-time: 3-1)

The first semi-final started in a hot atmosphere, with memories of the 1986 semi-final between the two countries when England had won in a dramatic overtime. The young German team was the first in action and forced a penalty-corner in the 6th minute, scored by Jan-Marco MONTAG despite James FAIR in the English goal catching a piece of the shot. England thought that they had equalized shortly after by Alastair BROGDON but the goal was denied and it is Germany who scored next by Oliver KORN sneaking behind the English defenders to deflect in goal a cross by Florian WOESCH.

England settled down and took control of play for a while and were rewarded of their activity around the circle by a penalty-corner. Richard SMITH blasted a direct shot right through the pads of Tim JESSULAT in the German goal to reduce the gap. They were then saved by a phenomenal reflex save by James FAIR in goal and defended well another penalty-corner to keep the game within reach, but they could not do much on the next penalty-corner scored by Martin HÄNER after an elaborate combination that left the English defense mystified.

England came after the break decided to fight back and created some hot situation in the German circle. However, English playmakers Barry MIDDLETON and Ashley JACKSON were kept under close watch and the score did not evolve. England had an opportunity after a good combination between Ashley JACKSON and Iain MACKAY but the ball was lost in the heavy traffic in front of goal. James TINDALL then had a good chance after working hard at the top of the circle to find some space for a reverse shot, but the ball ended marginally over the crossbar.

Germany earned another penalty-corner in the 60th minute after using their referral to the video-umpire and Linus BUTT propelled the rebound high over James FAIR, on the ground after stopping the initial shot. The situation was now looking desperate for England, three goals down with less than 8 minutes to go. To make matter worst, Rob MOORE received a yellow card. They nevertheless pushed hard in the final minutes but to no avail and Germany, the reigning Olympic champions and two time defending world champions, earned their berth for the Final, keeping alive their bid to become the first nation to win the FIH World Cup three times in a row.

Match Facts (Germany v. England):


> Germany qualified for a record equalling third successive World Cup final beating England 4-1.
> Pakistan (1975-1982) and Netherlands (1990-1998) have also featured in three successive World Cup finals.
> Australia can also join this list of teams reaching three successive WC finals, if they beat the Netherlands in the second semi-final this evening.
> Germany has now reached the final in each of their last four major championships: 2008 Olympic Games, 2009 European Championship, 2009 Champions Trophy and 2010 World Cup.
> Reigning Olympic champions and two time defending world champions Germany can become the first nation to win the FIH World Cup three times in a row.
> Germany converted 3 of 6 PCs awarded in this match. They are now on 12 PC goals at Delhi 2010, leading Australia, who are on 9 PC goals going into their semi-final match against The Netherlands.
> Germany had also scored 3 PC goals in their matches against Canada (6-0) and New Zealand (5-2).
> On Saturday, England will play the loser of the Australia – Netherland match in the bronze medal play-off, in a quest for their second ever World Cup medal. In 1986 England won silver.

Game 33 – Semi-final – Australia v. Netherlands: 2-1 (half-time: 1-0)


The second semi-final started at full speed and the first opportunity was for Australia when Grant SCHUBERT managed a shot from close range, saved by Guus VOGELS in the DUTCH goal... with his helmet. The Kookaburras maintained their pressure and the same player had another chance from close range but Guus VOGELS managed again another brilliant save.

The game was fast paced from end-to-end and both teams were giving a sumptuous display of technical skills executed at high speed and under constant pressure. Rogier HOFMAN threatened Nathan BURGERS in the Australian goal with a reverse shot from a narrow angle that went marginally over the crossbar but most opportunities were in the Dutch circles, with Jamie DWYER and Edward OCKENDEN very active. The Netherlands forced a penalty-corner somewhat against the run of play but Jeroen HERTZBERGER could not convert.

Teun DE NOOIJER propelled a rocket just wide of the Australian goal, then on the next play Desmond ABBOTT forced a penalty-corner with an instant pivot followed by a shot stopped by a defender’s foot, and Luke DOERNER made no mistake to open the scoring in the 27th minute, taking the lead of the Top Goal Scorers of the competition with 7 goals. Both the Netherlands and Australia had another penalty-corner in the final stages but could not control it and this exciting first period ended with a narrow, but deserved, one-goal lead for Australia.

Second period started with an immediate chance for Desmond ABBOTT. The Kookaburras were progressing up field with quick passes that were often turning the heads of the Dutch midfield and defense. The Dutch were frequently a step slower and collected two green cards for late tackles. There were many boiling hot situations in front of Guus VOGELS, but no resulting goals and the Dutch were still within striking distance.

The Kookaburras were finally rewarded of their intense pressure in the 55th minute with a goal by Glenn TURNER at the conclusion of a long series of passes in the Dutch circle. Their joy was however short lived as a Dutch penalty-corner a few minutes later evolved in a penalty-stroke cleanly converted by Taeke TAEKEMA. With ten minutes to go, the momentum shifted and The Netherlands, vocally pushed by their fans outfitted in orange, threw everything they had towards the Australian circle. A long high ball found Teun DE NOOIJER behind the defense but Nathan BURGERS was waiting for him at the top of the circle.

With time passing, it seemed more difficult for the Dutch to penetrate the compact and solid Australian defense and Australia won this sumptuous game to set-up the third Final in a row between Australia and Germany!

Match Facts (Australia v. Netherlands):

> Australia secured their fourth World Cup final berth and their third in succession, as did Germany.
> Only Pakistan (6) and The Netherlands (5) have played more World Cup finals.
> This will be the third successive time Australia face Germany in the World Cup final. The Kookaburras lost to Germany in both 2002 and 2006.
> Australia are now unbeaten in 10 successive matches against the Netherlands at major tournament (OG, WC and CT).
> Australia became the fourth team to reach three successive World Cup finals joining Germany (2002-2010), Pakistan (1975-1982) and Netherlands (1990-1998).
> Liam De Young is the only player on the current squad to have played in Australia’s two previous WC finals.
> Luke Doerner (AUS) and Taeke Taekema (NED) are now tied on7 goals atop of the goal scorer table.
> Luke Doerner has now equalled the total number of goals by his current coach Ric Charlesworth in the 1986 World Cup (7).
> Taekema became only the third player ever to reach 20 World Cup goals. Taekema needs one more goals to equal Ties Kruize (NED, 21 goals) and 6 goals to equal all-time WC top scorer Paul Litjens (NED, 26 goals).
> The Netherlands play England in the Bronze medal match, which will see Dutch captain Teun de Nooijer chasing a record equaling fourth World Cup medal.
> The only player so far to have won four World Cup medals is Pakistan’s Akhtar Rasool.

The Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 continues on Friday in Delhi with the classification matches, when New Zealand and South Africa play for 9th-10th, Argentina face host India for 7th-8th and Korea and Spain conclude the day for 5th-6th.

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 11 - Thursday 11 March 2010

11th-12th – Canada v. Pakistan  3:2 aet (1:1, 2:2)

PAK   4mn  Rehan BUTT (FG)  0:1
CAN  12mn  Connor GRIMES (FG)  1:1
PAK  46mn  Akhtar ALI (FG)  1:2
CAN  58mn  Mark PEARSON (FG)  2:2
CAN  83mn  Scott TUPPER (FG)  3:2 golden goal

Semi-final – Germany v. England  4:1 (3:1)
GER   6mn  Jan-Marco MONTAG (PC)  1:0
GER  11mn  Oliver KORN (FG)  2:0
ENG  18mn  Richard SMITH (PC)  2:1
GER  31mn  Martin HÄNER (PC)  3:1
GER  60mn  Linus BUTT (PC)  4:1

Semi-final – Australia v. Netherlands  2:1 (1:0)

AUS  27mn  Luke DOERNER (PC)  1:0
AUS  55mn  Glenn TURNER (FG)  2:0
NED  58mn  Taeke TAEKEMA (PS)  2:1

Schedule for last two days:
Friday 12 March

15:35 – 9th-10th – New Zealand v. South Africa
18:05 – 7th-8th – Argentina v. India
20:35 – 5th-6th – Korea v. Spain
Saturday 13 march
15:35 – 3rd-4th – England v. Netherlands
18:05 – Final – Germany v. Australia

WorldHockey



It's a Germany-Australia final

Pakistan takes the ‘wooden spoon'

S. Thyagarajan

— Photo: R.V. Moorthy


ECSTATIC: Martin Haner (second from left) is cock-a-hoop after netting Germany's third goal against England on Thursday. Jan-Marco Montag, who scored the opening goal, is at left.

New Delhi: Demonstrating the dynamics of modern hockey in all its depth and dimension, Germany lined itself up for a hat-trick of World Cup triumphs on Thursday.

The 4-1 verdict against England gave the defending champion a fourth visit to the summit where it confronts Australia in the final on Saturday. Australia eliminated the Netherlands by two goals to one.

From the fifth minute, when Jan-Morco Montag drove in a perfect penalty corner, till the final whistle, the Germans unfolded their technical excellence and tactical acumen to pin down the Englishmen. Immaculate trapping and intelligent passing was the feature of every one of the German sallies.

Backed up by a defensive apparatus, held firmly by skipper Max Mueller, and aided by the commanding mid-field, the German domination was absolute. In the frontline, Christoph Menke and Oliver Korn broke through repeatedly to test the efficiency of the English goalkeeper James Fair.

The second goal by Korn, from a penalty corner, exposed the shortcomings in England's back zone, suffering from the absence of Richard Mantell.

When Richard Smith narrowed the lead from a penalty corner midway through, there were signs of England surging back into contention. But that line of thinking proved erroneous.

England's goal survived a tense moment when Fair made a desperate save off a rebound flick by Matthias Witthaus. Close on half-time Marin Haner pumped in the third goal and victory was confirmed when Linus Butt netted the fourth.

The second semifinal was contested with palpable intensity. Australia's early probes were met with stoic resistance by the Dutch defenders, including the veteran goalkeeper Guus Vogels. Grant Schubert was baulked by Vogels twice. The defenders had to work hard to keep the Aussie attack in check as the tricky runs by Jamie Dwyer, Desmond Abbott and Glenn Turner posed a challenge or two. But the experience of defenders like Geert Derrick denied them much leeway inside the circle.

Teun di Nooijer, who led the Dutch attack well by making deep inroads, was unlucky to see one of his shots fired at the end of a sinuous run hit the post and spin back.

The Aussies broke the Dutch spirit with an impeccable drag-flick late in the first half. Turner helped Australia hoist the second goal with a deceptive flick latching on to a forward pass.

The Dutch had a spell of dominance forcing two penalty corners. When a fierce drive by Taeke Taekema hit a defender at the goalmouth, the video umpire awarded a stroke. Taekema converted for his 20th goal in the World Cup and 200th of his career.

Earlier, Pakistan's prestige plummeted to a new low as it finished 12th and last for the first time since the inauguration of the event in 1971. Its worst show thus far had been the 11th place in 1986 at Willesden.

Leading twice in the contest, the four-time champion tumbled against Canada following the golden goal by Scott Tupper, three minutes from end in the extra-time.

Selection committee fired

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Hockey Federation president Qasim Zia has fired the national side's management and selection committee hours after the team's disastrous show.

The PHF said in a statement that Zia “has dissolved the team management and national selection committee after the poor performance in the World Cup.”

Former Olympians Hasan Sardar, Rana Mujahid, Khalid Bashir and Farhat Khan were on the selection panel while the team was coached by Shahid Ali Khan.

Manager of the team Asif Bajwa will continue as PHF secretary.

The results:


11-12: Canada 3 (Connor Grimes, Mark Pearson, Scott Tupper-golden goal) bt Pakistan 2 (Rehan Butt, Akhtar Ali). HT 1-1.

Semifinals: Germany 4 (Jan-Marco Montag, Oliver Korn, Martin Haner, Linus Butt) bt England 1 (Richard Smith). HT 3-1.

Australia 2 (Luke Doerner, Glenn Turner) bt Netherlands 1 (Taeke Taekema). HT 1-0.

Friday's matches: 9-10: New Zealand vs. South Africa (3.35 p.m.); 7-8: India vs. Argentina (6.05 p.m.); 5-6: Korea vs. Spain (8-35 p.m.) .

The Hindu



KL and Monchengladbach to Delhi, power remains the same

K. Arumugam


It’s repeat final of Monchengladbach. Australia and Germany will again vie for the gold. Four years have passed since that memorable night, the classic contest we witnessed in Germany, but nothing seemed to have changed between these two contemporary giants.

Australia overcame tough Netherlands 2-1 while Germany handed out a fluent 4-2 defeat to England to stake claim for the Saturday finals.

Coaches changed, key players are not there, yet the two teams, who have tried and tested system propel them to pinnacle, not individual stars, will produce another of classic stuff on Saturday.

The second semifinal, played against great support from The Netherlands, was competitive compared to earlier England and Germany semis.

Notwithstanding the absence of Christopher Zeller, who was the lynchpin of attack in the previous World Cup, Germany came out with a pattern that denied England not much space in the circle.

“Yes, man of Mantell’s caliber was missing today, as he was not only a great defender but also an excellent communicator”, opined Simon Mason, acting president of England Hockey Board, who is also former celebrated England Goalie.

Simon was to the point. The English defence crumbled today against the might of Germans.

All England could manage despite heavy attack in the second was a couple of penalty corners, which went abegging anyway. On the other hand, Germany went hammer and tongs with penalty corners, most of them bringing in goals.

Goals, on the contrary, was in short supply in the second semifinal. Umpiring hassles and goof ups apart – almost every attack had a referral, reversal etc etc – precise Australia took 2-0 lead before The Netherlands understood the necessity of changing gear. The Dutch fought hard in the last ten minutes or so, even a penalty corner was in askance just 8 seconds left in the clock, but the referral did not come to their rescue this time. Australia played out the time for their third successive World Cup finals.

The same referral came to be the saviour of The Netherlands bit earlier. Even as German umpire Christoph Blasch did not think of giving penalty corner, the third umpire thought of a stroke which Taeke Taekema converted to his broadest fisting and joy.

Earlier, Luke Doerner converted a penalty corner to put Australia on ascend in the first half.

The important point here is, despite Bernhard Peter’s preference to football, and Barry Dancer left the Australian scene, both the teams are on the same competitive level as they were in 2002 or 2006.

That is the lesson the Asians need to understand if they are interested in seeing their teams revive their fortunes. There has to be a system and the system should steer the teams to success, not individuals.

Stick2Hockey.com



Germany and Auastralia reach the hockey World Cup finals

C Rajshekhar Rao


New Delhi: Australia fretted, fumed and sweated over some referrals in the dying minutes. Germany were comfortable as time approached for the long hooter.

Though the contrasting styles of their semifinal victories were not according to expectations, a third consecutive title-round clash in World Cup was.

Australia overcame thrice-champions The Netherlands 2-1 after the Germans had scored a surprisingly easy 4-1 victory over European champions England on a day that belonged to the goalkeepers, Dutch veteran Guus Vogels standing out in his last international outing.

The Aussies dominated early on, Grant Schubert coming close to scoring twice. He once hit Vogels’s helmet. It took a penalty-corner conversion from Luke Doerner to put Australia ahead in the 26th minute.

The second half gained in pace as the clock ticked away, Glenn Turner’s strike getting Australia their second goal. Robert Hammond’s fine midfield play ensured the ball was moved around but the run of play was to change soon.

A penalty-corner that resulted in a ‘stroke’ because of an infringement confirmed by a referral got the Dutch a goal. After they had failed to convert three penalty-corners, Taeke Taekema reduced the margin to instill life in the proceedings. For the first time since their loss to England on the opening day, the Aussies looked fallible when the Dutch pressed in.

“We had to be cautious towards the end, but we thought we had things in control,” said Australian player Mark Knowles, one of the rotating captains of the team, which was led by Liam de Young against the Dutch.

DNA



It’s Germany vs Australia

JAYDEEP BASU


Germany’s Jan-Marco Montag on Thursday

New Delhi: Defending champions Germany and Australia continued their domination in the elite level hockey when they reached the final of the Hero Honda World Cup at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium, here on Thursday.

In the semi-finals, Germany, aiming to win their third title in a row, played with clinical efficiency to demolish England 4-1, while Australia survived a late onslaught to beat the Netherlands 2-1.

The final will be played on Saturday. The two teams also played the finals of the last two editions of the World Cup. On both occasions, Germany prevailed over Australia.

Playing through the wings with accurate passes and deadly penetration, Germany were a treat to watch against a team that beat them in the final of the European Cup only a few months ago. Once the Germans picked up an early goal in the sixth minute through a penalty corner conversion by Jan-Marco Montag, they looked unstoppable.

In the other semi-final, Australia dominated the proceedings and scored once in each half to take a 2-0 lead but the Dutch threatened to make a comeback when they were awarded a penalty stroke in the 57th minute.

Today’s matches: For 9th/10th position: New Zealand vs South Africa (3.35 pm); For 7th /8th positions: India vs Argentina (6.05 pm); For 5th/6th positions: South Korea vs Spain (8.35 pm).

The Telegraph, India



Germany to meet Australia in World Hockey Cup final

Holders Germany will meet Australia in the men's hockey World Cup final for the third successive tournament.

Olympic champions Germany thrashed England 4-1 in the first semifinal this morning (NZ time) to stay on course for a third straight title. World number two Australia, beaten in 2002 and 2006 by Germany, then edged out Netherlands 2-1 in a closely fought contest.

Germany led 3-1 at halftime and defended solidly in the second half to stay undefeated in the tournament at a packed Dhyan Chand National Hockey Stadium.

"The whole team played well," said man of the match Matthias Witthaus. "Now we are looking forward to win the World Cup. With this performance there are possibilities."

Germany were 2-0 up by the 11th minute through Jan-Marco Montag and Oliver Korn.

Montag converted a penalty corner for his third goal of the tournament while Korn dived to deflect the ball successfully for an opportunistic goal.

England, who beat Germany in the final of the European championship last year, rallied strongly and scored through Richard Smith before Martin Haner scored Germany's third goal. Linus Butt added a fourth goal 10 minutes from time.

"We were just awesome together. We defended solidly as a team and allowed just one goal," said Haner.

Luke Doerner scored his seventh goal of the tournament and Glenn Turner his sixth to put Australia on top against the Dutch before penalty corner specialist Taeke Taekema replied.

"We knew it wasn't going to be easy. But with goals on the board we defended reasonably well," man of the match Grant Schubert said.

The Dutch played aggressively but could not find an equaliser.

"It is disappointing," goalkeeper Guus Vogels said. "We tried until the end," added Vogels who announced that Saturday's bronze medal match against England would be his last international game.

Canada beat former champions Pakistan 3-2 in extra time to finish 11th in the 12-team competition. Scott Tupper struck the golden goal in extra time.

Stuff

 



Canada hand Pakistan wooden spoon

Canada pip four-time champions Pakistan in a match for the 11th spot.


By Prateek Srivastava


Canada came back from behind twice to beat Pakistan 3-2 to bag the 11th spot at the National Stadium in New Delhi on Thursday.

This was the first time that Pakistan brought up the rear in their World Cup history: in 1986 they were last but one at 11th.

Canada on the other hand finished 11th for the third time after 1978 and 1990.

Connor Grimes and Mark Pearson were on target either side of the break to nullify goals from Rehan Butt and Akhtar Ali before Scott Tupper scored a golden goal in extra time to bring the Canadians their first win in the tournament.

Pakistan started off well as Butt deflected a reverse stick shot from Shakeel Abbasi into the goal in the fourth minute. Canada took eight minutes to equalize, thanks to goal from Grimes who directed a powerful shot by Rob Short from outside the circle into the goal.

Surprisingly, Canada was the better team, earning three penalty corners. The Pakistanis on the other hand had none.

Pakistan, however, shook off their slackness after the break and got their second goal off the stick of Ali in the 46th minute. Twelve minutes later Canada equalized again as Pearson scored his second goal of the tournament; however the video umpire had to be called upon for the confirmation.

With scored tied at 2-2 after the second half, the match went into extra time. Trupper rose to the occasion and scored a golden goal in the 83rd minute through a penalty corner.

ESPNStar.com



Wooden spoon for Pakistan

M.S.Unnikrishnan


Canada caused the biggest upset when they edged out Pakistan with an extra-time golden goal 3-2 to push the four-time champions to the wooden-spoon in the placement match of the 12th Hero Honda FIH World Cup Hockey Championship at the National Stadium here today.

The Canadians, who were the whipping boys in Group A, losing all their five league matches, finally found their scoring touch to fill Pakistan’s cup of sorrow to relegate them to the 12th position for the first time in the history of the World Cup while Canada finished 11th. The teams were locked 2-2 at full time and the first half of extra time also produced no goal. But in the fourth minute of the second half of extra time, Canada were awarded their sixth penalty corner and Tupper swept in firm and clean to account for a golden goal and shut out Pakistan to the bottom.

It was so ironic that Pakistan ended up on ground zero after scoring the first goal in the fourth minute when Rehan Butt neatly put home a high cross from the right by Shakeel Abbasi. The Canadians, instead of getting intimidated, kept on pressing and in the 12th minute, their efforts were rewarded when Connor Grimes hit in. Though Canada forced two penalty corners in the last two minutes of the first half, they could not capitalise on them.

Pakistan regained their lead 12 minutes into the second session through Akhtar Ali who guided in a high cross from the right. In the 23rd minute, Canada came up with the equaliser when Mark Pearson scored a numbing field goal, which was also okayed by the television umpire after Pakistan asked for referral. The rest of the play in the regulation period and the initial half of extra time also went goalless. Canada clinched the issue off their sixth penalty corner and Tupper accounted for the first golden goal of the championship. Pakistan’s worst World Cup dispaly was their 11th position in 1986 in England while the four-time champions had finished sixth in the last edition in Germany.

The Tribune



Pakistan slump to all time low

Canada 3 Pakistan 2

By Telegraph staff


Four-time champions Pakistan have slumped to an all-time low, following their embarrassing 3-2 defeat against Canada, to finish last for the first time in the men's Hockey World Cup.

Scott Tupper scored a golden goal two minutes before the end of extra-time in the play-off for the 11-12 positions to hand Canada their first win in the 12-nation tournament.

Pakistan, who won the World Cup in 1971, 1978, 1982 and 1994, had finished 11th in the 1986 edition in London. They were sixth in the last tournament in Germany in 2006.

Pakistan return home with five defeats and just one win in the six matches they played at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi.

They took the lead through a fourth-minute goal by Rehan Butt, before Connor Grimes drew level for Canada in the 12th.

Akhtar Ali put Pakistan ahead again in the 46th minute, only to see Mark Pearson equalise 12 minutes later.

Pakistan's penalty corner specialist Sohail Abbas missed two chances in extra-time, allowing the Canadians to regroup.

Pakistan's coach Shahid Ali Khan blamed senior players for the team's poor performance.

"Senior players like Rehan Butt, Shakeel Abassi and Sohail Abbas let us down, they did not fulfill the expectations," said Khan, a former goalkeeper who was member of the 1982 World Cup winning team.

"These players were supposed to lead the youngsters, but couldn't perform well themselves. Our team underperformed in the tournament.

"This is our worst ever performance at international level. I can't tell you how I'm feeling right now.

"The team's morale before this match was low and I found it difficult to motivate the team to play for the game to decide the last two positions."

The Telegraph



Humiliation at the World Cup

PHF fires coaches, selectors

By Khalid Hussain


KARACHI: In a face-saving measure, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) on Thursday sacked the national team management and dissolved the selection committee after the Greenshirts slumped to a humiliating last-position finish in the Hockey World Cup under progress in New Delhi.

Qasim Zia, the PHF president, told ‘The News’ that team officials and selectors have been shown the door because the PHF believes they were responsible for the debacle in New Delhi.

“We have decided to dissolve the team management and national selection committee because what happened in the World Cup is unacceptable,” said Qasim, a former Olympian who is an influential leader of the Pakistan People’s Party in Punjab.

Qasim said that the PHF will summon a meeting of its executive board to discuss the national team’s poor showing in the World Cup.

Pakistan gave their worst-ever showing in their hockey history by finishing last in the 12-nation spectacle. After Pool B defeats against old rivals India, England, South Africa and Australia, Pakistan crashed to a shocking 2-3 defeat against minnows Canada in the playoff for the 11th place at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi on Wednesday.

The team’s shockingly poor show has ignited scathing criticism from various quarters with most former greats and critics uniting against Asif Bajwa, the PHF secretary who has also been working as the team manager.

“It’s the PHF secretary who should be sacked if we are to move forward after this humiliating performance,” Akhtar-ul-Islam, a former Olympian, told this correspondent.

Hassan Sardar, who resigned as chief selector before the PHF decided to sack him and other selectors, also echoed Akhtar’s views.

“PHF will have to remove Bajwa as secretary because he is certainly responsible for the disaster,” he said.

However, Qasim threw his weight behind Bajwa, a former Olympian. “Bajwa failed as team manager and has been sacked from that position,” he said. “I don’t think he has failed as PHF secretary which is why there is no need to remove him from that post.”

Qasim said that the PHF made all possible efforts to ensure that the national team gave its best in the World Cup.

“We raised funds for the team to train in the best possible manner. We arranged for international tours. We provided them with the best facilities. We couldn’t have done more,” he stressed.

Qasim said that he was baffled with the way his boys flopped in New Delhi.

“I honestly don’t know what went wrong with our team,” he said. “It’s just that the boys didn’t click.”

Qasim hoped that the PHF executive board will find ways and means to put the team back on track.

“We have dissolved all team officials and selectors and hope to find solutions soon,” he said.

The team officials shown the door are Bajwa (manager) Shahid Ali Khan (coach), Shafqat Malik (assistant coach). The selection committee that has been dissolved included Hassan Sardar (chief selector), Rana Mujahid Ali, Khalid Bashir, Farhat Khan and Muhammad Shafiq.

There have been calls for the setting up of a neutral inquiry committee but Qasim made it clear that the PHF doesn’t need to opt for any such move.

“We have already sacked the people responsible and will now be looking to move ahead with whatever is decided by the executive board. I don’t think there is any need to set up any inquiry committee.”

The News International



Its irony, Pakistan finishes last

K. Arumugam


Many years ago in the same stadium Pakistan reigned supreme with an amazing 7-1 win over the hosts India in the Asian Games final.

Today, years later, the Pakistan team finished last in the World Cup, conceding golden goal in the extra time to Canada.

In 1982, when the Asian Games final was played here – it was the first tournament held in India on synthetic turf – Shahid Ali Khan, goalie was a glorious spectator as his team pounded India for the glorious 7-1 win.

As irony would have it, the Shahid was here as the team’s coach and had to at last tender an apology to the nation for letting them down.

It did appear the tragedy was waiting to happen for Pakistan when they took lead in the 4th minute through Rehan Butt. Canada equalized four minutes later, Connor Grimes equalizing. In the second half, Pakistan again went up with a goal from Akhtar Ali. Canada took the match to extra time with a goal from Mark Pearson, and in the second half of extra time, Scott Tupper scored the Golden goal off the team’s penalty corner.

Stick2Hockey.com



Pakistan end Hockey World Cup ranked last

NEW DELHI: Four-time champions Pakistan slumped to an embarrassing 3-2 defeat by Canada on Thursday to finish last for the first time in the men’s field hockey World Cup.

Scott Tupper scored a golden goal two minutes before the end of extra-time in the play-off for the 11-12 positions to hand Canada their first win in the 12-nation tournament.

Pakistan, who won the World Cup in 1971, 1978, 1982 and 1994, had finished 11th in the 1986 edition in London. They were sixth in the last tournament in Germany in 2006.

Pakistan return home with five defeats and just one win in the six matches they played at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi.

They took the lead through a fourth-minute goal by Rehan Butt, before Connor Grimes drew level for Canada in the 12th.

Akhtar Ali put Pakistan ahead again in the 46th minute, only to see Mark Pearson equalise 12 minutes later.

Pakistan’s penalty corner specialist Sohail Abbas missed two chances in extra-time, allowing the Canadians to regroup.

A fuming Pakistan coach Shahid Ali Khan blamed senior players for the debacle and offered to resign.

“It is difficult to describe how I feel just now,” said Khan, a former goalkeeper who was part of the 1982 World Cup winning squad.

“I am ready to quit if our federation wants. But I will first submit a detailed report on our performance in this tournament so that the cause of Pakistan’s decline can be firmly dealt with.

“Senior players like Rehan Butt, Shakeel Abbasi and Sohail Abbas let us down. There were high expectations from them, but they did not perform as expected.”

Dawn



Pakistan finish at last position in Hockey World Cup

NEW DELHI: Pakistan finished at last position here on Thursday afternoon in Hockey World Cup when it went down 3-2 against Canada.

A last goal by Scott Tupper off a penalty corner just five minutes before the end of the extra time pushed Pakistan to the 12th position, the worst ever situation faced by Pakistan.

Pakistan’s last worst showing was in 1986 at Willesden, England where they had finished 11th just above India.

The goal scorers were Connor Grimes, Mark Pearson and Scott Tupper (one each). Pakistan’s scorers were Reran Butt and Kantar Ali.

Pakistan led against Canada twice but it could not sustain the position for long. They also muffed four penalty corners while conceding six to their rivals In the very beginning, Pakistan went on the offensive and in the 4th minute Rehan Butt put his side in the lead when he deflected home a superb cross from Sohail Abbasi (1-0) At half time, teams were leveled 1-1.

Soon after the break, Pakistani players forced their first penalty corner but so hail Abbess’s drag flick was cleared by goal keeper Dave Carter.

Pakistan managed to take the lead again in the 47th minute when Muhammed zubair’s cross from the right was nicely deflected by Akhtar Ali in the goal (2-1).

But, Pakistan’s defence fell in the 58th minute when Mark Pearson sent the ball home off a cross which he intercepted outside the circle (2-2).

Just before five minutes from the end of extra-time, Canada earned its sixth penalty corner and Scott Tupper scored the winning goal.  

Associated Press of Pakistan



"Worst day in history of Pak hockey"

Pakistan coach Shahid Ali admits his team was below par and said there is nothing that can justify the loss.

By Anshul Baijal


Pakistan coach Shahid Ali was devastated after his team lost the play-off for the 11th-12th place against Canada on Thursday. This was their worst ever performance in a World Cup: in 1986 they were one but last at 11th.

Ali admitted that it was the worst day in the history of Pakistan hockey. "I think this is the worst day in our history. This is our worst performance ever," he said.

Senior pros like Sohail Abbas and Rehan Butt were out of sorts during the tournament and Ali believes their poor form was one reason why they did not fare well.

"We have not left any outstanding talent behind. We had the best available team. It's just that they couldn't live up to the expectations," said Ali.

The Pakistan team was in great form before the tournament. They reached the final of the Champions Challenge 1 and drew the two-match Test series against The Netherlands.

Pakistan coach believes his team peaked too early. "We were playing well before the start of the tournament. We did well to reach the final of the Champions Challenge and performed well against Holland but I think we peaked too early for the tournament," said Ali.

His Canadian counterpart Alan Brahmst, meanwhile, was happy to have not finished 12th, but was critical of his team's performance.

"Nobody wants to finish last in a World Cup. I am happy we finally won a game, but we were below par throughout the tournament," he said.

"We are ranked the 9th team in the tournament, so a top-8 finish was a realistic target, but unfortunately that did not happen," concluded the Canadian coach.

ESPNStar.com



We could never recover from loss to India: Pakistan Coach

NEW DELHI: Pakistan coach Shahid Ali Khan Thursday said his team could not recover from their 1-4 loss to India in the opening game and that led to their finishing with the wooden spoon, the four-time title holders' worst-ever performance in the World Cup.

"When you come to a tournament hoping to finish in the top four-five and lose the first match, it is difficult to stage a comeback. We played well only in patches. But against Australia and Spain, we did well," said Shahid.

Visibly dejected after the 2-3 defeat to Canada in the classification game for the 11th-12th places at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, Shahid blamed the senior players for not playing to their potential.

"Yes, some of the players underperformed but that was not deliberate. Such things happen in sport," the coach said. He also rubbished the allegations of match-fixing for the team's below par performance as "ridiculous".

Asked whether over-training could be a reason for the side's poor performance, he said: "May be, we peaked early."

Facing a volley of questions, many of them from angry Pakistani scribes, Shahid said seniors like Shakeel Abbasi and Rehan Butt did not do well.

He also expressed disappointment with experienced drag-flicker Sohail Abbas, who found the target only twice in the entire tournament. "Definitely, we expected more from him. We expected him to score ten goals. But then again, three of his penalty corners hit the post".

On the reception his side is expected to get on return, Shahid said: "We will get what we deserve. We can only apologise to the nation."

Asked about reports of Pakistan hockey officials looking for a new coach, Shahid said it was a natural move after the team's worst-ever performance. "If they can find a better coach, I will back them."

However, he chose to be diplomatic when questioned about his resignation. "I will first sit with my friends, family members, and the president and secretary of the federation."

Shahid, however, said the present squad has the potential and drastic changes should not be made. "God willing, we will do well in the Asian Games."

Shahid said Pakistan should find a foreign coach who could handle the team and lift the standards.

But he deflected any criticism about the squad selection saying "This is the best possible team we could bring here'.

Shahid said India and Pakistan teams need to play top teams from Europe more than take part in bilateral series between the sub-continental sides.

"India-Pakistan matches are always pressure games. We should play more often. But to improve our level, we should play more against the European teams."

On the game against Canada, he said: "We had a bad first half. We got lot of chances in the second, but could not capitalise on them'.

The Times of India



Our worst-ever show: Pakistan coach

Sports Reporter


NEW DELHI: Pakistan coach Shahid Ali Khan on Thursday criticised the players for the team's ‘worst ever' showing in the hockey World Cup.

Pakistan finished with the wooden spoon after its defeat to Canada by a golden goal. “This is the worst day for Pakistan hockey. We had a disappointing performance in the tournament and for the first time we finished at the 12th spot,” Shahid said.

“The anger of people back home is justified and we apologise for our poor performance,” he added.

Asked if he would accept responsibility for the debacle and step down from his post, Shahid said he would take a decision after consulting his family and friends.

He welcomed the appointment of a new coach.

“It is up to the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF). It is good if they find a coach who can give better results. But this team can do well and there should not be any drastic changes in the side,” he said.

Shahid blamed the experienced players — like Sohail Abbas, Zeeshan Ashraf and Waseem Ahmed — for the failure.

However, he refuted reported allegations of ‘match-fixing' by some players in the match against India.

“This has never happened in hockey. This is ridiculous, there is no match-fixing. This (the defeat to India) has happened just like that. There was no attempt to under-perform deliberately,” he said.

Prescribing the remedy for the revival of Pakistan hockey, Shahid said the team should play more matches against the top European sides in order to improve its own standard.

Canadian coach Alan Brahmst said he was disappointed despite his team finishing 11th.

“We are the ninth-ranked team in the World Cup. So, I had expected a top-eight finish. I did not find consistency in our performance. We committed a lot of mental errors,” he said.

The Hindu



Pakistan register worst-ever WC performance, finish last

Pakistani players are a dejected bunch after losing their match against Canada to an extra time golden goal and finishing at the last place in the World Cup for the first time.

Pakistan registered their worst-ever performance in the hockey World Cup as a resilient Canada pushed the Asian team to last place in the mega event with a golden goal victory here.

Scott Tupper converted a penalty corner in the 83rd minute to hand the Pan American side a 3-2 win in the extra time and an 11th place finish in the 12-team tournament. This is the first time that Pakistan have finished in the last position in a World Cup. Their worst-ever performance before today was the 11th spot finish in the 1986 edition of the tournament in London.

Canada, meanwhile, finished 11th for the third time after 1978 and 1990. Connor Grimes (12th minute), Mark Pearson (58th) and Tupper (83rd) contributed in Canada's cause with a goal each while Rehan Butt (4th) and Akhtar Ali (46th) sounded the board for Pakistan.

The 11-12th classification match between Pakistan and Canada was fought keenly with both the sides finishing the regulation 70 minutes locked at 2-2.

There was hardly any difference between the two sides and even the additional time of 15 minutes (7.30 min in each half) failed to decide the winner, which dragged the encounter into tie-break.

Pakistan scored the first goal of the match as early as in the fourth minute of the game when Butt deflected home a powerful reverse stick shot by Shakeel Abbasi. Shocked by the early goal, the Canadians went hard for the equaliser and got two scoring chances within seven minutes.

But on first occasion Sukhwinder Gabbar Singh's powerful shot clashed against the left post of Pakistan goal and Connor Grimes' reverse stick shot from narrow angle was easily kept away by custodian Salman Akbar.

However, Canada's persistent pressure resulted in the equaliser in the 12th minute when Grimes deflected the ball into the bottom right corner of Pakistan goal after receiving a hard cross from Rob Short.

After levelling the scoreline, Canada continued to attack the Pakistan goal and earned two penalty corners in the last 11 minutes of the match but failed to convert any to go into the breather 1-1.

After the change of ends, Pakistan came all out all guns blazing and managed to secure back-to-back short corners but Sohail Abbas disappointed on both the occasion. Scott Tupper got a golden opportunity to put Canada ahead but a brilliant Akbar denied him in the Pakistan goal. Canada goalkeeper Dave Carter then made two great saves, first clearing an Abbas dragflick from Pakistan's third penalty corner and then padded away Waseem Ahmed's powerful shot from top of the circle.

Akhtar Ali, however, gave Pakistan the lead in the 46th minute when he beautifully volleyed the ball into Canada goal from a Muhammad Zubair's deflected cross from the right. Pakistan's joy was shortlived as Mark Pearson scored the equaliser for Canada 12 minutes from the hooter after video umpire was brought into action.

From there on, the ball traversed up and down the field as both teams went for the winner but failed to bring extra time into action in the first classification match of the tournament.

The opening half of the extra time was dull affair as both the teams preferring to play safe.

Indian Express



Enough is enough, say former greats

By our correspondent


KARACHI: Former Olympians on Thursday came out all guns blazing at national hockey officials and players after Pakistan stumbled to a catastrophic last-place finish in the World Cup.

Islahuddin Siddiqui, the former Pakistan captain, told ‘The News’ that “enough is enough” and urged Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani — the chief patron of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) — to help save the national game after the World Cup disaster.

“Pakistan hockey needs to be saved from a complete disaster,” said Islah. “I would appeal to the prime minister to intervene and take steps to lift our national game.”

Islah said that the PHF will need to conduct a major surgery, adding that it won’t be possible if it decides against sacking Asif Bajwa as the federation’s secretary.

“Bajwa has to go otherwise it would be impossible to put our hockey back on track,” he stressed. “He is there for the last two years but has miserably failed to raise a strong team.”

However, PHF chief Qasim Zia has ruled out the removal of Bajwa as PHF secretary.

Islah expressed his surprise at Qasim’s reluctance to get rid of the PHF secretary.

“He (Qasim) should stop shielding his secretary, who is a complete failure,” he said.

Akhtar-ul-Islam, a former Olympian and ex-secretary of the PHF, supported Islah’s views, saying that concrete steps will have to be taken for Pakistan hockey to bounce back from the embarrassment suffered by Pakistan in New Delhi. “Today I’m ashamed to call myself a Pakistan hockey player because of the way we’ve failed in the World Cup,” he said. “The best way to react to this humiliation is by punishing the people responsible for the debacle.”

Samiullah, another former great, was disappointed at the team’s feeble World Cup showing. He underlined the fact that the players seemed to lack the sort of fitness needed to do well in major events like the World Cup.

Hassan Sardar, who resigned as chief selector, said that the team peaked a bit too early. “The boys played well in the series against Holland just before the World Cup but they seemed to be fatigued in New Delhi,” he said.

Hassan was confident that Pakistan will bounce back in future events like this year’s Asian Games. “The team played well below its potential in the World Cup but I’m sure that it will bounce back.”

The News International



Pak hockey squad steps down after Cup debacle

By our correspondent


KARACHI: Hours after crashing to a last-place finish in the World Cup, all of the Pakistan team players on Thursday announced their retirement from international hockey.

In a stunning move, Pakistan captain Zeeshan Ashraf and the other 17 members of the national team said that they’ve decided to quit the sport after putting up a disastrous showing in the 12-nation spectacle.

However, their move was described as an “emotional decision” by Pakistan hockey chief Qasim Zia, who was confident that the players will change their mind after returning home.

“It’s an emotional decision,” the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) President told ‘The News’. “In a way it’s a good sign that the boys are ready to take responsibility for the World Cup disaster.

“But I must also say that it’s our national team which has to play a lot of events in the future. I’m sure that the boys will reconsider their decision after returning home.”

However, some of the senior players said that they believe its time for Pakistan to infuse young blood in the national team.

“Yes we have resigned. We have taken this decision voluntarily and we want now the youngsters to take over,” said Rehan Butt, a seasoned striker.

Zeeshan Ashraf, the Pakistan captain, was quoted as saying in a PHF media release that he and fellow teammates have accepted responsibility for the catastrophic performance in the World Cup.

“PHF has done a lot for the players in every field but the players did not live up to the expectations. We will support PHF in the future in any aspect of the game and will also be available if Pakistan needs any player any time,” the experienced defender was quoted as saying.

Pakistan lost five of their six World Cup matches including an unexpected 2-3 loss against underdogs Canada in the playoff for the 11th place on Wednesday.

The 18 players who have announced retirement are Nasir Ahmad and Salman Akbar (goalkeepers), Zeeshan Ashraf, Sohail Abbas and Muhammad Rashid (defenders), Muhammad Irfan, Waseem Ahmad, Muhammad Imran, Fareed Ahmad and Sajjad Anwar (midfielders), Rehan Butt, Shakeel Abbasi, Abdul Haseem Khan, Muhammad Zubair, Akhtar Ali, Omer Bhutta, Abbas Haider and Muhammad Rizwan (forwards).

The World Cup debacle has thrown Pakistan hockey in complete turmoil at a time when the Greenshirts have a number of important assignments ahead of them.

Pakistan have to feature in the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy in April followed by the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup early this summer. Later, Pakistan will be competing in the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in October followed by the Asian Games — the team’s biggest target of 2010 — in China in November.

The News International



PHF sack selectors, team announces ‘retirement’

Afzal Khan writes from Islamabad


President Pakistan Hockey Federation Qasim Zia on Thursday sacked the entire selection and management committee of Pakistan hockey team for worst-ever performance in the World Cup currently underway in New Delhi.

Zia announced the decision shortly after the Pakistan team suffered a humiliating 3-2 defeat in their match against Canada for the 11th and 12th place. Pakistan relegated to the bottom in the 12-team World Cup. Zia’s announcement was earlier preceded by instant resignation of chief selector and former Olympian Hasan Sardar minutes after Canada won the match through a golden goal in the extra-time after both teams ended regular time 2-2.

“I have taken the decision as PHF head while other actions would be decided by the board of the federation on receipt of full report from concerned officials of the team,” Zia said. The PHF president said on paper this team had considerable potential and showed considerable improvement in the preceding outings. It had been picked up with the upcoming Asian Games in view.

“Ï will consider stepping down from my office in case the team performed as badly in the upcoming Asian Games as well,” he said. Asked about the team manager and PHF secretary general Afzal Bajwa who has been under attack, Qasim Zia said Bajwa holds an elective office and cannot be removed by him.

All the 18 members of the Pakistan hockey team Thursday announced their retirement from the game out of utter despondency in the wake of their disastrous performance in the World Cup in progress in New Delhi.

"We accept our responsibility for bringing shame to the nation by our despicable performance,"Zeeshan Ashraf, captain of the hickey team, told Pakistani TV channels on telephone from New Delhi.

The Tribune



President PHF dissolve team management and selection committee

LAHORE - President,Pakistan Hockey Federation Qasim Zia,in the backdrop of Pakistan’s shameful 12th finish in World Hockey Cup has dissolved the team management and national selection committee. “It was the worst ever showing of the team in the Cup and the decision has been taken to better the sagging fortunes of hockey “,said a spokesman of PHF while talking to APP from India on Thursday. Pakistan suffered the agony to finish with a wooden spoon when little known Canada beat the green shirts in a classification match for the 11th and 12th.

Team management comprises Manager Muhammad Asif Bajwa, Coach Shahid Ali Khan and Assistant Coach Shafqat Malik, while Selection Committee members are Chief Selector Hassan Sardar, Rana Mujahid Ali, Khalid Bashir, Farhat Khan and Muhammad Shafiq.

Meanwhile President,PHF said that after the arrival of the team back home,PHF will call its executive board meeting and will also hold an inquiry to probe into dismal performance of the team.

“ Bajwa who was the team manager will remain continue as Secretary PHF”,said Qasim Zia.

Associated Press of Pakistan



Hasan Sardar resigns as Chief Selector


KARACHI: Hockey Chief Selector and former Pakistan Olympic spearhead Hasan Sardar Thursday resigned from his post following Pakistan’s worst-ever 12th spot in the World Cup. “It was not in my wildest dream that Pakistan team would finish so low and I am deeply hurt and, therefore, resigning from my position”, he told APP on phone soon after Pakistan lost its classification match to Canada 3-2 on golden goal.

“Believe me this team was not that bad to finish at 12th spot. Senior players, Waseem, Rehan Butt, Sohail Abbas and Salman Akber really let us badly down,” he said in a highly disappointing tone.

Hasan Sardar said he does not see any future for these senior players in Pakistan team.

“Our schemer Waseem failed miserably and that was instrumental in our going so low. Two bad games against India and South Africa proved a disaster for us,” he said.

Responding to doubts expressed in some quarters about alleged match fixing or underplay during the tournament involving some players, he said it was difficult to comment.

However he said it was hard to believe that Pakistan went down to the lowest ebb even below their previous 8th in the world.

He admitted that Pakistan’s top four players lacked in stamina and fitness despite showing better in tour matches. He said goalie Salman Akber was not consistent.

Hasan Sardar said Sohail Abbas failed to prove his worth as penalty corner specialist.

He, however, appreciated skipper Zeeshan Asharf, saying he  played well in difficult times and his checking in the deep and  distribution of ball and so was Shakeel Abbasi who deserve a place in the future national teams.

He said Pakistan team was not that bad to finish at the bottom after reaching the final of Asia Cup in Kuantan (Malaysia) last May.

Associated Press of Pakistan



PHF sack selectors, team management

Upset over Pakistan's performance in the hockey WC, the national federation sacked its selection committee and team management while the entire 18-man squad also resigned.

Pakistan today finished in the last position (12th) in the mega event after losing the play-off match to Canada.

Pakistan Hockey Federation President Qasim Zia the result was against all expectations.

"It is a shameful performance that we have ended up on the last spot in the World Cup, this was something I was not expecting at all from this team," Zia told PTI.

Zia, a former Olympian himself, said that a committee will be formed to inquire into the debacle.

"The immediate step I could take has been taken, but clearly Pakistan hockey today is at its lowest ebb and we need to take drastic measures to set things right," he said.

Meanwhile, all the 18 players in the national team have tendered their resignations in New Delhi owning up the moral responsibility for the shabby performance.

"Yes we have resigned. We have taken this decision voluntarily and we want now the youngsters to take over," senior forward Rehan Butt said.

The sacked chief selector Hasan Sardar announced his resignation just few minutes before the PHF cracked the whip on the selectors, coach Shahid Ali Khan and manager Asif Bajwa.

ESPNStar.com



Pakistan hockey team players retire en masse

Karachi, New Delhi: Upset over Pakistan's worst ever performance in the hockey World Cup, the national Federation today sacked its selection committee and team management while the entire 18-man squad resigned, taking up moral responsibility for the shoddy show.

Pakistan today finished in the last position (12th) in the mega event after losing the play-off match to Canada.

Pakistan Hockey Federation president Qasim Zia the result was against all expectations.

"It is a shameful performance that we have ended up on the last spot in the World Cup, this was something I was not expecting at all from this team," Zia told PTI.

Zia, a former Olympian himself, said that a committee will be formed to inquire into the debacle.

"The immediate step I could take has been taken, but clearly Pakistan hockey today is at its lowest ebb and we need to take drastic measures to set things right," he said.

Meanwhile, all the 18 players in the national team have tendered their resignations in New Delhi owning up the moral responsibility for the shabby performance.

"Yes we have resigned. We have taken this decision voluntarily and we want now the youngsters to take over," senior forward Rehan Butt said.

The sacked chief selector Hasan Sardar announced his resignation just few minutes before the PHF cracked the whip on the selectors, coach Shahid Ali Khan and manager Asif Bajwa.

"I had tendered my resignation well before time because I also feel let down by this shameful performance of the team," Hasan, a former captain, said.

Hasan said they had picked the best possible squad for the World Cup based on their recent performances.

"This was the best team we could pick but unfortunately for inexplicable reasons the team just didn't perform to its potential," he said.

Zia said while he did not expect gold from Pakistan but at least wanted the team to make the semi-finals.

"Their performance is shocking, I have no words to describe what happened. But we are now looking ahead to the Asian Games," he said.

Zia said Bajwa has been removed as manager but would continue as PHF secretary until further decision.

"Bajwa is on elected post as secretary. The PHF board elected him and they will decide on his future but he is no longer manager of now," Zia said.

Pakistan's poor show in the World Cup has drawn sharp criticism in the country and with sports fans already reeling under the cricket controversies, the hockey debacle has only added to the gloom and disappointment.

Former Olympians, Qamar Ibrahim and Mansoor Ahmed and Olympian Islahuddin Siddique held Bajwa responsible for the team's debacle and demanded his removal from the PHF.

"He is a disaster as the World Cup results show. The PHF president must bring in stable and good people to run hockey," Siddique said.

DNA



Battered Pakistan team retire

OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


New Delhi: Pakistan’s humiliation in the World Cup hockey was complete on Thursday when they lost to Canada 2-3 to finish last in the 12-nation competition at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium.

Minutes after the defeat, the entire Pakistan squad announced retirement from international hockey. According to a release from the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), captain Zeeshan Ashraf said all the 18 players were ready to quit in the light of their dismal show in the World Cup, where they lost five of the six matches.

Pakistan coach Shahid Ali Khan said he was sorry for the results and apologised to the nation for the disastrous show.

The Telegraph, India



Players emotional, should reconsider decision: PHF chief

KARACHI: Pakistan's hockey chief Qasim Zia on Thursday said that his players have taken an "emotional decision" by announcing their retirement following a last-place finish in the World Cup in New Delhi.

The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) president was hopeful that the national players will change their mind after returning home and will focus on several important assignments that include the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and the Asian Games in China.

"It's an emotional decision. But I'm hopeful that the boys will reconsider their decision after returning home," Zia said.

The 18 players who have announced retirement are Nasir Ahmad and Salman Akbar (goalkeepers), Zeeshan Ashraf, Sohail Abbas and Muhammad Rashid (defenders), Muhammad Irfan, Waseem Ahmad, Muhammad Imran, Fareed Ahmad and Sajjad Anwar (midfielders), Rehan Butt, Shakeel Abbasi, Abdul Haseem Khan, Muhammad Zubair, Akhtar Ali, Omer Bhutta, Abbas Haider and Muhammad Rizwan (forwards).

Qasim, an Olympian, was confident that Pakistan will bounce back from the World Cup disaster to win the Asian Games. "Pakistan is a good side that is capable of bouncing back."

"We have decided to dissolve the team management and national selection committee because what happened in the World Cup is unacceptable," said Qasim.

Meanwhile, former Olympians have assailed the PHF over the World Cup loss and demanded concrete measures to put Pakistani hockey back on track.

"We want concrete steps, some sort of operation clean up," said former captain Islahuddin Siddiqui.

The Times of India



England into contest for Bronze after Semi Final defeat

In their first World Cup semi final since 1986, England went down 4-1 to a well drilled, resolute and efficient German side going for a record third consecutive World title.  Richard Smith’s 19th minute goal gave England hope of a comeback after going 2-0 behind but a combination of Germany’s near impenetrable back line and the inspirational form of Matthias Witthaus and Martin Haner proved too much on the day.

England will now go into Saturday’s bronze medal match against either Australia or the Netherlands in the knowledge that they can still return home with their heads held high, securing the country’s best ever World Cup result on foreign soil.

Much was made prior to the match of the fact the game was a re-match of the 2009 EuroHockey Nations Championships final, which England won 5-2, but going into the semi final both sides had suffered their respective injury problems.  England were missing three of that European Cup winning side: stalwart Richard Mantell, who flew home after his ankle break against Pakistan, his brother Simon Mantell and Matt Daly who were forced to withdraw from the squad through injury prior to the tournament.  For their part, Germany turned to reserve goalkeeper Tim Jessault two games previously after an injury to Max Weinhold.

England’s only previous experience at this stage of a World Cup came in 1986 when they beat Germany 3-2 on home soil at Willesden en route to the final against Australia.  Head Coach Jason Lee made two changes to the side that started the final Pool B fixture against Spain.  In came Reading’s Iain Mackay and Surbiton’s James Tindall from the start as Bowdon’s Alastair Brogdon and Reading’s Jonty Clarke dropped to the bench.

Early errors from Ben Hawes, Alistair Wilson and Adam Dixon on the bouncy pitch did little to settle the nerves as England tried to settle into possession and they fell behind from Germany’s first penalty corner of the match.  Matthias Witthaus won the penalty corner from which Jan-Marco Montag gave Germany the lead after just six minutes, netting the Germans’ tenth penalty corner goal of the tournament.  His flick low to James Fair’s right came off the glove of the Cannock goalkeeper, down into the ground and across the line.

One of the strengths of England’s World Cup performances has been how the squad has reacted to adversity, often netting immediately after conceding a goal.  Once again they looked to respond quickly and Barry Middleton came close with a flick on from the near post that went just wide of the far post with Iain Mackay launching himself full length in an attempt to get there.  Ashley Jackson then looked to cause problems with a driving run into the German circle that came to an end under pressure from another former East Grinstead player, Martin Haner.

Bowdon forward Alastair Brogdon thought for a moment that he had equalised in the ninth minute when, after beating two German defenders in the inside left channel, he lifted the ball over the goalkeeper Tim Jessault from the tightest of angles and into the net.  Unfortunately for England, umpire Tim Pullman ruled it out after Glenn Kirkham had collided with the goalkeeper just as Brodgon shot.

In the 11th minute England’s task became significantly more difficult when Oliver Korn latched on to a deflected pass in towards the penalty spot as he added his own deflection to take the ball beyond James Fair to make it 2-0 to Germany.

Since the opening goal England had looked to press Germany high up the park and in the 19th minute they were rewarded with their first penalty corner after the ball hit the foot of German defender Linus Butt inside the circle.  With Richard Mantell missing and Ashley Jackson taking a breather on the bench the responsibility for the corner fell to Loughborough Students’ Richard Smith.  Rob Moore’s pull out to the top of the circle had pin-point accuracy and Smith’s low flick straight down the middle of the goal found its way under the left leg of Tim Jessault to pull one back for England.  The goal was Smith’s fourth for England since making his senior international debut in May last year.

Throughout the tournament in Delhi James Fair has been one of England’s many heroes but he saved his best for 22nd minute of this match.  From Germany’s second penalty corner of the game Fair saved the initial low flick from the top of the circle with his right foot.  The block fell to Witthaus right in front of goal just two metres out and he looked certain to score his third of the tournament until Fair’s World Class intervention.  Springing up from the initial save, he thrust out his left glove, diving across to tip Witthaus’ flick wide and maintain the 2-1 scoreline.

Martin Haner then passed a penalty corner wide of the post and England looked to alleviate the pressure through Ben Hawes’ long aerial pass down the right.  A couple of free hits outside the Germany circle came to nothing though and in the 31st minute Germany re-established the two goal advantage from their fourth corner.  Using an alternative option, Germany moved the ball right from the top of the circle to where Haner had time to pick his spot, placing a flick into the top right corner to make it 3-1.

The half time hooter came at a good time for England with Germany looking increasingly dangerous.

Two minutes into the second half and Germany had to deal with two English efforts as their defence first blocked a cross from Beeston’s Ali Wilson before keeping out Ashley Jackson’s shot from the top of the circle.

Germany captain Maximillian Muller then produced an excellent touch on his own penalty spot to divert Glenn Kirkham’s pass into the circle away from the waiting James Tindall at the back post as England continued to probe.

There then followed a lower tempo spell as Germany’s marking limited England’s attacking opportunities.

In the 45th minute, Germany looked to unlock the English defence around the back but Adam Dixon was alert to the danger.  A minute later England were given an advantage when Jan Philipp Rabente went in hard on Richard Alexander and the German was shown the green card, earning himself a two minute suspension.  With the numerical advantage England pressed again through Ashley Jackson.  Working along the right baseline his tantalising pass across the face of goal was clipped clear by Muller again with Ali Brogdon lurking.

Midway through the half, Reading’s Iain Mackay could do little with a weak off balance push shot into the pads of Tim Jessulat and James Tindall came close with a reverse stick effort that flew just over the bar, but the score remained 3-1.

On 55 minutes, James Fair had to save after Martin Haner had fed Christoph Menke on the baseline.  Menke’s cross was cut out by Richard Smith but he could not clear and the shot that came in on Fair’s left post was comfortably dealt with by the 29 year old.  Menke forced Fair into another save four minutes later with a shot on the turn.

With just over ten minutes remaining Germany referred a decision not to give a penalty corner to the video umpire.  The decision to refer proved to be the right one after the replay showed the ball had come off the forearm of Richard Smith and not his hand as the umpire initially thought.  Germany’s corner came up in the middle of the circle and another corner was awarded, to the frustration of James Fair, who referred that decision to the video umpire.  The award stood though and from the penalty corner Germany scored their fourth goal to put the game beyond England.  Fair got down well to save Haner’s low effort but Linus Butt, coming in from the side after pushing the corner out, reacted quickest to slap the ball high into the net.

Two minutes later, Germany threatened again as Martin Zwicker and Christoph Menke opened up the English defence with a pacey one-two but Menke’s effort from the penalty spot went wide of the goal.

England finally found a way through the German defence with five minutes remaining after good close control from James Tindall as he waltzed through the middle of the back line.  He in turn found Barry Middleton in front of goal but Tim Jessulat did well to block Middleton’s close range shot.

England lost Surbiton forward Rob Moore to a yellow card and five minute suspension with just under five minutes remaining, meaning that they finished the match with ten players, as did Germany who lost Philip Witte to a green card shortly after.

Right to the end of the match both sides pushed hard and James Fair had one more telling intervention to make as he saved from Martin Zwicker in the final minute of the game.

At the final whistle England’s players were understandably disappointed to have lost, watching on as Germany celebrated reaching their third consecutive World Cup final.

Captain Barry Middleton, who will have the responsibility of picking his teammates back up for Saturday’s bronze medal match, said afterwards, “Obviously we’re very disappointed.  We found it difficult to break down a resolute German defence and the difference today was the way they played in both circles.”

Head Coach Jason Lee also spoke of Germany’s tight defence, which has now conceded just ten goals in six matches in Delhi: “Germany’s deep defence was outstanding today.  I was proud of some of the things we did today but you can’t afford to give a team like Germany a two goal start.  Ultimately we paid the price for a sloppy first ten minutes.”

Lee though is still tremendously proud of what his team has achieved, and still can achieve, in Delhi: “Today was a game we missed the three guys we’ve lost to injury but I’m still very proud of the squad.”

Team Manager Andy Halliday added: “We now face a test of character to get ourselves back up for the bronze medal game on Saturday but we’ll look forward to the challenge which that will present.”

The bronze medal match takes place at 10:05am GMT on Saturday 13 March.  The match will mark the 100th appearances for England of Surbiton pair James Tindall and Richard Alexander, both of whom won their 99th caps against Germany.  Ashley Jackson will win his 50th England cap on Saturday.

GERMANY 4 (3)

Jan-Marco Montag 6 (PC)            
Oliver Korn 11 (F)                     
Martin Haner 31 (PC)                
Linus Butt 60 (PC)                     

ENGLAND 1 (1)

Richard Smith 19 (PC) 

Squad v Germany

Started


James Fair (Cannock)
Adam Dixon (Beeston)
Ben Hawes (Surbiton)
Richard Smith (Loughborough Students)
Alistair Wilson (Beeston)
Ashley Jackson (HGC)
Glenn Kirkham (East Grinstead)
Barry Middleton (C) (HGC)
Rob Moore (Surbiton)
Iain Mackay (Reading)
James Tindall (Surbiton)

Substitutes Used

Richard Alexander (Surbiton)
Alasdair Brogdon (Bowdon)
Nick Catlin (Loughborough Students)
Jonty Clarke (Reading)
Dan Fox (Hampstead & Westminster)

Did Not Play

Nick Brothers (Reading)
Richard Mantell (Reading) – withdrawn injured

England Hockey Board Media release



England's hope of glory cut to ribbons by Germany in World Cup semi-final

England 1 Germany 4

Cathy Harris, Delhi

Oliver Korn made it 2-0 when he deflected a loose ball past England goalkeeper James Fair. (REUTERS/Adnan Abidi)

England’s hopes of emulating the heroes of 1986 were crushed on Thursday by a rampant Germany team, who cruised into the World Cup final with a commanding victory in Delhi.

The beaten semi-finalists will meet the Netherlands in a play-off for the bronze medal on Saturday, with Germany, the Olympic champions, on course to complete a hat-trick of World Cup titles. They will meet Australia, 2-1 victors over the Dutch, in a repeat of the previous two finals.

After a slow start to the tournament, Germany avenged their defeat in last summer’s European Championship final in style. They exuded the ruthless efficiency and menace that has helped them to qualify for 11 successive World Cup semi-finals against the inexperienced and injury-hit English.

If losing two strikers, Matt Daly and Simon Mantell, before the event was a blow to England, the horrific injury to Richard Mantell, their best defender and penalty-corner specialist, in their third match — against Pakistan — was a setback too far.

England deserved more for their enterprise and endeavour, but encountered opponents who displayed all the hallmarks of champions in a performance of the highest quality. Resolute in defence and clinical up front, they were dominant in every phase. Handed two goals in the first 11 minutes by errors at the back, they buried their chances, leaving England chasing the game with their ambitions of reaching the final — like their illustrious predecesssors in 1986 — in tatters.

Jason Lee, the England head coach, said: “It was a terribly disappointing result and the two early goals were the killer, making it tough to come back. [Richard] Mantell’s injury made a significant difference at the back and we were often chasing shadows.”

Jan-Marco Montag powered home a sixth-minute penalty corner and, five minutes later, Oliver Korn stole in to put Germany 2-0 up. England fought back and Richard Smith reduced the deficit from their only penalty corner of the contest.

Four minutes before the interval, they conceded a third goal when Martin Haner, who spent last season at East Grinstead, drilled in a shot from the set-piece.

England’s inability to capitalise on their possession in the attacking half will haunt them for a long time. Content to absorb pressure, Germany finally broke to score a fourth goal when Linus Butt drove home the rebound from their sixth penalty corner.

“They’re not the world’s No 1-ranked side for nothing and it would have been a huge step for us to reach the final,” Lee said. “I’m very proud of the squad and what they’ve achieved, and there’s no doubt how much they have all learnt.”

The Times



England's finals bid ends in disappointment

Germany 4 England 1

By Patrick Rowley in New Delhi


Holders Germany ended England's hopes of triumph at the Hockey World Cup in Delhi, producing a performance of considerable authority to reach their third successive final.

England’s first appearance in the last four at this level since losing the 1986 World Cup final to Australia began badly and playing catch-up against the holders and Olympic champions was too big a hurdle for their depleted team.

Early jitters were England’s undoing and they were 2-0 behind after only 11 minutes. Five mis-traps, four by emergency right-half Alistair Wilson, in the opening phase, led to Germany’s first corner, which was smartly put away by Jan-Marco Montag.

Five minutes later possession was lost upfield and Germany countered for Oliver Korn to turn in a deflected pass at the far post. The goals highlighted the absence of Richard Mantell, who was recovering from an operation at home rather than playing in the middle of England’s defence.

Though Loughborough Students’ Richard Smith pulled one back midway through the half, there was to be no repeat of August’s European Championship final when they came from behind to beat the Germans. Former East Grinstead player Martin Haner put Germany further ahead just before half-time and Linus Butt’s penalty corner 10 minutes from the end sealed victory.

England will now take on Holland today in the bronze-medal play off, after Australia proved too strong for the Dutch and went through to the Hockey World Cup final with a 2-1 victory. A repeat of the previous two World Cup finals will see Germany attempt to become the first country to win the cup three successive times.

The Pakistan federation sacked coach Shahid Ali Khan, as well as the team manager and selection committee, while all players in the squad announced their international retirement as the side who have won the competition four times finished last at a major tournament for the first time after yesterday’s 3-2 golden-goal defeat by Canada.

The Telegraph



England lose 4-1 to Germany in World Cup semi-final

By Peter Scrivener


Reigning champions Germany ended England's hopes of reaching the World Cup final with a 4-1 victory in their last-four clash in New Delhi.

Richard Smith scored his first goal of the tournament to keep England in touch after Jan-Marco Montag and Oliver Korn had put the Germans 2-0 ahead.

However, Martin Haner converted a slick penalty corner move before half-time to restore Germany's two-goal advantage.

Linus Butt added a fourth from close-range late in the second half.

England will now face the Netherlands in a bronze medal play-off at 1005 GMT on Saturday, after the Dutch lost 2-1 to Australia in the other semi-final.

"I'm quite disappointed with the performance," England coach Jason Lee told BBC Sport.

"We were two-nil down through mistakes of our own making within about 10 minutes."

And Germany, who have won the last two World Cups, deserved to reach their third successive final after starting so brightly.

Montag scored the opener with a crisp strike from a regulation short corner routine.

England almost restored parity from the re-start but Barry Middleton's diving effort flashed across goal, while Alistair Brogdon's mazy run past three German defenders and excellent finish was ruled out for obstruction on the keeper.

And England's misery was compounded when Oliver Korn nudged a deflected through ball past keeper James Fair to double the German's lead.

Loughborough's Smith rifled a shot under German keeper Tim Jessulat from England's only penalty corner of the first half to reduce the deficit, while Fair made a tremendous double save from close range to keep his side close.

However, he could do nothing about the third goal, which came from Germany's fourth penalty corner of the half.

A superbly disguised dummy sent the English defence one way and the ball was flicked the other to Haner who calmly picked his spot.

England were full of endeavour after the break but they were unable to penetrate a German side that was happy to play a more containing game and counter attack on the break.

Not even the sin-binning of Jan Philipp Rabente early in the second half helped the England cause as they struggled to create any clear-cut chances.

And the Germans killed off the game in the final 10 minutes with the help of two video referee referrals that went in their favour in quick succession.

The first came when Germany's appeal for a penalty corner was upheld and although they failed to score, another penalty corner was awarded against England for dangerously deflecting the ball into the air.

England appealed that decision, but the video referee upheld the umpire's initial call and Germany took full advantage, with Butt tucking in the rebound after Fair had made another decent save.

"We had some good play for long periods but, because we were pushing forwards, we opened ourselves up. That's why the scoreline got away from us," added Lee.

"We didn't hit the performance we wanted and, when you do that against Germany, you're always going to struggle," added England's James Tindall.

"If our game had been at its top level today, we could have easily won the game.

"It's all well and good getting to semi-finals but we want to be England the world champions, the Olympic champions."

In the second semi-final, Luke Doerner converted Australia's first penalty corner to open the scoring in the 27th minute and Glenn Turner's goal from open play doubled the lead in the 55th.

The Netherlands finally replied three minutes later with a penalty stroke conversion by Taeke Taekema, but an equaliser remained elusive despite repeated attacks.

Final matches: 13 March Venue: Dhyan Chand National Stadium, Delhi
Bronze medal play-off - England v Netherlands: 1000 GMT. Live on BBC red button (cable and satellite only, replayed on Freeview at 1930 GMT).
Final - Germany v Australia: 1230 GMT. Live on BBC red button (cable, satellite and Freeview). Highlights on this website. Both games replayed from 1400-0600 GMT on cable and satellite red button.


BBC Sport



Germany’s hat-trick

Defending champs enter third consecutive final

Prabhjot Singh


In a rare exhibition of controlled and classic hockey, defending champions Germany completed a hat-trick of making World Cup finals, defeating European champions England 4-1 in the first semi-final of the 12th Hero Honda World Cup Tournament at Major Dhyan Chand National Hockey Stadium here tonight.

Though big margin of victory does not reflect the closeness of the fierce contest, Germany appears to have succeeded in their game plan of taking early lead, consolidating it before their opponents could settle down and hung on to the earlier advantage till the close. The plan supplemented by some strategic planning, solid defence and interventional interceptions did upset calculations of the English team that had made a sensational start with an upset 3-2 victory over Australia.

At no time, the supremacy of the superior Germans was in doubt. Fully conscious of the fact that England has a solid defence supported by an alert and agile James fair in the goal, Germany visibly had set their targets on breaking it for an early lead. On the offensive from th word go, they forced their first penalty corner in the fifth minute and it was Jan-Marco Montag, who as an alternate flicker sprang a surprise for James fair from the middle of the circle strike. With a goal in their tally, the Germans did not look back and went all out for consolidating the lead.

It took them another five minutes to beat James Fair again, this time, a free pass from the 25 yard line as well intercepted by Oliver Korn and he also flicked from almost the same spot from where Montag had scored. Beaten twice, English defence reorganized itself and reinforced their left side defence.

Putting behind the first two reverses, England had no choice but to go for a goal to comeback in the game. But Germany were still on the rampage. Once skippe Bary Middleton while cutting a centre, stopped the ball cleanly but unfortunately fell on the ball to concede second penalty corner for Germany. James Fair, howeve, stood his ground to successive attempts by Wess Benjamin and Montag. Though England were served well by Middleton, Tindall and Richard Smith, they had to wait till 30th minute to have a first good glimpse at the German goal, and a successful one too. Richard Smith made full use of the first penalty corner England earned in the 18th minute.

Once back in the game, after reducing the margin, England did work out some effective moves, penetrating deep into German defence but it was the finish that was not enough to to get past Max Weinhold in the German goal. Five minutes before the teams broke for the breather, Germany had put yet another hurdle in England’s way with a brilliant penalty corner conversion by Martin Haner from the fourth penalty corner.

England and Germany both were beneficiaries of video referrals. While Germany got a penalty corner in the 59th minute, England got a similar award reversed a minute later. It wax during these video referrals that Germany got their fourth and final goal with Linus Butt picking up ball from the pads of James Fair to slam it in the roof of the net.

The Tribune



Germany beat England 4-1 in semis, on course of WC hat-trick

Olympic champions Germany are on course of a historic hat-trick of World Cup titles as they scored a facile 4-1 victory over England in a high-voltage semifinal match here on Thursday.

Germany, who won 2002 and 2006 World Cups, were the dominant side in the clash of two European powerhouses and they made England play a catch-up game by taking a 3-1 lead by the half time.

For the Germans, who were unbeaten so far in the tournament, Jean Marco Montag (sixth minute), Oliver Korn (11th), Martin Haner (31st) and Linus Butt (60th) scored while European champions England pulled one back through Richard Smith in the 19th minute.

Germany dominated the first half with more scoring chances and by forcing four penalty corners. Matthias Witthaus was impressive upfront, making several dangerous runs into the England striking circle.

England, who were playing in their only second semifinal in a World Cup after 1986 at home, got just one penalty corner in the first half.

England tried to come back after the breather and they had more attacks with James Tindall making some fine moves inside the opposition striking circle though it was the Germans who scored the only goal of the second session.

The double defending champions will take on the winner of the other semifinal match between Australia and the Netherlands.

Germany took lead in the sixth minute with Jean Marco Montag's drag-flick hitting the roof of the net as England goalkeeper James Fair just got his stick at the ball.

Germany made it 2-0 with a terrific goal five minutes later. Oliver Korn deflected the ball into England goal from close range off a hard hit from outside the striking circle.

England pulled one back in the 19th minute from their first penalty corner with Richard Smith cleanly pushing the ball to the right of German goalkeeper Tim Jessulat.

Three minutes after the England goal, Matthias Witthaus almost made it 3-1 but his shot off the rebound of a drag-flick from Jan-Marco Mnotag was saved by goalkeeper James Fair.

Germany then produced a fine variation in their penalty corner conversion and made it 3-1 three minutes from the breather from their fourth penalty corner. Martin Haner flicked the ball high up into the England net.

England made several attacks in the second session but failed to give the finishing touches.

On the other hand, Germany scored from the only penalty corner they got in the second session. Linus Butt slammed a rebound off a penalty corner by his captain Maximillian Muller in the 60th minute into the England net.

England could have reduced the margin in the 65th minute but Alastair Wilson's shot from close range was blocked by Germany goalkeeper Tim Jessulat.

Indian Express



Weise: We played as a team

After overcoming England in their last-four tie, German coach Markus Weise said his team played as a unit.

By Adarsh Vinay


Germany coach Markus Weise was pleased after his team saw off England 4-1 in the hockey World Cup semi-final to enter the decider on Saturday. He praised his team for emerging triumphant in what he thought was a close game.

"It was a tight game. The scoreboard does not reflect how close the match really was. It was very tough but we played well, everyone contributed. I am happy with the entire team. We played as a unit," he said.

Martin Haner, who converted a penalty corner in the match, echoed his coach's thoughts. "We played as a unit. We defended with eleven players and were clinical in our finishing as well," the 21-year-old said.

Germany will face either Holland or Australia in the final but Wesie is not concerned about who they will be up against.

"To be world champions you have to beat the best teams in the world. So it does not matter who the opponents are. I don't really care," he said.

The Germans have won the last two World Cups and Weise said it is their mental strength that sets them apart.

"It's not all about tactics. At this level, mental strength also matters. Early goals, tight defending, these little things can make a difference."

If the holders go on to win the final, it will be a record third consecutive title. But Weise played down the matter. "Those are just statistics. It does not motivate me at all. It does not count for anything," he concluded.

ESPNStar.com



A good game: Weise

Sports Reporter


NEW DELHI: German coach Markus Weise was modest after his young team recorded a convincing 4-1 win over England to make the hockey World Cup final here on Thursday.

“It was really tough. The score does not tell what happened on the pitch,” Weise said.

Weise is not one who gets satisfied easily. However, he was proud of the team's showing in the semifinal. “Overall, it was a very good game. Everyone was involved,” he said.

“There are no secrets. It is not only about tactics, but also about the mental game. If we had not scored the early goals and had England make a comeback, it would have been a different game,” he said. Weise said his team had the scope to improve.

England coach Jason Lee said Germany was the better side in the game. “After going down by two goals in the first 10 minutes, it was difficult for us,” he said. However, he praised his team's performance and hoped that it would try to return a better finish. “It has been brilliant. We came as the sixth-ranked team and reached the semifinals, for the second time (in history),” Lee said.

Captain Barry Middleton also admitted that Germany deserved to win. “Germany has some good defenders. I feel the one area where they were better than us was that they were more clinical than us,” he said.

The Hindu



Match was tougher than what score suggests: German coach

NEW DELHI: Happy with his side's 4-1 win over England in the Hockey World Cup semi-final, German coach Markus Weise on Thursday said that the match was tougher than what the score suggests.

"It was really tough for us there. The scoreboard does not represent what happened on the pitch," Weise said.

Weise, known as a hard taskmaster, was satisfied with his team's performance against England. "It's not often that I am pleased, which is typical of any coach. Overall, I am really pleased the way all my boys played."

The coach said whether the Germans play Australia or the Netherlands in the final does not make a difference as both the opponents are capable of putting up a tough fight.

"The team which plays in the final poses the biggest challenge," he said.

The Germans are one win away from achieving a hat-trick of titles, but the coach said the statistics do not motivate him.

Asked about the Germans' success in top flight hockey, he said: "Everybody wants to know the secrets. There isn't any. It is sheer penetration, our method game."

He also said the two early goals put pressure on England. "If we had not got the two early goals and had England got even one, things would not have been the same. It would have been closer."

Weise also praised Martin Haner for his scoring ability. "He is doing a good job. He plays for a first division team, of which he is one of the organsiers. It puts more pressure on him. But that has made him strong. And he is a stable man."

Martin said it is his first big tournament and he badly wants to win the World Cup.

"Even if we hadn't won the Cup earlier, I would have wanted win it here."

But the happiness over the showing of his boys notwithstanding, Weise's voice had a hint of pathos. "How many times we may win the Cup, there will be no recognition for the boys. Only soccer or Formula One with Michael Schumachar matter back home. Other sports don't really count."

"And our victory here will not change things," Weise added.

The Times of India



Consistency, mental strength set up our victory: Muller

NEW DELHI: German captain Maximillian Muller, on Thursday, attributed consistency and big match mental strength as the reasons for their easy 4-1 victory over England in the World Cup semi-final.

"We have been consistent in this tournament. England were a good side but we also played consistently throughout the 70 minutes today. That made the difference," Muller said.

"I think we were better than England in all departments of the game. We played as a team and we were on top after we scored the two quick goals in the first half," he added.

Germany scored their third goal via a fine penalty corner variation and Muller said the players practised different modes of taking the short corners.

"We were having different variations of penalty corner hits and one of them came good today. It was satisfying," he said.

Asked about the famous German big match temperament which saw them won the last two editions, Muller said, "People say we have the big match temperament and we have the mental strength. It is just like that. I am proud to be a German," he quipped with a smile.

Coach Markus Weise said the 4-1 result did not show the difficulty on the field and it was a tough match against the English.

"It was a tough match. The 4-1 scoreboard did not reflect it. Had we not scored the two quick goals in the first half and had England scored two goals the game could have been different," he said.

England coach Jason Lee was candid enough in admitting that the Germans were class apart and they could only learn from them.

"We felt the absence of Richard Mantell and also we lacked experience. They are world number one and we were playing only the second semi-final while they have played in 11 out of the 12 editions. They are much above us in class and we can learn from them," he said.

"They also scored two quick goals in the first half and we were playing catch-up. It was disappointing but in a way we are setting standards in our hockey by playing a semi-final after 24 years. This will take England hockey forward," he added.

England captain Barry Middleton said the difference between the two sides was in the defence.

"They (Germans) were clinical today better than us in all departments. But the main difference was in defence," he said.

The Times of India



Muller: Fuchs has been amazing

German skipper Maxmilian Muller, in an exclusive chat with espnstar.com, shares the secrets behind the team’s run to the final.

By Rajarshi Gupta


The German hockey team is on the threshold of history and skipper Maxmilian Muller is undoubtedly excited.

The reigning Olympic champions now have a chance of becoming only the first team in history to win the World Cup three times in a row, a fact that is not lost on their skipper.

"Despite being the youngest team in the tournament, my boys performed exceptionally. This is a chance all of them were waiting for and with history knocking on our doors, we have to up the ante further.

We have faced and beaten Australia in the last two World Cup finals and we are not at all concerned about facing them again. They are not going to be third time lucky."

Youth has its boons and Muller knew better than anyone why. Florian Fuchs, the 18 year-old striker, has stolen the limelight in the World Cup with his abilities to score and create mayhem in the opposition flanks. The youngest player in the competition is clearly the captain's favourite.

"I have never seen a player under 20 perform so well against world class opponents. He was against some big names but not for a moment was he intimidated. I was amazed to see him play the way he did.

With a talent like him and others in the team, the future of German hockey is in ver good hands."

The defending champions, who were held to a draw by Korea in their opening game of the event, raised their game by several notches and finished the league stages without a single loss, the only team in the current edition to do so.

On Thursday night, the top team in the world was breathtakingly accurate in executing their tactics against the Netherlands, who many believed were favourites to battle for the title. A penalty corner converted late in the second-half was a hall-mark of Germany's eyes for details and synchronised team-work.

"We focus a lot on penalty corners, more than any other team in the world. It is important to realise that converting them can be the difference between winning and losing."

Germany are on a rampage and the Australians, despite their doggedness and agility, will find it tough to surmount their rivals in final on Saturday. Whichever way the title clash goes, it will be a battle worth its weight in gold.

ESPNStar.com



"Too many injuries did us for"

After losing their World Cup semifinal tie, England coach Jason Lee rued injuries to key players.

By Adarsh Vinay


England coach Jason Lee blamed the injuries rocking his squad after they went down 4-1 to Germany in the hockey World Cup semifinal.

Two key players Simon Mantell and Matt Daley did not accompany the England squad as they picked up injuries even before the World Cup started. Jonty Clarke missed the win over South Africa with a hamstring strain while Richard Mantell dislocated his ankle in the 5-2 win against Pakistan.

"We lost Simon and Matt before the tournament commenced. Richard's injury was another blow. That affected us a lot. In every match we took knocks and in the end it was just too many," said Lee.

He added that England's lack of exposure in big matches was another reason. "This is only our second appearance in a World Cup semifinal. The last time was in 1986. For Germany, it was their eleventh straight semifinal. The experience plays a big role."

But the England coach refused to accept that their attacking approach which left them open to counters was their undoing. "We have always played attacking hockey. That way we always create more chances. We may not keep clean sheets but that way we score more. That's always been our style," said Lee.

England had beaten Germany 5-3 in the European championship final last August but Lee said that was a different England team. "We are a different team from the one that beat Germany that day. We were more prepared for that match. The two games do not compare," he said.

But Lee praised the Germans for their performance. "They defended well and their finishing too was clinical. The difference in quality was obvious. Our marking was poor and after conceding two goals we were left chasing shadows."

But despite the loss, the England coach hailed his team's performance in the championship. "We came in as sixth in the world and still we made it to the semis. We are out of the tournament only after losing to the team that's ranked first in the world. So that's a good result. We have learnt a lot," concluded Lee.

ESPNStar.com



Déjà vu final

Australia 2 Holland 1


Holders Germany will meet Australia in the men's hockey World Cup final on Saturday for the third successive tournament.

Olympic champions Germany thrashed England 4-1 in the first semi-final on Thursday to stay on course for a third straight title. World number two Australia, beaten in 2002 and 2006 by Germany, then edged out Netherlands 2-1 in a closely fought contest.

Germany led 3-1 at half-time and defended solidly in the second half to stay undefeated in the tournament at a packed Dhyan Chand National Hockey Stadium.

"The whole team played well," said man of the match Matthias Witthaus. "Now we are looking forward to win the World Cup. With this performance there are possibilities."

Germany were 2-0 up by the 11th minute through Jan-Marco Montag and Oliver Korn. Montag converted a penalty corner for his third goal of the tournament while Korn dived to deflect the ball successfully for an opportunistic goal.

England, who beat Germany in the final of the European championship last year, rallied strongly and scored through Richard Smith before Martin Haner scored Germany's third goal. Linus Butt added a fourth goal 10 minutes from time.

"We were just awesome together. We defended solidly as a team and allowed just one goal," said Haner.

Luke Doerner scored his seventh goal of the tournament and Glenn Turner his sixth to put Australia on top against the Dutch before penalty corner specialist Taeke Taekema replied.

"We knew it wasn't going to be easy. But with goals on the board we defended reasonably well," Grant Schubert said.

The Dutch played aggressively but could not find an equaliser.

"It is disappointing," goalkeeper Guus Vogels said. "We tried until the end," added Vogels who announced that Saturday's bronze medal match against England would be his last international game.

Canada beat former champions Pakistan 3-2 in extra time to finish 11th in the 12-team competition. Scott Tupper struck the golden goal in extra time.

The Telegraph



Aussies leave ‘oranje’ feeling blue

Harpreet Kaur Lamba


New Delhi, March 11: Australia made it to their third consecutive final with a convincing 2-1 win over Holland in the semi-finals of the 12th Hockey World Cup here on Thursday to set up yet another tryst with Germany in Saturday’s title clash.

The Aussies asserted their supremacy right from the word go.

Striker Jamie Dwyer played like a man possessed, making way through the Dutch defenders with ease.

Dwyer, along with robust attack partners Desmond Abbott and Glenn Turner, testing the Dutch defence time and again.

The trio overcame every challenge thrown at them and made life difficult for Dutch defenders Taeke Taekema and Jolie Woulter.

The Aussies also excelled at man-to-man marking keeping dangerous Holland skipper Teun de Nooijer under check.

It was a intriguing mix of free-flowing hockey with a dash of European tactics.

Said Aussie coach Ric Charlesworth after the game, “I saw the last two finals as a spectator.”

“This time I want to break the jinx by beating Germany in the final,” he added. Holland, who finished seventh in the 2006 World Cup, were a pale shadow of themselves and were forced on the defensive by the charging Aussies.

Australia had close to ten shots on goal, as compared to Holland’s tally of three, and that was the story of the day.

De Nooijer was kept quiet for most parts, while dangerous Ronald Brouwer failed to match his speedier opponents.

It was also a battle of two drag-flickers and tournament’s leading scorers Taekema and Oz Luke Doerner, with the latter winning it hands down.

Doerner put the Aussies ahead in the 27th minute — his seventh goal of the tournament — with a penalty corner conversion.

The Dutch also had their share of chances in the first half. De Nooijer missed a close chance in the 26th minute much to the disappointment of his team. The striker snatched the ball off a long overhead cross and hammered in a strong shot, only to hit the goalpost.

Taekema on the other hand erred on occasions while taking the penalty corners.

The Dutch returned better prepared in the second half, but to no avail.

The packed Aussie defence stood like a rock negating all the Dutch buildups.

Turner increased the Oz tally in the 55th minute with a superb goal.

The striker took a quick turn in front of the goalmouth to push the ball past Holland goalkeeper Guus Vogels to make it 2-0.

The Dutch reduced the margin three minutes later — Taekema converted a penalty stroke in the 58th minute — much to the delight of the handful of home supporters.

The teams went for the kill in the dying minutes. The Dutch were desperate to find the equaliser and take the match into extra time, but the Aussies survived the pressure with some superb defence.

England face Holland for the bronze medal playoff.

The Asian Age



Australia enter final

Prabhjot Singh


Australia kept its third consecutive World Cup gold medal appointment with Germany defeating the Netherlands 2-1 in the second semifinal dominated by body and power play at Major Dhyan Chand National Hockey Stadium here tonight. While the first semifinal saw Germany knocking out England 4-1 with an exhibition of classic hockey, Australians relied more on power play to demolish their opponents in a contest of robust tactics and close calls.

The Netherlands were unlucky in the second half not to get a deserving equaliser, especially in the dying moments of the game when skipper Teun de Noojier masterminded several incisive moves but found Luke Doerner and goalkeeper Nathan Burgers too hard to crack.

Amazingly, Australians, who failed to make use of any of 13 penalty corners they earned against England, had the consolation of scoring one of two goals against the Netherlands through penalty corners. Luke Doerner continues to be at the top of individual scorers list with seven goals, all coming from penalty corner conversions.

Australia’s chief coach Richard Charlesworth preferred not to share the team bench. Instead he named his deputy Reid as the coach . And he was jubilant at the outcome of the match hoping this time; the team would convert the Saturday match into a golden triumph against Germany.

Australia made its intentions clear right from the start Skipper Jymie not only played as an excellent game maker but also spearheaded a couple of good moves coming close to scoring in the initial stages of the game.

Experienced Guus Vogels had an excellent time in the Netherlands goal but could not thwart all Aussie attacks. In the 26th minute, when Australia forced its second penalty corner, Guus gave in and conceded the first goal of the match. Earlier, when the Netherlands got its first penalty corner, opportunity went abegging as Taeke Taekema was out. Teun de Noojier was close to putting the Netherlands ahead in the 24th minute but it was not to be.

Australia started the second half with another massive onslaught. Their fourth penalty corner in the 44th minute was abortive. In a counter offensive led by Teun de Noojier, it was Nathan Burgers who stood his ground in what looked a lethal attack with four of the Dutch forwards trying to get past the Australian custodian with ball struck to his kickers. Australia did not have to wait for long. In the 50th minute, Glenn Turner picked a centre in the middle of the circle and hoisted the ball in the net to make it safe for the Aussies. Two goals up

The Netherlands came back strongly and forced a penalty corner that saw Taekema making a powerful flick that hit a defender on the body on the goal line. The Dutch asked for video referral, while umpire had blown for a free hit for Australians, and video umpire converted it into a penalty stroke. This time Taekema had no trouble in beating Nathan. But the Dutch could not progress beyond that.

The Tribune



Australia beat Netherlands 2-1, to meet Germany in the final

NEW DELHI: Australia defeated the Netherlands 2-1 on Thursday to qualify for a third successive final against defending champions Germany in the Hockey World Cup.

The Kookaburras recorded their 10th win in a row over the Dutch in major competitions to set up Saturday's title clash between the top two teams in the sport.

Luke Doerner and Glenn Turner scored once in each half, before Taeke Taekema converted a penalty stroke 12 minutes from the end to narrow the margin.

Doerner and Taekema, the two leading penalty corner specialists, head the goal-scorers list in the tournament with seven goals apiece.

Germany won the last two World Cup finals against Australia in 2002 and 2006, before adding the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

The Germans, hoping to become the first team in history to bag a hat-trick of titles, outclassed England 4-1 in the other semi-final to avenge their defeat in the European Cup final last year.

Germany took a 2-0 lead by the 11th minute as Jan-Marco Montag converted a penalty corner and Oliver Korn deflected in a pass from the right.

England, playing their first World Cup semi-final since 1986, made it 1-2 in the 19th minute with their lone penalty corner of the match when Richard Smith scooped the ball into the net.

Martin Haner and Linus Butt scored on either side of the break to seal the emphatic win for the champions.

The Germans, with just three players who helped win the last World Cup at home in Moenchengladbach in 2006, remain the only unbeaten team in the current tournament with four wins and two draws.

"It was a tough match, the scoreboard does not reflect what happened on the field," said German coach Markus Weise.

"We were clinical, but then a coach is not always pleased. If we had not scored two early goals and England had scored one, it would have been a different game."

England coach Jason Lee said his team's lack of experience told in the end.

"Germany has played in 11 World Cup semi-finals and this was only our second," he said. "We lagged in experience, but we will learn from our defeat.

"Going 2-0 down softly was the turning point. The semi-final did not do justice to the way we played in this tournament."

Australian coach Ric Charlesworth, who played in his team's lone World Cup-winning team in 1986, hoped it will be "third time lucky" against the Germans.

"Semi-finals are always difficult and this too was a difficult game," he said.

"We learnt from our earlier mistakes and stepped up our game. Now I hope we play a further step up in the final.

"Germany are very consistent in their game and have high quality players around the field. They don't have any weaknesses, but we have to find some in the final.

"Who knows, it could be third time lucky for us."

Earlier, four-time champions Pakistan slumped to an embarrassing 3-2 defeat by Canada on Thursday to finish last for the first time in the sport's premier event.

Scott Tupper scored a golden goal two minutes before the end of extra-time in the play-off for the 11-12 positions to hand Canada their first win in the tournament.

The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) reacted to the defeat by sacking the team management, including manager Asif Bajwa and coach Shahid Ali Khan, and the selection committee.

In a separate statement, the PHF's media manager Shahzad Malik said the entire 18-man squad had offered to "retire from international hockey".

The Times of India



Kookaburras advance to World Cup final

The Kookaburras will meet Germany for the third consecutive World Cup final after defeating the Netherlands 2-1 during the semi final in New Delhi, India.

With Germany having won the two previous finals against Australia in 2002 and 2006, the Kookaburras will be looking to gain some revenge when the 2010 final is played on Saturday 13 March.

The Kookaburras have good recent form over Germany, recently defeating them in the final of the 2009 Champions Trophy played in Melbourne last December.

The semi final victory over the Netherlands began at a ferocious pace, with both teams playing on at all costs in order to catch the defence off guard. As they have so often done in the past Australia attacked early, looking to gain an early lead.

However the Dutch defence was up to the task, particularly goalkeeper Guus Vogels who produced several great saves throughout the match. Three time world player of the year Jamie Dwyer was again a focal point in attack for the Kookaburras, while veteran Grant Schubert was also involved heavily in the early stages of the first half.

As the half unfolded the Kookaburras appeared in control, having the majority of the possession and restricting the Netherlands’ few scoring opportunities.

However on there few opportunities they still appeared dangerous, and if not for some good work from defenders Kiel Brown and Graeme Begbie Australian goalkeeper Nathan Burgers could have been under more pressure.

Burgers was forced to step up when the Netherlands were awarded the first penalty corner of the game, however a good save ensured that the Netherlands remained goalless.

Australia’s break through came from their first penalty corner of the night, with defender Luke Doerner scoring his seventh goal of the tournament to hand the Kookaburras a 1-0 lead at the 27 minute mark.

With both teams mistrapping penalty corner attempts in the dying minutes of the half, the score remained 1-0 at the half time break.

The second half began in a different style to the first, with the Netherlands looking more settled and slowing the play in their half which was in direct contrast to the fast paced first half. This resulted in some early shots on goal to the Netherlands, however once again Australia’s defensive unit lead by Burgers and Brown denied any opportunity.

A scare went through the Australian camp when key playmaker Jamie Dwyer left the pitch injured mid way through the half after landing awkwardly on the ball in the Australian circle.

Fortunately he returned to the pitch minutes later, and continued to cause headaches for the Netherlands with his speed and elite ball control skill.

After an even ten minutes the Kookaburras regained the ascendency when striker Glenn Turner received a pass from Simon Orchard in the circle, catching the goalkeeper off guard and scoring Australia’s second goal at the 55 minute mark.

Two goals down on the scoreboard the Netherlands needed to attack at all costs and did, putting the Kookaburras defence under extreme pressure.

When defender Luke Doerner received a yellow card for a tackle outside the circle the Netherlands were awarded a vital penalty corner, giving them a chance to work themselves back into the game with plenty of time remaining.

The penalty corner shot was stopped by the body of Kiel Brown on the goal line, resulting in a penalty stoke which was converted by Taeke Taekema.

With Australia now one player down due to Doerner’s yellow card the Netherlands saw an opening and attacked relentlessly, coming extremely close to finding an equaliser on several occasions.

However to the credit of the Australian team they held firm for the remaining ten minutes, eventually running out 2-1 winners.

Kookaburras 2 Netherlands 1 (1-0 half time)

Goals – Aus Doerner 27m PC, Aus Turner 55m FG Ned Taekema 58m PS

Hockey Australia media release



Oz beat Holland 2-1, set up for the WC final


Australia`s Glenn Turner celebrates after a goal against Netherlands in the Semi-final match during the World Cup Hockey in New Delhi

Mighty Australia continued their rampaging form in the tournament as they overcame a fighting Netherlands 2-1 in the second semifinal of the hockey World Cup here today to set up a re-match of last edition's title-clash against Germany.

With this win, Australia have a golden chance of avenging their 3-4 defeat at the hands of the Germans in the last edition of the tournament in Monchengladbach, Germany.

Germany had earlier defeated England 4-1 in the first semifinal to reach their third consecutive World Cup final.

For Australia Luke Doerner scored his seventh penalty corner of the tournament to top the goal-scorers chart along with Taeke Taekema, who scored Holland's lone goal from a penalty stroke.

In-form striker Glenn Turner scored the other goal for the Aussies to register his sixth goal in the megavent.

Australia were clearly a better side as their opponents found it difficult to match their pace and verve.

The match was a fast-paced encounter with Australia putting The Netherlands defense under immense pressure right from the start.

The Aussies were in their attacking best throughout the game while the Dutch had to work hard to enter their opponent's Dee and were forced to play a catch-up game.

The Aussies got their first big opportunity in the third minute but Grant Schubert's shot from close range was saved by veteran Holland goalkeeper Guus Vogels with his helmet.

Two minutes later, brilliant Vogels yet again denied Schubert the chance to score, saving another powerful shot.

The Netherlands had to wait till the 23rd minute to get their first scoring chance, but Jeroen Hertzberger push from their first short corner was saved by a diving Nathan Burgers on the Australian goal.

Australia broke the deadlock four minutes later through Doerner, who beautifully converted his seventh penalty corner of the tournament and his side's first of the match.

Holland got an opportunity to equalise five minutes from interval from their second short corner but Taekema could not shot a dragflick on goal as the ball was not stopped properly.

The Kookaburras continued their domination after the lemon break and got another chance in the 38th minute through Desmond Abbott, but his shot was saved by a vigilant Vogels.

The mighty Aussies doubled their lead in the 55th minute through Turner, who scored his sixth goal of the tournament.

The Netherland, however, pulled one back in the 58th minute through Taekema who scored from a penalty stroke after video umpire was brought into action.

In the dying stages of the match, the Netherlands played their heart and soul out in search of the equaliser and on two occasions came close to getting it.

The Netherlands will now take on the most impressive side of the tournament England in the third-fourth classification match on Saturday.

Indian Express



We have to improve against Germany: Charlesrworth

NEW DELHI: Australia coach Ric Charlesrworth is pleased with his side's semi-final win over the Netherlands but said they have to play better to beat nemesis Germany in the World Cup final on Saturday.

With just three players from the 2006 World Cup winning squad in their ranks, Germany are a new look team but Charlesworth said they are always a difficult bunch to beat.

"This German squad is different (from 2006). But whatever squad they came with they have always been tough customers. Germans always play consistent game.

"Everybody talked about German defence but they have also very good forwards," he said of the Germans against whom Australia had lost 2002 and 2006 World Cup final.

"We played a good game today. We made a lot of chances though not solid as we can be. We are a good side and we have quality.

"We can play better and we have some of their chinks in mind. It will be a tough match on Saturday and we want to win," said Charlesworth who had won the World Cup in 1986 in London.

Star player Jamie Dwyer said his side wants to change the losing streak in the two World Cup finals -- in 2002 and 2006 -- against the Germans.

"Twice when we came up against Germany in the final we had lost. We want to change it by winning on Saturday. They (Germany) are a very good and solid side, hopefully we will take our chances and win the final on Saturday," said Dwyer, who did not play in the 2006 World Cup final in 2006.

"It could be German defence versus and Australian attack and we hope we will get some early goals," said Dwyer.

Dwyer fell down over the ball during the match but he said he is fully fit to play on Saturday.

The Netherlands' coach Michael Heuvel van Den was disappointed that his side could not make it 2-2 despite putting pressure on the Australians in the last 15 minutes.

"We were able to get away the first 15 minutes without conceding a goal. We also put them under lot of pressure in the last 15 minutes. It is too bad that the result was not 2-2," he said.

"We should have played with short passes instead of lone ones. Because playing long passes you may lose possession. It is extremely sad for those players like goalkeeper Guus Vogels who will not play another World Cup without ever winning it," he added.

The Times of India



Dwyer wants to sign off WC with gold


Australian striker Jamie Dwyer says he is confident of signing off with a title triumph that has eluded his team for the past 24 years.

In his illustrious nine-year international career, Dwyer, who celebrates his 31st birthday today, has not won a World Cup gold though his trophy-filled cabinet has an Olympic gold and three Champions Trophy gold medals.

Thrice FIH Player of the Year -- 2004, 2007 and 2009 -- Dwyer says he is playing in his final World Cup here and he wants to win a gold by helping his team beat old nemesis Germany in the summit clash here tomorrow. Australia had finished runners-up in 2002 and 2006 edition of the event.

"It will be my last World Cup. I will not be there in the next World Cup. I have an Olympic gold and three Champions Trophy gold and only a World Cup gold is missing in my cabinet. So I want to win it this time," said on of the three captains of the Australian side in the tournament.

Dwyer, who has played more than 200 international matches after making his Australia debut in 2001, said his side is determined to win after having lost both the earlier World Cup finals in 2002 and 2006 to Germany.

"Everytime before a World Cup there has been talk about we being the pre-tournament favourites but the Germans came up with something and won. But this time we want to change that and win the World Cup," he said. .

"We are playing very good, attacking hockey. Their defence is very good and they also have some very good forwards like Matthias Witthaus. Our strength is in attack. So it could be German defence versus Australian attack, I hope we convert the chances and score early in the final," Dwyer added.

Dwyer, who uses his signature stick JD 1 after his initials and jersey number, is excited about taking the field this time after watching his team lose 3-4 in 2006 final due to an injury in the semifinal against South Korea.

"Yeah, it was hard to watch the final (in 2006) from the stands but this time I will be playing in the final. I will just go out and enjoy my last World Cup match," said Dwyer, who scored the winning goal in the gold medal match against the Netherlands in the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Dywer, who played for Maratha Warriors in the Premier Hockey League in 2007, was a bit disappointed with the lack of crowd support for his side.

"India is one of the places where I want to play hockey.

But we are not getting much crowd support. Whenever we play either they are supporting the Dutch or the English. I don't know why is this," wondered Dwyer, who has played club hockey in Spain and the Netherlands.

ESPNStar.com



South Africa meet New Zealand for Hockey World Cup ninth spot

JONATHAN COOK


THE winners of the last two Hockey World Cups, Germany, will have the chance to make it three in a row after they qualified for the 2010 final following their 4-1 defeat of England in the semi-finals in New Delhi, India Thursday.

Thursday's other semi-final saw World Cup favourites Australia beat the Netherlands 2-1.

South Africa, meanwhile will meet New Zealand in Friday's playoff for ninth place.

The SA match will be live on SuperSport 7 from noon Friday. This one could go either way, and it depends on who brings there "A game" into the match.

Saturday's World Cup final between Germany and Australia will be televised live on SuperSport 7 from 2.35 pm.

As reported, the semi-finals were quite inexplicably not televised and, not satisfied with SuperSport's non-answer as to why, the TV broadcaster was contacted by e-mail once again in a bid to unravel the mystery.

"We only have rights to SA matches and for us to televise the semi-final would have depended on SA qualifying for the semi-finals," was SuperSport's reply.

Irrespective of who qualifies for the last four of any World Cup tournament, whatever the sports code, the onus surely lies with the broadcaster to secure the rights for the semi-finals, particularly as it has secured the rights for the final!

This is made even more confusing in that the 2006 World Cup semi-finals in Germany were televised by SuperSport.

And the likelihood of SA reaching the semi-finals was low, a long shot at best. Even the players and coach would admit that the main focus was to improve South Africa's ranking rather than seriously consider winning the tournament.

At the time of going to press, SuperSport had again not replied to a request for a more plausible explanation.

Thursday's other result: (11/12) Canada 3 Pakistan 2.

Friday fixtures: (9/10) New Zealand vs South Africa (SS7 from noon); (7/8) Argentina vs India; (5/6) South Korea vs Spain.

SA Hockey World



Still much left to prove in cup play-off match

By Terry Maddaford


NEW DELHI - On the rugby field this would be the clash of the year.

At the Hockey World Cup it is the first game on the penultimate day - a play-off for 9th-10th.

For South Africa it is the chance to improve their world ranking after arriving as the 11th-best team (of 12 and with Argentina, who will play India for 7th-8th in the following game, the only team ranked behind them).

For New Zealand it is a nothing like what coach Shane McLeod and his players had hoped for as the world No 8 and who now fear a rankings drop in a year in which they still have so much to play for.

The two countries have met only once at the World Cup - in 2002 in Kuala Lumpur - with New Zealand winning 2-1 in pool play.

Despite slumping to their biggest loss of the tournament in going down 5-2 to defending champions Germany, the Black Sticks will start favourites.

They have scored five goals less than the Africans - eight against 13 - but defensively they are well ahead in conceding 12 compared with South Africa's 28.

McLeod is looking for more of what his team produced in an emphatic 20-minute spell in the second half against the Germans when they scored twice and just failed to covert a third.

"I was not happy with what we produced in the first half," said McLeod.

"That's when the game was lost, not with those two late goals the Germans scored. It [qualifying for the higher play-off] was in our hands but we couldn't finish the job off when we did get back to 3-2.

"We have struggled since we lost Phil Burrows but we can't use the players we do not have here as an excuse all the time. There are others who need to look at themselves and ask whether they are playing their best hockey ...

"Too often Ryan Archibald, always our go-to man, has been isolated. Without a partner he struggles. That is where we are missing a player like Phil.

"Some players have done okay," said McLeod.

"When Blair Hopping pushed forward he gave us some attacking options. In the second half against Germany I thought Nick Wilson was very good but we have not been consistent enough across the park."

After two day's break and with just pride to play for, this is the Black Sticks' last chance to save face.

In today's late game, South Korea meet Spain in the 5th-6th play-off.

The New Zealand Herald



India look to end on high

Harpreet Kaur Lamba


New Delhi, March 11: A 7th-8th place playoff may not count much for over a billion Indians following the national hockey team at the 12th World Cup here. But for Jose Brasa and his boys, the tie against Argentina on Friday holds a lot of significance.

It gives them a chance to give their world ranking a massive push; a chance to register their best-ever finish since the 1994 Sydney World Cup, and a chance to somewhat redeem lost pride.

India were a regular at the prestigious Champions Trophy tournament, rubbing shoulders with the best in the world, till a slide in rankings saw them miss out on event after 2005. It robbed them of an opportunity to compete against the best.

The 7th-8th finish here would be marginal plus for the Men in Blue, who finished a disastrous 11th at the 2006 edition at Monchengladbach and the 2008 Chile disaster, when they failed to make it to the Olympic Games for the first time ever.

Said coach Brasa, “We have to be realistic. No one was expecting India to win the World Cup here. The boys have put up a decent show so far and require at least a year to match top teams like Australia and Holland. I would say a beginning has been made here.”

Argentina are 14th in the world rankings and the stakes are no different for them. A good ranking here would go a long way in resurrecting the team’s fortunes.

Said coach Pablo Lombi, “If we finish seventh here, it would be a great achievement for the boys. But I know it is a tough task for them as well, because we are up against a good team like India.”

The Vila brothers — Matías and Lucas — spearhead the Argentinean attack besides Den Bosch Rodrigo. The team also rely heavily on the penalty-corner skills of Pedro Ibarra, who top-scored at the World Cup qualifiers in Quilmes.

Lombi added that he has special plans for India. “We have to cut down on the spaces against India and then get down to man-to-man marking. We will make it tough for India if we execute our plans properly,” he said.

Asked if the crowd would be a factor, Lombi said: “I don’t think so. But it will be exciting to play against them. They are improving as a team and we can give them a tough fight.”

For the record, India have met Argentina seven times in the World Cup and lost on four occasions, including the 2-3 loss in the last World Cup for the 9-12 place play-off.

The Asian Age



Best chance for India to reignite hockey passion

Dhanraj Pillai


The Indian team management and players will be quite satisfied with their position as they go into the match against Argentina for the 7th-8th position in the World Cup. Whatever the result, it will be much better than our 11th place finish in the last World Cup.

India will not get a better chance than this to end on a positive note, and it will give a huge fillip to the team that is in a building phase. We also need to retain the interest of the average hockey fan, which has been re-ignited by this World Cup.

A seventh place finish will also ensure that we are the first choice team to get into the Champions Trophy in case one of the top six cannot make it for some reason.

One can’t help but look back with a tinge of regret at what could have been achieved after our rousing performance against Pakistan in the opener. Our performance plumbed thereafter and had it not been for Shivendra Singh’s last-minute equaliser against South Africa, we would have been playing for 9th-10th position.

Let bygones be bygones, it’s time to look ahead to the match against Argentina and their talented players, most of whom are plying their trade in the Dutch Premier League.

Having played in four World Cups, I know how tough it is to motivate oneself to play classification matches and India will have to live up to its reputation of being a mentally strong team moulded by coach Brasa. It is high time Sandeep Singh shows his class and converts some penalty-corners, as India will always be at a disadvantage if he does not pull his weight in PC conversions.

India will have to be at their physical best to combat the body play of the Argentineans. They will be looking to use their body to block our speedy forwards Shivendra, Arjun Halappa and Rajpal. It will be very important for us to push players forward in numbers so that they are at hand to help the forwards. I would advise the forwards to refrain from carrying the ball for too long. Instead, they should opt for the short wall-to-wall passes, which would require our players to work in close proximity.

Hindustan Times



India hit another familiar roadblock against Argentina

Alok Sinha


NEW DELHI: The final hurdle is here - it’s a familiar roadblock which has seen India stumble often in the past. The Blue Sticks take on Latin American champions Argentina for the seventh spot on Friday and the contest between these two teams promises to be a bruising affair.

Argentina have always raised their game against India - be it the World Cup or anywhere. The World Cup head-to-head figures say this story well: Argentina have won four of the seven contests, with India winning two and one ending in a draw.

Argentina are known for their compact, physical game; they are not a flair team like their football superstars. They are tenacious in defence and rely on counter-attacks to trouble their rivals. They have raised their game here and the possibility of going higher up the rankings ladder will be a huge motivating factor for them.

In fact, in a country which is now passionately following every move being made by Diego Maradona’s men, on and off the field, the achievements of the stick masters would have not got the attention it deserves. Coach Pablo Lombi understands this but said that he’s happy with what his boys have achieved here. "Top eight finish opens up possibilities. The government will give us more money for playing tournaments," he told a news agency.

As for India, finishing on a winning note will leave the fans with some happy memories from a tournament which has come home after years. They have won just won one game so far and came close to winning the second against South Africa. Friday gives them the opportunity to set a few things right. Seventh-place finish does not sound big but it would surely be an achievement for this team. It would be their best finish in 16 years.

They have made errors, conceded early goals, often failed to make inroads in the midfield and also missed opportunities upfront. But the positive bit is that India have played like a team; a team which fights when chips are down. They need to get that spirit going against the men in blue and white stripes.

India’s coach Jose Brasa would be hoping they would. "Hopefully we can win against Argentina. That wouldn’t be too bad."

The Times of India



India’s task not easy

OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


New Delhi: In 1982, when India finished fifth in the World Cup hockey in Mumbai, there was uproar over their poor performance. Much water has flown down the Ganges since then, and under the present circumstances, a seventh place finish in the 12-nation meet would be regarded as an achievement by the home fans.

To do that, India, however, will have to get the better of Argentina at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium Friday. The Argentines are known for posing trouble whenever they meet the eight-time Olympic champions.

Although chief coach Jose Brasa has promised victory, India’s performance in the current tournament has so far remained dismal.

The Telegraph, India



"World Cup is only the beginning"

Despite its lacklustre showing in the hockey World Cup, coach Jose Brasa believes this Indian team is improving.

By Adarsh Vinay


After a 4-1 thrashing of archrivals Pakistan had given India's hockey World Cup campaign a flying start, the hosts flattered to deceive. They did not win a single match since the opener and will take on Argentina for the seventh-eighth play-off on Friday. Despite their poor performance, coach Jose Brasa still has ample faith in the team.

"I am happy with this team's performance. We are still working on our style of open, attacking hockey but in my opinion this team played well," he said.

Before the tournament commenced, Brasa had targeted a fifth-place finish. Now the best India can manage is seventh, provided they beat Argentina. But Brasa believes that top-eight is also no mean feat.

"Yes, I had aimed for the fifth position but seventh or eighth is also not bad for a team ranked twelfth. It is not a small jump, we are still improving. The World Cup is only the beginning," said the Spaniard.

Brasa added that there was no short cut to solving the problems in Indian hockey. He said the whole process would take time. "These are 30-year old problems we are talking about. Nothing can be changed in one year. Change will happen, but it will take time," he said.

The India coach reckons that the clash against the South Americans will be a tough encounter but he expects India to win. "Argentina may have scored a lot of goals but they have also conceded many goals. They have been involved in some very close matches in the tournament. We should be able to beat them. I will be very disappointed if we don't."

He added that home advantage will also play a crucial role. "When we last met them, we beat them in Salta (in December). So we should definitely be able to beat them on home turf."

ESPNStar.com



Brasa looks ahead for seventh place

M.S. Unnikrishnan


Chief coach Jose Brasa said it was certainly an upward movement for the Indian team that they would be fighting for the seventh-eighth position when they take on Argentina in the placement match of the 12th Hero Hondia FIH World Cup Hockey Championship at the National Stadium here tomorrow.

India had finished 12th in the 11th edition in Germany, and now they will be vyeing for a far better placing and Brasa does not want his team to suffer yet another defeat. "I will be sad if we lose to Argentina. If we finish seventh or eighth, we are improving". He said it was his dream to see India through to the semi-final. That did not happen and the next best goal was the fifth position. That also eluded India. "To finish fifth would have been very good. And to finish 7-8 would be normal. Not very good, but it shows improvement", he noted.

Brasa said he had made some changes in the seven months he had been at the helm of the national team."We have improved. May be we can get better results", he said, talking about the match against Argentina tomorrow. India had beaten Argentina in the Champions Challenge in their own back yard to win the bronze, and Brasa expects that his boys would play an encore. He said the team had played some tough matches, some difficult matches. "We have played open, attacking hockey. Our team will play well against Argentina". He said he would not take Argentina lightly as they had got lots of goals and conceded lots of goals too.

Looking ahead at the Commonwealth Games and then the Asian Games, Brasa said the team preparation should revolve around playing matches. "We have to play important matches at the right time. Playing against Pakistan is good (Hockey India is planning a series against Pakistan). They are our neighbours, they have a good hockey level. They played well against Australia."

The Tribune



It's a normal result: Brasa

Y.B. Sarangi


NEW DELHI: India coach Jose Brasa is not too excited about the host's performance in the hockey World Cup. India finished 11th in the previous edition and on Friday it will take on Argentina in the contest for the seventh and eighth places.

“It is a normal result, not good, not excellent. I am sad,” Brasa said. “I had said that semifinal will be a dream and if we finish 5th it will be a good result. Finishing seventh or eighth means, it is normal. We are just improving,” he said.

The Spaniard expected that India would beat Argentina to bag the seventh place. “If we lose, I will be sad. In (Champions Challenge) Salta, we had beaten them for the bronze medal. We will have a tough match like any other match in the World Cup,” he said.

Captain Rajpal Singh said India should beat Argentina comprehensively to prove its improvement. He said the team had high expectations from experienced forward Deepak Thakur. “He has done well for the country in the past, I hope he does well tomorrow,” Rajpal said.

Brasa, however, defended Thakur even though the striker was not fully fit. “He has a good brain which is helpful for the team. His leadership and belief in himself are the factors which help other players,” the coach said.

“It is a mathematical way to say that we won one and drew one. But one should look about the way the team has played. We played in a very open and attacking way and we played well,” he said.

The coach said the side could not become a world beater overnight. “Things cannot be changed just like that. We have not been allowed to change a lot of things. We have improved by changing a few things. We will improve more if we change more,” he said.

He said the team must play exposure matches against elite sides before big tournaments.

Talking about the players' strike in Pune just a few weeks before the World Cup, Brasa said, “The strike was good for the players. It has got the team together. I had said this in Pune before all the television cameras,” Brasa stressed, indicating that the unified side returned a decent result.

The Hindu



India has a tough task

Hockey Correspondent


New Delhi: India takes on Argentina in what is viewed as a face-saving contest of the Hero Honda hockey World Cup on Friday.

If the verdict is favourable to the home team, the seventh spot would be a marginal improvement on the 11th in the last edition at Monchengladbach in 2006.

Can this happen? This is the poser, given the predictability of India's unpredictability and Argentina's better record in the World Cup.

Poor showing

Statistics are not sacrosanct in the light of the fact that both teams struggled to take the fourth spot in the table.

India's poor showing after the great start against Pakistan and the manner in which the team managed to stay in the reckoning for a 7-8 tie after drawing 3-3 with South Africa, is a cause for concern.

On the contrary, Argentina improved after an insipid start against the Netherlands, steadily improved its showing and bundled the Kiwis out of contention for the same spot and then almost outplayed Canada in the final tie.

Argentina has always been an enigma for India and continues to be. It plays a brand of hockey, the essence of which is power amalgamating with aggression.

Sharp strikers

All the frontline players like Mario Almada and Lucas Vila are sharp strikers who can turn the contest around in minutes.

So, it goes without saying that India has a huge task to conquer a formidable outfit. The positive point is that in the last encounter at Salta, India had beaten Argentina for a podium place.

How well India makes capital of the porous Argentine defensive structure is to be watched with interest.

There is no denying that Rajpal Singh and his players owe a debt to the large crowd whenever India figures in a contest in this World Cup.

A seventh place is no consolation for all the resources, time and effort spent on preparing the national squad. But a win tomorrow will be a balm to the many wounded hearts here.

Never have the expectations been greater before the 12th edition. But many of them have been belied.

The Hindu



Brasa expects a tough fight from Argentina

NEW DELHI: India coach Jose Brasa is expecting a tough fight from the Argentines in their classification match for the seventh-eight places in the Hockey World Cup on Friday.

"Argentina have scored lot of goals in the tournament but they have also conceded a lot. It will be a different match against Argentines. They will surely give us a tough fight," said the Spaniard on the eve of his team's game at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

"We have beaten them in their backyard in Salta. I will be sad, but not surprised, if we lose against them."

Asked if he expects a rough match against the South Americans, Brasa said: "I don't think they have used their body like the Australians. In my view, the Australians were very rough in this tournament."

Brasa went on to add that a seventh place would be an improvement for India, even though his boys had dreamt of a semi-final finish.

"Semi-final was a dream, but it was a tough one. But even if we finish seventh, it would be a big improvement, although a small one. Fifth-sixth place finishes would also have been good, but we would be satisfied to finish seventh or eighth," he said.

Brasa said a lot needs to be changed if India want favourable results.

"We have to change a lot of things. The day we can do that, India will be a much improved team. But I must say that team is playing well but we still have a long way to go. All throughout the tournament, we have played in an attacking way," he said.

Asked about the proposed bilateral series with Pakistan, he said: "Pakistan failed to recover from their loss against India. But I must say they are not a bad team. They are our neighbours and it would be good to play against them."

The Times of India



India aim for best finish in 16 years

The encounter brings along with it a golden opportunity for India to redeem some lost pride.


Aiming for their best finish in 16 years, hosts India would find much-improved Argentina a tough nut to crack when the two team's lock horns in the seventh-eighth place play-off match of the hockey World Cup here on Friday.

The encounter brings along with it a golden opportunity for India to redeem some lost pride after having finished a lowly 11th out of the 12 teams in the last edition of the tournament in Monchengladbach, Germany four years ago.

This will also be eight-time Olympic champions' best-ever performance in the Wold Cup after 1994 in Sydney where they finished fifth. And it should come as an added motivation for the Rajpal Singh-led side against the aggressive Argentines.

The Indians, however, should consider themselves lucky enough to be playing seventh-eighth play-off match against Argentina after having finished their pool stages with just four points out of the five matches.

After the early spark against Pakistan, India slumped to three consecutive defeats against Australia, Spain and England and then split points against a lowly South Africa in their group engagements.

But tomorrow would be a completely new day for Rajpal's men as they take the ground aiming to prove a point that India is slowly and steadily improving. The Indians have been guilty of conceding early goals in the tournament and they will have to do away with this habit on Friday as the South Americans have always been good at holding on to the lead.

So far in the tournament, the Indian defence wore a defeated look with the duo of Sandeep Singh and Dhananjay Mahadik proving to be duds. And they can't afford to repeat the same mistakes against the Argentines, who seldom make errors in banking on the odd chance they get.

To add to India's woes, Sandeep's penalty corner conversion has been a concern for coach Jose Brasa, who depended heavily of the drag-flicker to come good against the formidable opponents in the group stages. However, what is heartening for India is the coordination between mid-field and forward-line and the fighting spirit.

"We are improving with every match. In every match, the boys fought till the last breath," Brasa had said. Skipper Rajpal Singh said a seventh place finish in the tournament wouldn't be such a bad result for India. "The team has improved and we played well. Hopefully, we can win tomorrow and finish seventh in the world. On hindsight, that wouldn't be too bad," he said.

Argentina, on the other hand, have been erratic in the tournament so far but made significant improvement in the later stages of their group encounters. The Indian forwards would find it very difficult to crack the Argentine defence, which is known for its man-to-man marking and power play.

Going by the head-to-head record between the two sides in World Cup, Argentina hold an edge over India. The Argentines have played India seven times in the World Cup and won four matches and lost two while a lone game ended in no result.

Friday's match against India is also crucial for Argentina hockey, which is battling hard to make its presence felt in the soccer-crazy nation. "It is an exciting final game for us. This World Cup I very important for Argentina hockey. If we finish seventh or eighth, it will open lots of possibilities for the team to play more international matches. The government will also be interested in giving money to hockey," Argentina coach Pablo Lombi said.

"It would be difficult for us to play in front of such a huge crowd which is not normal in Argentina, but there won't be any pressure on us against India. I would b a good experience for us," he said. Lombi has already prepared his tactical strategies to curb the Indians on Friday and said, "India have very good individual players. Our tactic would be not to give too much space to the Indians and one-touch hockey in small space."

Meanwhile, in other classification matches of the day, South Africa will face New Zealand for ninth-10th place while Korea would be up against Olympic silver medallist Spain for the fifth-sixth spot.

Indian Express



Hockey in a very bad phase in India, Pakistan: Khan

BHOPAL: Former Olympian Aslam Sher Khan feels India and Pakistan's World Cup flop show proves that hockey is still going through a very bad phase in the region although due to varying reasons.

"While in Pakistan, hockey is going through a bad phase as the country itself was in turmoil, the game is suffering in India due to other reasons," Khan, also a senior Congress leader, said.

"Some time back we had the Indian Hockey Federation which was dissolved and its place was taken by an ad hoc committee and this too was also disbanded some time later," he said.

The former hockey Olympian said that "the game was being run in India through what is known as Hockey India but even till today, this body has failed to get recognition from the government."

"Hockey is being run in India at the whims and fancies of the FIH and the first indication of this was that a Spaniard was appointed as the coach of the Indian national hockey team," he said adding "there was no point in having a coach from abroad for the Indian hockey team as there are many stalwarts who could have taken up this job easily and done it in a much better manner."

Khan also said that former greats of hockey were being treated as second class citizens by Hockey India.

"While those having connections with the FIH were able to sit in VIP galleries during the recent World Cup matches, former players were made to sit in an enclosure from where they were not allowed to move out."

He said that these players even had a tough time in getting passes for the world cup matches. The former Olympian added that "the manner in which the Spaniard coach Brasa handled the Indian team left much to be desired."

Brasa even went to the extent of interfering in the selection of the captain for the national team, he said.

"His job as a coach was to make the team work and not get involved in the captain selection," he added.

The Times of India



Taekema: Referrals slowing games

The Netherlands striker Taeke Taekema, who is the World Cup’s joint leading scorer so far tells espnstar.com that personal milestones mean nothing.

By Rajarshi Gupta


Distraught after losing the semi-finals 1-2 to Australia, Taeke Taekema has still enough left in him to restore some pride for the Netherlands, who were knocked out of the title race in a close semi-final.

Currently on top of the pile of goal-scorers with Australia's Like Doerney, the Dutch number 10 spoke exclusively to espnstar.com after the tense clash on Thursday. Excerpts

Rajarshi Gupta: You must be aware that the Netherlands were the crowd favourites after India failed to make it to the last-four.

Taeke Taekema: Yes, we were all pretty excited with the support the team has got in India. In fact, the team always find support wherever we travel but in India, it was just brilliant and that's why this defeat (against Australia) will hurt for some time to come.

RG: But you have some other battles to win. You can still beat England to be number three.

TT: Oh yes. That will be a huge match too. England have been wonderful in the World Cup and they will be a tough unit to break. However, we need to recharge our batteries and come back strongly after this defeat.

RG: Not bad, you are already shaping for the next match.

TT: (Pauses) I am not thinking of the England match that much. The emotions from the semi-final are still pretty high. We made some mistakes in the semis and we need to correct them but the team has played brilliant hockey in the tournament. There is no reason why we should not repeat that against England.

RG: Are video referrals here to stay?

TT: The referrals were meant to serve a purpose and the purpose was to make as many correct decisions as possible. But I think they are breaking the rhythm of the game and slowing it down. This is no criticism but a suggestion for the FIH to ponder over.

The amount of time it takes for a team to appeal and a correct decision to be made is too long. I hope that gets looked at as we move forward. There is nothing wrong with the motive but it's just that there are certain things that can be changed about it.

RG: But the entire team looked out of rhythm against Australia and video referrals had very little to do with it. You were just not as fluent on the field as you have been.

TT: Well, we had made some tactical changes for the semis. The team had decided not to take any chances and keep the Aussies away from the game by engaging high-balls between ourselves. That did not work somehow and they were just too good on the day. The boys tried to fight Australia hard, though.

RG: You took a penalty stroke when the Dutch were trailing by two goals and there was still a chance for you to take the game to extra time. What were you going through?

TT: I was tensed and it was not easy taking that stroke. I knew if I scored, we still had time to try for another one and take the game beyond regulation time. There were so many things going through my mind but I was relieved to see the ball hit the back of the nets.

RG: Lastly, there is a huge personal incentive. You are tied with Like Doerned for the highest number of goals (seven) in the tournament. Both of you have a match each to play. You can overtake him.

TT: I don't have any personal ambitions. I have been the highest scorer in some of the major tournaments in the world so there is no greed of reaching a particular target. I will be happy if I don't score and the team wins. We play to win and that is what drives us.

ESPNStar.com



Now, game contemplates own goal

V Narayan Swamy


NEW DELHI: Think like football. The message may not be new to the mandarins of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) attempting to make hockey as arresting a spectacle as the planet's most popular sport but it may well be for those who thought the game had drifted enough in search of its own identity in the last few years.

Now, hockey is planning a shot at what has been a typical football trait: own goals. In discussion and trialled for many years, the concept of own goals hasn't been able to convince the game's rule makers enough for it to be implemented in international games.

That is because of the physical nature of play that has taken over the game in the recent years. Obviously, the FIH does not want long hits and inadvertent deflections to lead to goals as well as unattractive hockey.

Interestingly though, it is this very reason that has had the Hockey Rules Board waking up to the reality that people are excited when the ball hits the net - from any part of the field.

"Sometimes, the ball finishes in the net and the crowd yells goal, even if the shot comes from outside the circle. Sometimes, the attacker hits it from inside the circle and ball goes in off a defender. Shouldn't we move on from giving the defender the credit instead of the attacker?" asked HRB vice president Roger Webb, as he explained the logic behind the move.

The FIH does not believe in getting rid of the striking circle but feels the own goal may decongest the circle a wee bit and help umpires breathe that much more easily.

"It is being considered by the HRB and studied informally. We have this rule in the European Hockey League. We have been thinking of many possibilities to make the game interesting and this is one of them."

If it happens, defensive play, the passback and the slapshots between defenders, all close to the goal, may undergo a change as sloppy trapping may even lead to a goal.

Webb does not rule out this possibility although he feels the long hits into the circle and deflections may be ugly to watch. "We have to consider all implications. We can't have long, hard hits into the circle with the intention of a deflection into the goal. That will destroy hockey. It will be contrary to many other changes that we brought to make hockey safe and enjoyable sport."

So what will govern the own goal? "That's still being studied. Think like football. Maybe we may still have rules that will legitimise own goal without making the game look scrappy."

The Times of India



Bollywood stars, politicians stay away from World Cup

Prabhjot Singh


Was it for a cause or pure commercial consideration that Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra, cricketer Virender Sehwag, shooter Raghuvendra Singh Rathore appeared in “Dhak dhak go” promo that wanted people to come and support Indian hockey team in the World Cup at Major Dhyan Chand National Hockey Stadium.

Unfortunately, none of them could either make it to the venue of the event or their presence went unnoticed. Not only Priyanka Chopra, Virender Sehwag or Raghuvendra Singh Rathore kept their date with hockey, even others, including Ambassador of hockey Sunil Shetty, and the Big B (Amitabh Bacchan), who volunteered to help Indian hockey players, failed to spare time for the sport, they claim they love most.

Not only Bollywood and other sport stars, even political leaders, including Chief Ministers and Sports Ministers of different states, could spare time to watch this biggest hockey event. Many politicians and bureaucrats looking after sports department would have made a beeline in case this event or similar international sporting events are organised overseas.

How many of the bureaucrats and politicians who visited Beijing during the 2008 Olympic Games came to see the World Cup matches here. Their love is perhaps not for sports but for jaunts abroad. Intriguingly, had it been cricket, they would have done everything to secure special invites, not only for themselves, but also for all members of their families, to see each and every game of the World Cup.

Blame must go to Hockey India, Indian Olympic Association and the organising committee of the World Cup. None had done any home work to make a list of invites. Even those who wanted to come but were not invited had their faces sullen in anguish. Their grouse is that their contribution to the sport has been ignored.

Besides, their right to get invitations for all major events of the sport has been violated. Not many of them even made efforts to get in touch with the organisers or buy tickets to watch the biggest event of the sport they love most. On the opening day, Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dixit came. Though the Union Minister of Sports Manohar Singh Gill watched most of India games here, other ministers, both from the centre and the states remained conspicuous by their absence.

Interestingly some states who announced special grants for players, too, could not make it to the union capital to come, watch hockey and back up national team. Tailpiece: While FIH claims that more than 50 per cent of its total revenue comes from India, the country does not have enough to support and sustain its own national team players.

The Tribune



Pakistan needs a broad base for hockey game: Zeeshan Ashraf

NEW DELHI: Pakistan hockey team captain Zeeshan Haider said on Thursday that Pakistan needed a broad and strong base for the game of hockey.  Talking to APP here, Zeeshan said for promotion of hockey in the country, Pakistan Hockey Federation had set up  eighteen hockey centres where young boys were being trained now. 

“We are expecting good players to be emerged from these centres  in the next four or five years,” he said.

Commenting on the recent failure of Pakistan team in the Hockey World Cup here, he said team could not play as a combined team. Poor finishing and defence along with gross individual mistakes and bad luck were the causes of this disaster despite the  fact that the present team had performed well in the Asian Games last year. 

To a question about making major changes in the team before next tournament, Zeeshan said it was not possible at present, as there was a group of 35 players or so in the country only which were being reshuffled. The country needs a good nursery for the game, he observed.

Associated Press of Pakistan



Pak-India agree to revive bilateral hockey series

LAHORE - Pakistan and India have agreed to revive bilateral annual test series on home and away basis.

“Apart from bilateral hockey men series both the countries have also agreed to expand the span of mutual hockey ties and women teams of Pak-India will also be also be involved in a similar venture”,said a spokesman of the Pakistan Hockey Federation in a message made available here from India where the team is taking part in World Hockey Cup.

He said preliminary discussion was held on Thursday between Secretary,PHF,Muhammad Asif Bajwa and Secretary,Indian Hockey,Narinder Batra and matters to promote hockey between the two countries were discussed in length.

“In addition to the test series, the two federations also decided to exchange players for their domestic hockey leagues and to commence an eight team double leg sub continental league to be played in both countries. Four teams from each Pakistan and India will participate “,he said.

It was also decided to launch umpires and other technical officials exchange programme.

“It was a very productive meeting and both the federation have resolved to promote hockey in Asia, specially in sub continent”,he said adding” The memorandum of understanding will be signed shortly at Lahore”.

Associated Press of Pakistan



Pakistan, India decide to conduct annual bilateral hockey series

NEW DELHI: Pakistan Hockey Federation and Hockey India on Thursday decided to conduct an annual bilateral series for both men and women.

This decision was made during a meeting between Asif Bajwa, Secretary of Pakistan Hockey Federation and Narinder Batra, Secretary General of Hockey India here.

A joint press release issued after the meeting said the series will be for both men and women teams and junior teams will also be a part of it.

Both the sides also decided to start an eight-team—four from each country—double leg sub-continental league to be played in both countries.  

“This series will be played by the senior and junior national squads on a home and away basis,” it said.

The two federations decided to exchange players for their domestic hockey leagues.

They have decided to have an umpire and technical officials exchange programme.

Associated Press of Pakistan



India, Pakistan to revive hockey Test series

NEW DELHI: India and Pakistan are set to revive their bilateral hockey Test series after four years with the two national federations agreeing, on Thursday, to start an annual series for men and women from this year.

The series will be for both men and women teams and junior teams will also be a part of it.

Hockey India and Pakistan Hockey Federation also decided to start an eight-team, four from each country, double leg sub-continental league to be played in both countries.

"Hockey India and Pakistan Hockey Federation have decided to conduct an annual bilateral series for both men and women. This series will be played by the senior and junior national squads on a home and away basis," a joint HI-PHF release said.

The announcement was made after a meeting by HI general secretary Narinder Batra and his counterpart Asif Bajwa.

In addition to the Test series, the two federations also decided to exchange players for their domestic hockey leagues and will also commence an eight-team double leg sub-continental league to be played in both countries.

"Four teams from India and Pakistan shall start off," the release added.

Narinder Batra said that the bilateral series will start this year and a Memorandum of Understanding will be signed in a month's time in Lahore.

The last Indo-Pak hockey Test series, with three matches in each country, was held in early 2006. Pakistan had won three matches and India one while two were drawn.

The Times of India



FIH gives May 31 deadline for Hockey India elections

NEW DELHI: International Hockey Federation on Thursday made it clear that India will have to complete their elections by May 31, failing which the FIH will have to consider commencing disaffiliation process under its constitution.

FIH President Leandro Negre said that India has been a very important country for the game but it cannot be run by an ad-hoc body for long and will have to establish a national body elected in a free, fair and democratic manner.

"This World Cup is a historic moment for the country. It is a success and HI should grab the opportunity to complete their election by May 31. They are now being run by an ad-hoc body but they have to have a full-fledged body elected in a clean and fair way," Negre said after announcing a hockey programme in Zambia.

"If they (HI) don't complete election by May 31 we may have to think for disaffiliation process," he added.

Negre said the FIH was simply a facilitator in the affiliation process of several state units to HI and forming a single hockey body of India.

"We are just a facilitator and we have been doing that for some time. We want all the issues between Hockey India and state units sorted out amicably and fast for the good of Indian hockey," he said.

"The situation in the hockey set up in India was in a mess a year back but it is better now day by day and I hope India will have a unified national hockey body soon," he said when asked what was FIH's role in the affiliation wrangles between HI and state units.

The FIH chief advised the state units who have knocked the doors of courts of law to withdraw their appeals and settle the issue with HI amicably.

"As far as I know five or six appeals are pending at (High Courts) and I hope the state units should withdraw them and settle the issue amicably. I think most of them will do that except in case of one unit in Bombay High Court (referring to Maharashtra)," he said.

Negre said the hockey World Cup was a financial success and all the money the FIH earns from the mega event will be ploughed back for hockey projects in India.

"I don't have the exact figures but it is going to be financially successful. We will share (the profits) with Hockey India and whatever we earn from here will be used for hockey projects in India," he said.

He also said that the newly-introduced but much criticised video referral system will continue.

'It will be continued. It is good for the game. The only thing is that the players, coaches and umpires will have to get used to it. The umpires will have to be wise when to call for a video referral. They may not have to go referral all the time," he said without going to specific incidents in this World Cup.

The Times of India



FIH plans World Series Championship

V Narayan Swamy


NEW DELHI: The International Hockey Federation (FIH) is planning to introduce a World Series Championship from 2011 and effect a major overhaul of its tournaments, including the Champions Trophy, so that no big global events are held in the same year.

Having invited expressions of interests from national associations to host tournaments from 2011 to 2015, the FIH feels more countries will be hosting their tournaments at various levels.

The World series will comprise four rounds and will be held over two years. The first two rounds of the championship for teams at the lower rungs will be in an Olympic or a World Cup year and the third and fourth rounds will be in a non-Olympic or non-World Cup year. "The fourth round will be a veritable World championship with around 4-8 teams taking part.

So we don't want it to clash with any big tournament the same year," said FIH media manager Arjen Meijer.

As a result, the six-team Champions Trophy for the elite may undergo a change. "It may be held every two years from 2011 with six or eight teams. If there is no consensus on that, it may be an annual tournament with either six or eight teams," he said. The new strategic plan, unveiled by the FIH executive board in December last year, will be finalised at the Delhi meeting on March 14-15. "In July, we will allocate the tournaments to different nations." Meijer said.

Obviously, India will be potential hosts to some of the big tournaments, including the World series final round. "The top properties of the FIH go to countries where the game is popular. India is top priority for us," Meijer said.

The Times of India



FIH to promote hockey in Zambia

The hockey world governing body is planning an initiative to endorse the sport in the African country.

By Adarsh Vinay


The International Hockey Federation (FIH) was presented with 20,000 Euros by BDO, an international accounting network, who is the sponsor of the Dutch Hockey Federation.

The FIH will use that money to lay a new hockey pitch in the African country of Zambia to promote the sport there.

Speaking on the occasion, FIH president Leandro Negre said, "The International Olympic Committee is working on a multi-purpose sports centre in Lusaka, Zambia. The FIH will work closely with the IOC for the hockey pitch initiative.

"Our intention is to increase the awareness of the hockey in that region and also to boost the recruitment of young African hockey stars," he added.

Paul van Elten of BDO said, "We are delighted to lend our support to this important project. We have a responsibility to our communities and we encourage our people to be involved in them. We aspire to create hope for a better future where currently hope does not exist."

The sports centre is slated to officially open in April this year. The FIH will then handover the responsibility of the pitch to the Zambian Hockey Federation (ZHA).

ESPNStar.com



‘Hockey Pitch for Zambia'

NEW DELHI: Stitching Global Hockey Partners on Thursday donated €20,000 to the International Hockey Federation for the Hockey Pitch for Zambia initiative.

Paul van Elten of BDO presented the donation to FIH President Leandro Negre on the sidelines of the Hero Honda World Cup here.

The initiative is part of the IOC's Sport for Hope project.

The Hindu



Razak Cup meet to see 17 teams in action but no Sarawak

By S. RAMAGURU


KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 17 teams have entered for the Razak Cup competition, which will be held in Kuantan from March 24-April 4.

Except for Sarawak, all the other 15 affiliates of the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) will be in action and they will be joined by Singapore and Brunei.

The Project 2013 team, who made the final last year, will not play in the tournament but their players will be allowed to represent their state sides.

The MHF secretary, Hashim Mohamed Yusof, said that the two-division format of competition would be retained.

Division One will have seven teams — defending champions Malacca, Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Perak, Penang, Negri Sembilan and last year’s Division Two champions Armed Forces.

Negri were supposed to be demoted to Division Two but retained their place in the top flight following the MHF decision on not to field the Project side.

Division Two will feature Singapore, Police, Sabah, Brunei, Selangor, Perlis, Pahang, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu and the teams will be divided into two groups.

The MHF have also agreed to release all the national players to play in the tournament.

The national team are now in training for the Asian Champions Trophy, which will be held in Ipoh from April 14-18.

The Star of Malaysia