News for 22 June 2013

All the news for Saturday 22 June 2013


Australia triumph over Netherlands in 4-3 thriller

Kookaburras World Cup qualification assured

Stephen Findlater


Matt Gohdes scored a superb second goal (Photo: Frank Uijlenbroek)

World League Round Three – semi-final

Australia – Netherlands 4-3 (h-t: 2-1)


Australia won a battle of corners to see off Rotterdam hosts the Netherlands 4-3 to reach the final of the World League and guarantee their ticket to the 2014 World Cup into the bargain.

It was a thriller throughout with the Aussies never able to get fully free of a Dutch side that kept fighting their way back into the tie. Christopher Ciriello’s second minute drag-flick initially saw a penalty stroke awarded but it was ruled out on referral.

But the set piece expert did not have long to wait until he opened the scoring, dragging home a low bullet past Jaap Stockmann’s stick side. Jeroen Hertzberger levelled with a flick of his own after Jelle Galema’s good work won the corner.

Matt Gohdes, though, gave Australia the half-time lead with a superb effort, ghosting down the right baseline, flipping the ball onto his reverse before sliding the ball under the goalkeeper.

The second equaliser owed more to brute force than finesse as Billy Bakker roofed a brilliantly powerful backhand shot. From 2-2, the game reverted back to a corner shoot-out as Russell Ford got a touch to Kieran Govers low flick to restore his side’s lead for a third time.

Crucially, Govers’ heavily deflected flick with 14 minutes left put Australia two ahead for the first time and while Rogier Hofman did get one back from the injector spot, the Dutch could not find another goal.

It means Australia will play Belgium in Sunday’s final while the Netherlands are into the third place playoff against New Zealand.

FIH site



Belgium confirm place in 2014 World Cup with 3-2 win

New Zealand to contest third place playoff

Stephen Findlater


Belgium celebrate their victory over New Zealand (Photo: Frank Uijlenbroek)

World League Round Three semi-final

Belgium - New Zealand  3-2 (half-time: 2-1)


Tom Boon’s double helped Belgium claim the first place in the final of the World League semi-final in Rotterdam as they held off New Zealand, copper-fastening their 2014 World Cup spot in the process.

Thomas Briels’ delightful little touch in front of Devon Manchester opened the scoring early on as he met a bouncing ball just before the goalkeeper closed in, lifting it up and over him before nestling in the net.

That lead lasted until the 18th minute when Alex Shaw’s powerful ball into the circle was redirected in by Blair Hilton, getting a faint touch whilst in the process of falling and leaving Vincent Vanasch with little time to react.

But Belgium made their move in the second third as Tom Boon rocketed home a high and straight drag flick over Manchester’s head before half-time. He added the third when others dallied in the circle, taking control with a clean strike in the 38th minute. Boon almost had a hat trick with a neat touch behind his back which Manchester did well to block as the Belgians looked well set.

The Blacksticks responded, though, and they were right back in the mix when Andy Hayward fired a low shot to the backboard from a penalty corner. And the same man almost had the equaliser with three minutes to go only for Vanasch to stick out a big toe to keep Belgium just in front.

That save confirmed Belgium were through while New Zealand must now battle in the third place playoff on Sunday.

FIH site



India hit France for six to reach fifth place playoff

Spain shade Irish encounter

Stephen Findlater



(Photo: Grant Treeby)

5th-8th place playoffs

India – France 6-2 (half-time: 3-1)


India eased through to Sunday’s fifth place playoff after they ease past the challenge of France despite an initial concession just three minutes into the game.

The skills of Dharamvir Singh and SV Sunil proved vital as they bounced back in style to counteract Hugo Genestet’s initial reverse-stick strike that had put France in front.

Akashdeep Singh’s sharp finish equalised before VR Raghunath made it 2-1 with his third drag-flick of the competition. Sunil then put two goals in the difference by half-time when he raced onto a through ball and finished delightfully.

Three more goals followed in the second half as Dharamvir set up both Sardar Singh and Mandeep Singh to tip in for 5-1 and the latter made it a half dozen from Sunil’s assist.

Guillaume Deront got a consolation on the final whistle after a series of corners but it was too late to see France avoid a date with Ireland for seventh place.

Ireland - Spain 0-1 (half-time: 0-0)

Roger Padros’ goal 15 minutes from the end means Spain are still in the hunt for fifth place after they shaded a tight tussle with Ireland. There was very little between the sides throughout with chances at a premium while both goalkeepers made key interventions.

Quico Cortes initially used his shoulder to excellent effect to deny Alan Sothern before David Harte pulled off a string of stops, mainly from Alex Casasayas, to keep the scoreboard blank at half-time.

The second half opened up a little more with Bosco Perez-Pla saving Conor Harte’s flick off the line while Cortes also blocked Mikey Watt’s rasping reverse.

Spain, though, got the all-important goal after a bout of pinball in the circle bounced invitingly to Padros – with strong suggestions of a foot in the build-up – who thumped it through David Harte’s defences.

Ireland replied but could not take a last second corner chance while Shane O’Donoghue also missed out from close range to see Spain through to the fifth place game while Ireland contest seventh on Saturday evening.

FIH site



Kookaburras progress to World League final

Kieran Govers ruled out of final against Belgium with hamstring injury


The Kookaburras sealed their place in the final of the World League tournament in Rotterdam in the early hours of Saturday morning with a thoroughly deserved 4-3 victory over the Netherlands. Despite the narrow margin of victory over the hosts and world number three side, the Kookaburras controlled the match for lengthy periods, creating more chances than their esteemed rivals.

The Kookaburras will meet Belgium in Sunday’s final, albeit without Kieran Govers, who pulled up clutching his right hamstring late in the match.

Chris Ciriello and Matt Gohdes gave the Kookaburras a 2-1 lead at the break and further goals from Russell Ford and Kieran Govers put the Australian men 4-2 ahead before Rogier Hofman’s goal with a little over ten minutes remaining set up a tense finale.

Speaking afterwards, coach Ric Charlesworth said, “It was a tough struggle in the end. We deserved to win but just a few moments could have changed that. Their goalkeeper was very good again but we didn’t execute our chances as well as we could have.”

Referring to Sunday’s final against the Red Lions, Charlesworth added, “We always want to play in the main game and the team is keen to play Belgium again. We want to test ourselves there.” The Kookaburras’ only defeat at the tournament came at the hands of Belgium in their opening match.

A typically high octane start saw Australia use the video referral to win a penalty corner in the first minute, only for the Netherlands to successfully use it to overturn a penalty stroke award given during the subsequent corner moments later.

Trent Mitton was the first to test Dutch goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann, whose fine form kept his team in the contest throughout the first half. But even Stockmann could do nothing about the low drag flick from his Euro Hockey League winning Bloemendaal teammate Chris Ciriello as he put the Kookaburras 1-0 up in the 17th minute.

The goal ignited the match and tournament top scorer Jeroen Hertzberger levelled for 1-1 from the Netherlands’ first penalty corner as he too found the bottom corner of the goal. But parity did not last long and great individual skill from Matt Gohdes saw the Queenslander cut along the baseline, evade a challenge and swivel to slot the ball home from the narrowest of angles for 2-1.

Stockmann showed his credentials with a string of saves to frustrate the Australian forward line as he kept out Mark Knowles, Russell Ford and Jamie Dwyer in quick succession. And it looked as if the saves may prove crucial when Billy Bakker had the time and space to fire home an equaliser but Russell Ford’s deflection of Govers’ low penalty corner flick made it 3-2 four minutes later.

The Dutch were still a threat but Andrew Charter’s block from a Hertzberger corner almost instigated a fourth Australian goal as the Kookaburras broke upfield, only for Simon Orchard to see his effort saved by Stockmann.  The fourth goal did come, however, following clever play from Jamie Dwyer who, surrounded by four Dutch defenders, was able to win a penalty corner that Govers fired home with the aid of a deflection to make it 4-2.

Rogier Hofman’s goal with just over ten minutes remaining halved the deficit again when he received the ball back at a penalty corner before sweeping it low into the goal. The strike made for a tense final period with Australia backing off and looking to counter the Dutch, which they appeared to have done to good effect with two minutes remaining when Govers burst into the Netherlands’ circle only for the 25 year old to pull up clutching his right hamstring.

The Kookaburras will now take on Belgium in the final at 00:30am AEST on Monday morning. The Netherlands will face New Zealand in the third place playoff.

World League Semi-Final

KOOKABURRAS 4 (2)

Chris Ciriello 17 (PC)
Matt Gohdes 25 (F)
Russell Ford 42 (PC)
Kieran Govers 56 (PC)

NETHERLANDS 3 (1)
Jeroen Hertzberger 22 (PC)
Billy Bakker 38 (F)
Rogier Hofman 58 (PC)

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Hockey Australia media release



Black Sticks Men pipped in semi-finals


Photo: www.photosport.co.nz

The Black Sticks Men will have to settle for the bronze medal playoff after being beaten 3-2 in the semi-finals by Belgium at the World League Semi-Final in Rotterdam this morning (NZ time).

Having trailed for much of the game, the Black Sticks rallied and battled desperately in search of an equalising goal in the final 15 minutes with goalkeeper Devon Manchester subbed off late to field an extra man.

The intensity led to a penalty corner which had the potential to force the game to a penalty shoot-out, however Andy Hayward’s low flick was narrowly parried away.

New Zealand will now play the loser of the Australia v Netherlands semi-final in the playoff for third place at 10pm Sunday night, with a guaranteed spot at the 2014 Hockey World Cup on the line.

After a slow start the Black Sticks played high quality hockey against tough opposition with Blair Hilton and Andy Hayward both on the score sheet.

Head coach Colin Batch was pleased with his side’s desperation in the late stages but said it was disappointing not to come away with a result.

“We did really well in the final 15 minutes and almost created a goal right there at the end. It’s frustrating because we have a feeling that we did enough to get the job done,” Batch said.

“I think we let them get away in the first half and were a bit sloppy with our outletting. At 3-1 down certainly that wasn’t a position we wanted to be in and we have to eliminate turnovers.

“We’ve got some time now to refocus for the next game. We will be ready physically and mentally to come out and play well to finish our tournament on a positive note.”

In a high energy first half, the Black Sticks failed to convert three penalty corners while Belgium were clinical with their set piece play.

Thomas Briels opened the scoring for Belgium in the sixth minute with an impressive flick over the head of Manchester who had come out of his goal.

New Zealand responded 10 minutes later when Alex Shaw drove a powerful ball into the circle and found a sprawling Blair Hilton to guide the deflection into goal to draw the score level.

Seven minutes out from halftime Belgium once more took the lead with Tom Boon drag flicking an unstoppable ball into the top of the net to put his side up 2-1. Boon scored his second goal with a slap shot around the feet of Manchester in the 38th minute.

The Black Sticks lifted the intensity with 15 minutes remaining, charged by a Hayward drag flick into the low left corner from a penalty corner.

New Zealand had one final shot from a penalty corner just minutes from fulltime but couldn’t deliver the equalising goal.

On the other side of the draw, the Black Sticks Women are also playing off for bronze at midnight tonight (NZ time) against Korea. Both the men’s and women’s playoff games will be live on SKY Sport.

The top three men’s and women’s teams from the World League Semi-Final automatically qualify for the 2014 Hockey World Cup, although it is possible to earn qualification at the tournament with a lower ranking. New Zealand can still qualify in other ways as well, with the next opportunity coming at the Oceania Cup in Taranaki this October.

RESULT:

Black Sticks 2: (Blair Hilton, Andy Hayward)
Belgium 3: (Thomas Briels, Tom Boon x2)
Halftime: Belgium 2-1

Hockey New Zealand Media release



Black Sticks lose semi-final match

By David Leggat



Blair Hilton scored the first goal for New Zealand. File photo / Brett Phibbs

The New Zealand mens hockey team must play off for third place, and a pass into the World Cup next year, after losing their semifinal 3-2 to Belgium at the World League in Rotterdam today.

With the top three teams at the tournament gaining automatic entry into the World Cup, to be played in The Hague next June, sixth-ranked New Zealand had to beat the world No 9 Belgians.

Instead they face a must-win scenario against No 3 the Netherlands on Sunday night.

Should they lose that, New Zealand will rely on winning the Oceania Cup tournament in Stratford in late October to progress.

Belgium led 2-1 at halftime, through goals by Thomas Briel, cleverly flicking a ball played into the circle over Black Sticks goalkeeper Devon Manchester, and a shot from a penalty corner by Tom Boon, struck high into the New Zealand net.

The Black Sticks had got on the board through Blair Hilton's gentle deflection off a hard Alex Shaw drive.

Belgium increased their lead through Boon early in the second half, swivelling away from Shaw to strike the ball past Manchester.

Andy Hayward's low drive from a penalty corner closed the gap again, and had Belgian goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch not managed to turn another Hayward attempt past the post three minutes from the end, the game would have been heading for a penalty shootout.

New Zealand subbed Manchester off to play an extra outfielder for the last five minutes in a desperate attempt to equalise.

"We did really well in the final 15 minutes and almost created a goal right there at the end," New Zealand coach Colin Batch said.

"It's frustrating because we have a feeling that we did enough to get the job done."

World No 2 Australia edged out the Netherlands 4-3 in the other semifinal and will face Belgium in the final.

In other games, Spain beat Ireland 1-0 and India defeated France 6-2, leaving Spain and India to play off for places five and six, with France and Ireland to battle for seventh and eighth.

The New Zealand Herald



India beat France, to play Spain for 5-6th place in FIH WL

ROTTERDAM: The Indian men's hockey team finally tasted some success in the FIH World League Round 3 when they defeated lower-ranked France 6-2 to qualify for the fifth-sixth position play-off match on Friday.

The 11th-ranked Indians, who came into the match without a win under their belt, scored three goals apiece in both halves of their first classification game against France, who are placed six rungs behind them.

India's goals came from the sticks of Akashdeep Singh (13th minute), vice-captain VR Raghunath (27th), SV Sunil (33rd), captain Sardar Singh (42nd) and Mandeep Singh (56th, 69th).

For France, Hugo Genestet scored from a field effort in the third minute while their second goal came from a penalty corner by Guillaume Deront in the final minute of the game.

India will now play seventh-ranked Spain in the fifth-sixth place play-off match on Sunday.

Spain eked out a 1-0 win over Ireland in another classification match earlier in the day.

Contrary to the result, the Frenchmen stunned India when Genestet scored a field goal early into the match.

The fragile Indian defence was once again at the receiving end and it could have been worse for Michael Nobbs' boys had France converted two penalty corners that came their way early in the first half.

Rattled by France's early onslaught, the Indians got their acts together soon and drew parity when Akashdeep scored from a rebound.

India doubled their lead in the 27th minute through Raghunath who converted his team's first penalty corner, before Sunil made it 3-1 six minutes later after combining well with Chinglensana Singh from the right flank.

After the change of ends, skipper Sardar Singh extended India's lead deflecting in Dharamvir Singh's free hit.

Young striker Mandeep scored his first goal of the day, deflecting in a backhand cross from Dharamvir in the 56th minute.

Mandeep was yet again in thick of things in the penultimate minute of the game, gently pushing in Sunil's diagonal cross from close range.

France earned as many as five penalty corners in the second half but managed to utilise just one through Deront, that too in the dying stages of the game.

The Times of India



India posts first win

s2h team


Despite conceding a goal each in the beginning and at the end of the match, India struck six times in between to post its first victory in five matches today at Rotterdam.

The 5-8th place match is not a thriller, but it threatened to be when France used an Indian laxity to go up in the third minute.

India, who beat France 8-1 in the Delhi Olympic Qualifier last March, came with vengence and posted six goals to take the match with it.

Akashdeep Singh deflected a rebound off rival goalie to een out the lead in the tenth minutes, and then V Raghunath sent a great flick into the far right corner of the net to give India lead which never lost thereafter.

Three minutes before half time, SV Sunil capped his solo that started with Changlansana's timely feed, to give India 3-1 lead at half time.

The second half belonged to Mandeep Singh who struck second and last in this spell, while captain Sardar Singh opportunistically deflected a Dharamvir feed to give india 4-1 lead early in the second half.

France got a PC at the stroke of full time, umpire cleared the drill, but they went for referral, which stood, France, who earlier wasted four PCs, now struck a consolation.

Stick2Hockey.com



Ireland fall to Spain at World League

Ireland will rue a number of missed opportunities after they fell to Spain 1-0 in today's World League 3 Game in Rotterdam.

Andrew Meredith's men in green created enough to deserve something from the game but Spain edged proceedings to make their way into a play-off for 5th/6th place, whilst Ireland must regroup to play for 7th or 8th tomorrow evening at 6.30pm.

The first half was a somewhat cagey affair, Spain on top with the majority of possession but unable to take advantage of a number of chances.

In the opening minutes a break down the right forced Spanish number 1 Cortes to make a great reaction shoulder save after a wayward deflection from his captain Alegre inside the circle.

After that however Spain began to take control and a reverse stick effort from Casasayas slid inches past the upright in the 14th minute.

Ireland failed to clear their lines, allowing Casasayas once again to enter the circle from the top and force Harte into action before Lleonart skewed the rebound wide.

Gormley and Jackson began to take some control of proceedings at the back but Spain forced their only penalty corner of the game in the 22nd minute after Harte raised a cross from Oliva.

Good was out like lightening to charge down the strike, and his determination found him join the breakaway that ensued.

The Monkstown man somehow dived to get on the end of the Caruth cross from along the back-line but found Cortes in the way to punch to safety.

Both sets of players were marking aggressively with some hefty challenges from the Spanish going unpunished.

Casasayas was undoubtedly the best player on the pitch, and forced Harte to make a save from his reverse effort in the 29th minute.

Seconds before the half time hooter he was at it again, his deflection forcing Harte to show world-class reflexes to dive low to his right and parry the ball to safety.

Half time Ireland 0 Spain 0.

Ireland made marked improvements in the second half and forced the Spanish press to retreat to the half way line.

Caruth won the Green Machine's first corner of the game but Harte's low flick was deflected wide by the Spanish postman.

Oliva then missed a great chance when a crash ball wreaked havoc in the circle and his effort from wide hit the side netting.

Minutes later Watt had his reverse effort saved by Cortes and Ireland's second corner was dragged wide by O'Donoghue, as Ireland mounted sustained pressure.

Spain took the lead with 17 minutes to go, somewhat against the run of play. Gleghorne received a green for a push and with the Irish defence stretched Harte made another world-class save from Lleonart.

His save appeared to brush a Spanish attacker's shin but the ball fell kindly to Padros who fired home leaving Harte with no chance.

Four minutes from time O'Donoghue missed a gilt-edge chance to equalise when the ball bounced off his stick at the back post from a Caruth cross.

Seconds later another chance fell Good's way after he missed a Cockram cross by a matter of millimetres.

Ireland threw everything at the Spanish and were left with one last chance with their third corner of the game came in the final minute.

With everyone forward bar Davey Harte a slip left and back to injector Cargo left him room to deflect across goal, but his effort was missed by a number of green jerseys as the ball slipped despairingly out of the circle.

The final whistle went, along with Ireland's chance of qualifying for the World Cup at this stage.

It was a heart-breaking finish to a game that saw Ireland create enough chances to come away with a result.

World League 3, Rotterdam, Holland

Ireland 0

Spain 1
(Padros)

Irish Hockey Association media release

 



Black Sticks women still have plenty to play for

BRENDON EGAN


The women's Black Sticks' third place playoff game against Korea at the World League hockey tournament has extra significance attached to it.

New Zealand were beaten 5-2 by Olympic gold medalists, the Netherlands, in their semi-final in Rotterdam on Friday.

While the Black Sticks will be disappointed not to be appearing in the final, they still have plenty to play for in their final game of the World League SemiFinal tournament.

New Zealand have already qualified for the World League Final in Argentina this December, but the goal is to beat Korea and guarantee themselves a spot in the 2014 World Cup. If New Zealand lose to Korea, they can still qualify for the World Cup through October's Oceania Cup tournament in Stratford.

The game is scheduled for midnight tonight, and will be live on Sky Sport.

The Netherlands effectively killed off any chance of a New Zealand win yesterday, scoring three goals in the opening 16 minutes of the game, to gain control.

Black Sticks' coach Mark Hager said his side were guilty of giving the ball away too easily - which the hosts took advantage of.

"There were too many turnovers and we had too many errors on defence. The Dutch played with more energy and intensity than us, and when you give the Olympic champions that many turnovers they will hurt you," Hager said.

"Our message at half time was to tidy things up, raise the tempo and stick to the game plan. We have young players who haven't played the Dutch before, so it was a tough, but good learning curve for them."

The Netherlands netted after just four minutes, when Margot van Geffen scored in a goalmouth scramble to give them the perfect start to the game.

The Dutch doubled their advantage in the 14th minute, when Kim Lammers deflected a vicious shot from Valerie Magis into the goal, to make it 2-0.

Things went from bad to worse for the Black Sticks, two minutes later, when Kelly Jonker found the back of the net from a great earlier pass from Ellen Hoog.

New Zealand had their best chance of the first half in the 22nd minute, but Gemma Flynn fired wide with a promising reverse flick chance.

The Black Sticks gave themselves a glimmer of hope when Petrea Webster pulled a goal back, 10 minutes out from halftime, to make it 3-1.

The Netherlands finished the first half strongly, and the Black Sticks had goalkeeper Bianca Russell to thank, for keeping the margin to just two goals at halftime.

It was an emphatic first-half performance from the Netherlands, as they enjoyed 71 per cent of possession and the better goalscoring opportunities.

Stuff



Koreans will demand sharper cohesion

By David Leggat


It's time for the talking to stop and players to raise their game, according to Black Sticks captain Kayla Sharland.

Having been well beaten, 5-2 by world No 1 and Olympic champions the Netherlands in their World League 3 semifinal in Rotterdam yesterday, New Zealand's task is clear when they play Korea late tonight.

The 12-team World Cup is the target and the world's No 3-ranked team should be there. Beat Korea, finish third, and they'll be in The Hague next June.

They know the Koreans well - they were in New Zealand in April for a couple of four-nation tournaments.

The most recent clash produced a 5-1 win for the Black Sticks in Tauranga but it promises to be a difficult contest against their eighth-ranked oppponents.

"We've played them many a time and know what they're like," Sharland said yesterday. "They pack their defence and look to counter attack. That's the way they score their goals."

The loss to the Dutch, who rattled on their first three goals in the opening 15 minutes as New Zealand defensively went to sleep, highlighted problems the Black Sticks have been working to eradicate. There are no second chances now, Sharland admitted.

"We just need to tighten up defensively and make better decisions in the attacking third. We've talked about it the whole tournament. We just need to make it click in the next game."

Failure to grab their scoring opportunities proved costly against the Netherlands.

Gemma Flynn, Katie Glynn and Charlotte Harrison all had opportunities but Sian Fremeaux' bad miss in front of an open goal was pivotal. It came 15 minutes after halftime, the score still 3-1 and New Zealand having their best period in the game.

"It's a pity we didn't put one away early. If we did we would have got on a roll and could have pushed forward from there. They definitely put away their chances and we didn't," Sharland said.

Although the defence had its wonky moments, goalkeeper Bianca Russell's strong form will be a source of encouragement going into the Korean match. The North Harbour keeper was decisive and alert. Without her contribution, the scoreline could have been worse.

Once they gained a measure of self-belief, the Black Sticks contested on an even footing with the Olympic champions for much of the second half. Retain that against a Korean team who play a far different style from the Dutch and they'll be in good shape to finish third.

The Netherlands will play world No 5 Germany in the final early tomorrow. In the other games to decide final placings, Japan play Belgium for fifth and sixth spots, while India meet Chile for seventh and eighth.

The New Zealand men were playing their semifinal against Belgium early today.

What's at stake

• New Zealand play Korea for third and fourth places at the World League 3 tournament at midnight tonight.

• The winner gets a pass into next June's World Cup in The Hague.

• If New Zealand are beaten, they must win the Oceania Cup tournament, in Stratford, in late October to progress.

The New Zealand Herald



HWL road show rolls into London

Investec Hockey World League Semi Final set to get underway


As the men’s and women’s Rabobank Hockey World League Semi Final tournaments in Rotterdam near their conclusions, the focus starts to shift to the 2012 Olympic host city of London where the Investec Hockey World League Semi Final for women gets underway this Saturday.

The competition takes place from 22-30 June 2013 and features a further eight top class international teams, with Argentina, Australia, China, USA, South Africa,  Spain and Italy joining host nation England for a potentially stunning week of hockey at the University of Westminster Sports Ground in Chiswick, West London. A guaranteed three places at next year’s Rabobank Hockey World Cup in The Hague are up for grabs, so there is plenty at stake for all of the competing teams. To learn more about the qualification system for the Hockey World Cup, please click here.

The tournament will also feature a new innovation thanks to the use of a blue scoring area in contrast to the predominantly green pitch. This move is the first of its kind and is anticipated to help spectators and TV audiences distinguish this important area of the pitch. More information about this story can be found by clicking here.

The competition features two Pools of four before the Quarter Finals, Semi Finals, Classification Matches and Final take place later in the week. Let’s take a closer look at the teams that will compete in the tournament.

Pool A
Argentina (World Ranking 2)
, the Reigning world champions and silver medallists from London 2012, come into this event as heavy favourites and will be determined to seal their place at next year’s event in The Hague. Las Leonas have arrived in Chiswick with a hugely talented and vastly experienced side, including livewire forward Carla Rebecchi, ace midfielder Rosario Luchetti and penalty corner star Noel Barrionuevo. However, all eyes will be on 35-year-old midfielder and team captain Luciana Aymar, the seven times FIH Player of the Year and unquestionably one of the greatest players to have ever picked up a stick. With “Lucha” in their team anything is possible, and they could take some stopping in this tournament. 

China (WR7) are a team very much in transition, and one look at their squad shows that the 2008 Olympic Silver medallists are very much preparing for the future. Gone are the superb yet aging talents of defender Ma Yibo and star striker Fu Barong, with five uncapped players entering the fold. That said, there is still a wealth of talent and experience that China can call upon, with six players – Sun Sinan, Zhang Yimeng (GK), Li Hongxia, Ren Ye (C), Song Qingling, and De Jiaojiao – having each made well in excess of 100 international appearances. It will be interesting to see how they perform here in London. 

USA (WR10) coach Craig Parnham – the former England and Great Britain international defender – has named a team containing a nice blend of youth and experience.  World class defender Rachel Dawson has well over 200 international caps to her name, while Lauren Crandall, Katelyn Falgowski, Caroline Nichols, Michelle Kasold and Kathleen O’Donnell are members of the 100+ club. However, Parnham has shown that he is keen to blooding new talent, selecting five players – Emily Wold, Stefanie Fee, Alesha Widdall, Jill Witmer and Jamie Whitten – who each have less than 20 caps. USA qualified for this event by winning the World League Round 2 competition in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where they claimed victory in four out of their five Round Robin matches.

Italy (WR17) are the lowest ranked team in the competition, but they certainly should not be under-estimated. They have reached the World League Semi Finals the hardest way possible, winning through the Round 1 event in Prague before storming to victory in the World League Round 2 event in Valencia (ESP), where they finished above the higher ranked opponents such as Ireland and tournament hosts Spain. 24 year old Chiara Tiddi is the team’s captain and most capped player in the group, with 73 international appearances under her belt. This rapidly improving team have not travelled to London just to make up the numbers, and have World Cup qualification firmly in their sights.

Pool B
Tournament hosts England (WR4)
come into this event as the second highest ranked team in the competition and the highest ranked in Pool B. Like many of the teams here in London, they are a side clearly in transition. The England squad – coached by former men’s chief Jason Lee – features nine players who have less than 50 caps, but great things are expected of this new generation of talented individuals. The young guns will look for inspiration from the likes of London 2012 Olympic Bronze medallists Sally Walton, Ashleigh Ball, Laura Unsworth, Hannah Macleod, Georgie Twigg, Nicola White and ace striker Alex Danson. Legendary defender Kate Walsh, another Bronze medallist from London 2012 who is fast approaching 300 caps, will captain a team that is aiming for glory on home soil.  

Australia (WR6) achieved a 5th place finish at the London 2012 Olympic Games, and are continuing to re-establish themselves as one of the world’s top hockey teams. The side is young, energetic and full of talent, none more so than 21-year-old defender Anna Flanagan, who was recently named as the FIH Young Player of the Year for 2012. The tournament will have extra significance for team captain Madonna Blyth, who is expected to make her 250th international appearance for the Hockeyroos over the coming days. Although it will be a special moment for Blyth, earning a ticket to next year’s World Cup in The Hague will mean far more to a player who is always prepared to give nothing short of 100 per cent for her team.

South Africa (WR11) earned their place at the Investec Hockey World League Semi Finals at the start of this year when they emerged as winners of the HWL Round 2 event in Cape Town. The host nation finished top of the pile with four wins from four, with world record goal-scorer Pietie Coetzee finding the back of the net on ten occasions. The brilliant 34-year-old remains arguably the most deadly striker in world hockey, although no-one would dare suggest that South Africa are a one player team. Captain Marsha Marescia is an extraordinary midfielder who is capable of changing a game in an instant, while pacey attacking midfielder Shelley Russell is beginning to look like a genuinely world class talent.

Spain (WR15) qualified for the HWL Semi Finals when they finished second to Italy at the World League Round 2 competition in Valencia. Although Italy proved to be the surprise team of the tournament, Spain were certainly well worth their qualification having lost just one match in the competition. The team is packed full of youthful promise, with the majority of the group being aged 25 or younger. Team captain Rocio Ybarra is Spain’s most experienced player with 149 international appearances to her name, while Raquel Huertas (115 caps), Gloria Comerma (110 caps) and Georgina Oliva (90 caps) – sister of men’s international star Roc – all bringing plenty of quality and top level knowledge to the table. 

For more information about the Investec Hockey World League Semi Final event in London, please visit our official tournament microsite by clicking here.  The microsite will bring you all of the news coming from the event, including written match reports, action photos, videos, official match documents, goal scoring statistics, match highlights and much more. The microsite will also publish any late squad changes, with updated rosters being available ahead of the start of competition.

Don’t forget, the FIH You Tube Channel will be providing free live streaming and highlights from the event in London.  Further details about this can be found at the bottom of this story. We will also be posting regular updates through Facebook and Twitter throughout the duration of the event. The Twitter hashtag being used throughout the World League Semi Final events in Rotterdam, London and Johor Bahru is #WLR3.   Links to our tournament microsite, Facebook, Twitter and You Tube pages can all be found below.

Investec Hockey World League Semi Final microsite

FIH Facebook

FIH Twitter

FIH You Tube

Live Streaming / Broadcast details - Investec Hockey World League Semi Final, London

The FIH You Tube Channel will be live streaming every match from the Investec Hockey World League Semi Final in London to a global audience. However, due to licensing and contractual agreements with broadcast rights holders, there will be some geo-blocking restrictions in place.  The details can be found below.

United Kingdom

Live streaming will be available for the first four days of competition (Saturday 22nd, Sunday 23rd, Tuesday 25th and Thursday 27th June) on the FIH You Tube channel and on FIH.CH. The final two days of competition (Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th June) are subject to rights restrictions and will not be live streamed in the UK. Fans in the UK will be able to follow the matches live on Sky Sports. Please check local transmission times for more details.

UK users of the FIH You Tube channel will also experience a delay in the availability of the Video On Demand (VOD) service. All match videos will be made available to UK users sometime after 1300 (BST / GMT +1) the day after they have taken place. This is inclusive of the matches that will take place on the final weekend.

FIH site



Investec SA women's hockey team face tough match against England

JONATHAN COOK in London



Investec South Africa co-captain Lenise Marais looking forward to England challenge. Photo: PLATE PICTURES


The opening round of the Investec World League semi-finals tournament begins at the University of Westminster in Chiswick, London Saturday and the mood in the camp of co-captain Lenise Marais’ side is a confident one.

The Investec South Africa women’s hockey team leader said the world’s number 11-ranked team are ready to face the challenge of world number four England, also sponsored by Investec, in a match to be televised live on SuperSport 2 at 8 pm SA time.

“We had good match preparation and training in Scotland and we are ready,” said Marais of South Africa’s 2-1 series win in the four Test matches in Edinburgh that finished on Tuesday.

“There were four hard Test matches and we also got in some quality training sessions and are looking forward to the challenge,” added the KZN Coastal Raiders and Investec South Africa defender.

The SA team are Test-hardened and will need to be on top of their game against an England line-up that features superstar forward Alex Danson, captain and penalty corner exponent Kate Walsh as well as Ashleigh Ball among the big names.

The 4-3 defeat against Olympic silver medallists Argentina in the three chukkas of 20 minutes apiece in London late Thursday presented a positive outcome for the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team, said assistant coach Fabian Gregory.

“In the first two stanzas we were put under pressure and that is to be expected against the Olympic silver medallists as it’s a step up from [world number 19] Scotland and it forced the players to think and act quicker,” said Gregory. “We had a very good third session and scored some very good goals.”

SA physio, the Amsterdam-based Harm Bruyn, said the SA players were peaking at the right time after a tough physical programme at the initial stage of the Scotland leg of the UK tour.

“Pietie was rested for the Argentina training match and the team as a unit will be ready for Saturday, as they have worked hard.”

Scotland coach Gordon Shepherd had positives and negatives about South Africa’s performance in the four-Test series that ended on Tuesday, a series in which 27 goals were scored in the matches at a high average of seven per game. “I think the high scoring was down to a lot of poor defending on our behalf and probably on the SA side as well,” said Shepherd.

Shepherd said SA’s strong points were their penalty corners and also the manner in which the forwards were able to benefit from the long balls supplied by their defenders, through the midfielders, whose running lines off the ball carved open the passageway for the pass.

“The forwards did very well throughout the series. Their basic skills were good, but the SA weakness I would say was their PC defence.”

Shepherd also praised the “great form” of attacking midfielder Shelley Russell. “Her pace was used well and I think her skill set has got better since I last saw her. My players also commented on this.” The Scot said that midfielder Tarryn Bright was good at times but felt that SA could use her more.

The Scots, who used 28 players in the series, are preparing for the European Nations Championship, where they have Germany, England and Spain in their group.

INVESTEC SOUTH AFRICA WOMEN'S HOCKEY TEAM IN LONDON

Sanani Mangisa (Southern Gauteng), Phume Mbande (Northern Blues), Lenise Marais (KZN Coastal Raiders), Marcelle Keet (Border), Nicolene Terblanche (NB), Illse Davids (Western Province), Shelley Russell (WP), Tarryn Bright (WP), Pietie Coetzee (SG), Quanita Bobbs (WP), Sulette Damons (North West), Dirkie Chamberlain (NB), Jade Mayne (WP), Tanya Britz (Free State), Lilian du Plessis (NB), Izelle Lategan (FS), Kelly Madsen (KCR), Marsha Marescia (SG).

* The Investec SA vs England match is live on SuperSport 2 at 8 pm Saturday, as are all the Investec World League hockey matches in London and then the WL semi-final men's event with the SA men's team in Malaysia (June 29 to July 7). What a magnificent effort by SuperSport to bring hockey into our livingrooms at home in South Africa - and across the African continent - this after showing all the Rotterdam WL men's and women's matches as well.

* The Investec SA girls are looking great in their adidas gear and are arguably the smartest team at Investec WL in London.

* The SA men's team, with exciting co-sponsor Mugg & Bean and kit sponsor Mr Price SPORT and their smart Maxed gear right behind them, will be doing battle - like the SA women's side - with the support of fans glued to their armchairs back in SA!

SA Hockey Association media release



Investec SA hockey striker Pietie Coetzee better than ever before

JONATHAN COOK in London



Pietie Coetzee still hungry to improve. Photo: PLATE PICTURES

The most successful goalscorer in the history of women’s Test match hockey has, with 10 goals in the four Tests this past week against Scotland, taken her tally to 272 goals in 267 Test matches, yet the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team superstar striker still feels there is room for improvement.

“I am not at my best yet and there are areas I want to improve on,” the 34-year-old Coetzee said at the team hotel in London Friday ahead of Saturday’s opening Investec World League semi-finals tournament match against England, which will be televised live on SuperSport 2 at 8 pm (SA time).

"I played exclusively as a striker against Scotland and the ball I got from midfield and the defenders was great, the midfielders running the right lines so that opportunities for long passes opened up.”

Scotland head coach Gordon Shepherd was more effusive. The Scot said Coetzee’s 10 goals indicated she was “looking great” from the top of the strike of the strike zone. “I would say that was the best I have seen her play. She also scored some open-play goals as well. She was always in the right place and she is a great finisher.”

Coetzee retired at the height of her powers, or so it seemed, at age 27 having scored 189 goals in 191 Test matches. Yet she returned age 32 and now is scoring at an even better rate, surely an achievement and a story never before matched in any ball sport.

Investec SA assistant coach Fabian Gregory said Coetzee was playing “exceptionally well”.

“Pietie is scoring goals at penalty corners as well as getting in a lot of goal shots and a big plus is the contribution of our defenders and midfielders to get her into good scoring positions and the support of Dirkie Chamberlain, Kelly Madsen and Jade Mayne up front has been fantastic.”

Coetzee had the last word. “It would be great if we do well in London for me personally and for the team.”

SA Hockey Association media release



Warrender withdrawn from World League squad

Emily Hurtz replaces Jade Warrender for Hockeyroos in London


Hockey Australia has made a late alteration to the Hockeyroos squad set to begin its World Cup qualification campaign at the World League in London this weekend.

As the result of a mild hamstring tear, Jade Warrender has been forced to withdraw from the 18-athlete squad and has been replaced by Emily Hurtz (NSW). Hurtz was with the group on its pre-tournament European warm-up tour.

The Hockeyroos’ campaign begins in the early hours of Sunday morning, at 1:30am AEST, when they take on Spain in their opening match. Their second game, against England, takes place at 2:00am AEST on Monday before the pool phase wraps up on Wednesday with a match against South Africa (2:30am AEST).

Every Hockeyroos match will be streamed live via YouTube. Find the streaming at www.hockey.org.au. Highlights of the matches will also be available.

Each of the Hockeyroos’ pool phase matches will be shown delayed on Fox Sports as follows.
Sunday, 23 June – Hockeyroos v Spain – 8:00am AEST – Fox Sports 2
Monday, 24 June – Hockeyroos v England – 5:00am AEST – Fox Sports 3
Wednesday, 26 June – Hockeyroos v South Africa – 11:30am AEST – Fox Sports 2

Hockeyroos Squad for Investec FIH Hockey World League
(Listed alphabetically by surname)
Name (Hometown, State) Caps/Goals (updated)

Teneal Attard (Mackay, QLD) 176/10
Madonna Blyth (Brisbane, QLD) 249/61
Edwina Bone (Evatt, ACT) 3/0
Jane Claxton (Adelaide, SA) 4/0
Toni Cronk (Sydney, NSW) 129/0
Casey Eastham (Albion Park, NSW) 166/41
Anna Flanagan (Canberra, ACT) 87/14
Emily Hurtz (Camden, NSW) 66/26
Kirstin Johnson (Mackay, QLD) 11/1
Rachael Lynch (Melbourne, VIC) 79/0
Karri McMahon (Berri, SA) 12/1
Claire Messent (Berwick, VIC) 55/13
Georgia Nanscawen (Melbourne, VIC) 101/17
Ashleigh Nelson (Wagin, WA) 112/43
Georgie Parker (Adelaide, SA) 29/2
Jodie Schulz (Wamuran, QLD) 70/35
Emily Smith (Crookwell, NSW) 53/17
Kellie White (Crookwell, NSW) 41/3

Hockey Australia media release



Sophie Bray relishing chance to impress



Great Britain and England striker Sophie Bray says the new generation of players are determined to build on the legacy of the London 2012 bronze medal-winning squad.

Several senior members of the Olympic squad have now retired and Bray, 22, is one of several new faces.

She told BBC Radio Berkshire: "It's such a good feeling to be involved.

"The legacy they have left has been fantastic. What they achieved has made it so exciting for the new members."

Bray, who has a degree in psychology from Birmingham University and also played county tennis for Surrey and football for Fulham Ladies, plays her domestic hockey in the Netherlands and believes she is ready for international duty.

"Making the step up is hard but you've got the best of the team with you and I'm ready," she said

Bray also scored the winning goal at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in 2009 and has her sights firmly set on the Rio Olympics in 2016, but before that will compete in the World League.

"I'm just so excited and I want it to start now," she added.

"The aim is to secure qualification. It's exciting times and no-one knows what to expect. Rio is the goal but you have to take it step by step."

Bray admits it was a tough decision to choose between football and hockey but is certain she has made the right decision.

"There came a time when I had to stop playing tennis, so it was just football and hockey, and then at the age of 16 I had to make another decision," she said. "I felt I had more of a future in hockey and I was enjoying it."

BBC Sport



Revington ropes in Firhan and Norhizzat for World League

By Aftar Singh


KUALA LUMPUR: National coach Paul Revington has roped in two youngsters into his final squad for the World League semi-finals, which begins in Johor Baru on June 29.

The South African coach had named 16 players last Friday before shocking the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) by quitting the national team because of outside interference.

The two players named yesterday were 20-year-old forward Firhan Ashaari and 21-year-old midfielder Norhizzat Sumantri.

The other youngsters in the team are Faiz Helmi, 21; Mohd Izad Hakimi Jamaluddin, 20; and Mohd Fitri Saari, 20.

Revington said the team’s target was to make the final of the World League and qualify for World Cup. The World League semi-finals will be the first major assignment for Revington since he took up the job last September.

Malaysia last qualified for World Cup in Utrecht, Holland, in 1998. And it will be a big blow to the national team and MHC if Malaysia fail to make it in front of their home fans.

Eight teams will feature in the World League semi-finals and only the top three will qualify for next year’s World Cup in The Hague, Holland.

The national team will play two friendlies against Argentina and Germany on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively before opening their World League semi-finals Group B campaign against Pakistan on June 29.

Their other matches are against South Africa on June 30 and England on July 2.

Olympic champions Germany are in Group A with South Korea, Argentina and Japan. All eight teams will advance to the quarter-finals.

Besides the strong challenge from the other teams, the national team are also concerned with the haze situation in Johor Baru.

Revington hopes that the situation will improve over the next few days.

If Malaysia fail to qualify for the World Cup in Johor Baru, they will have another chance to make the cut – by winning the Asia Cup title in Ipoh in August.

The Star of Malaysia



Firhan, Norhizzat complete the cast

NATIONAL hockey coach Paul Revington injected two more young players into his final squad yesterday, as he prepares to battle the best in the World League Semi-finals in Johor Baru on June 29-July 7.

He had named 16 players earlier, then got embroiled in a quit drama, before making a comeback and naming Firhan Ashaarim, 20, and Norhizzat Sumantri, 21, yesterday.

The other young players in the side are Faiz Helmi (21), Faizal Saari (22), Izad Hakimi (20), Fitri Saari (20), Marhan Jalil (23) and Izwan Firdaus (24).

Only the two goalkeepers and Chua Boon Huat have hit 30.

S. Kumar, 33, is the best in Asia, while his assistant Roslan Jamaluddin, 34, is a reliable replacement. Chua, at 33, still has a youthful bounce and proved his worth by helping Malaysia into the final of the Azlan Shah Cup with deft goals.

The top-three from Johor Baru are assured of a spot in the Netherlands World Cup next year, failing which Malaysia will have to make an attempt via the Asia Cup in Ipoh.

For warm-ups, Malaysia play Argentina on Tuesday and Germany the next day before starting their journey in the World League Semi-finals in Group B with England, Pakistan and South Africa.

In Group A are Germany, Argentina, Japan and South Korea. All eight teams advance to the quarter-finals.

"We have selected the best, and as usual, the target is to play in the final of the tournament and qualify for the World Cup," said Revington.

However, the early indications are that Malaysia are likely to meet strong opposition in the quarter-finals, and making the grade through the World League does not look as easy as it does on paper.

THE SQUAD -- Goalkeepers: S. Kumar, Roslan Jamaluddin; Defenders: Baljit Singh, Razie Rahim, Nabil Fiqri, Shahrun Nabil; Midfielders: Shukri Mutalib, Azlan Misron, Chua Boon Huat, Izwan Firdaus, Izad Hakimi; Strikers: Faizal Saari, Fitri Saari, Marhan Jalil, Tengku Ahmad Tajudin, Faiz Helmi, Firhan Ashaari, Norhizzat Sumantri.

New Straits Times



Fiji Hockey memorial event celebrates 20th anniversary

Rashneel Kumar



Richard Sechighy of Seals takes a swing at the ball against Ventures II during the Valerie Manueli-Daveta Memorial Hockey tournament at the National Hockey Centre in Suva last night. Picture: IVAMERE ROKOVESA

THE annual Valerie Manueli-Daveta Memorial tournament kicked off last night at the National Hockey Centre at Laucala oval.

Hosted by the Suva Hockey Association, the tournament will be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

Association president Shaun Corrie said 16 teams would be taking part in this year's event.

"We have five women's and 11 men's teams in this year's tournament which is more than the number we had last year."

Corrie said they would be focusing a lot on the grassroots level development which had been the main aim of the tournament.

He said a tough competition was expected in the children's grade.

"Through the children's competition, a lucky boy and girl will receive hockey scholarships for 2013 compliments of the Manueli and Daveta families.

"The scholarships are for keen hockey children who are facing difficulties with school fees, equipment and transportation costs.

"We also thank Goodman Fielders and Tuckers Ice Cream for their support along with Connect for helping us stage this tournament."

Ventures from Suva are the defending champions in the men's and women's grades.

Rebels from Nadi and Mates and Falcons from Lautoka are the only outside clubs participating at this tournament.

"This will be an exciting tournament considering the games played will be shorter than it used to be which means teams will have to score quick goals to win their matches."

Entry fee to the tournament which ends tomorrow is $2 per person.

The Fiji Times