News for 03 March 2010

All the news for Wednesday 3 March 2010


Day 3 - Tuesday 02-03-2010 16:35 South Africa 4 : 6 England
Day 3 - Tuesday 02-03-2010 18:35 Pakistan 2 : 1
Day 3 - Tuesday 02-03-2010 20:35 India 2 : 5 Australia

Pool B
Rank Teams Played Won Draw Lost GF - GA GD Points
1 England 2 2 0 0 9 - 6 3 6
2 Australia 2 1 0 1 7 - 5 2 3
3 Spain 2 1 0 1 5 - 4 1 3
4 India 2 1 0 1 6 - 6 0 3
5 Pakistan 2 1 0 1 3 - 5 -2 3


Australia and England win thrillers in Delhi

On the third day of the Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 in Delhi, Australia dominated India (5-2) in front of the boisterous local crowd, England won a high scoring game (6-4) against South Africa and Pakistan narrowly edged Spain (2-1).

Game 7 – South Africa v. England: 4-6 (half-time: 2-2)

The two teams opening the third day of competition had very different World Cup experience; England have participated in ten out of eleven previous Cups and reached the final in 1986 while South Africa only had four modest appearances, with a tenth place as best result.

South Africa started well, with Austin SMITH very active in midfield, and pushed back England on their goal. As they did in their first game against Spain, they opened the scoring, this time by Marvin HARPER well positioned in front of the goal after a decisive goal line penetration by Justin REID-ROSS. They could have increased their lead shortly after on a penalty-corner but James FAIR managed a superb diving save to protect the English goal.

England were more successful at the other end in the 14th minute, Richard MANTELL propelling the ball low out of reach of Erasmus PIETERSE to tie the score. Half way through the period, England started to increase the pressure on the South African midfield and grab control of the game, pushing back South Africa on their heels. They took advantage of a green card to Wade PATON to take the lead by Rob MOORE, hammering the ball low after a long solitary dash. Their joy was however short lived as Lloyd NORRIS-JONES managed to trickle the ball in goal from a confused scrum in front of the English keeper.

Second period started on a high tempo, England beginning to display the collective game that helped them win the European Championship. They took the lead after a quick exchange of passes in the circle between Richard MANTELL and Barry MIDDLETON, leaving Ashley JACKSON with the easy task to push the ball over the line in the empty net.

Nick CATLIN increased the lead in the 50th minute and Iain MACKAY added another one a few seconds later, making it hard for a South African team struggling for air to come back in the game. They closed the gap temporarily by Marvin HARPER but Richard MANTELL re-established the comfortable three-goal cushion with his second penalty-corner of the game in the 57th minute.

Thornton McDADE added a late goal but England ran away with a deserve victory (6-4). They showed some good form today and, after their win against Australia on opening day, kept up their hope to join The Netherlands (1990) and Germany (2002) as the only teams winning a World Cup as reigning European Champions.

Match facts (South Africa v. England):
> This is the fifth ever World Cup match to see at least 10 goals being scored and the first since 1998, when Pakistan beat England 7-5.
> Today’s six goals mark the third highest score by England in a World Cup match. England had previously scored 7 goals against Cuba in 2002 (7-0) and six against Ghana in 1975 (6-1).
> Richard Mantell (ENG) added to his three goals from the 2006 World Cup to lift his total to five WC goals, all from penalty corners. Four of these he scored against South Africa.
> England have now converted 4 of 6 penalty corners awarded at Delhi 2010 (66%).
> South Africa lost their second successive game at the 2010 World Cup going down in the second half after a 2-2 half-time score.
> South Africa have now conceded 10 goals in 2 matches at Delhi 2010.
> RSA are still to convert their first penalty corner (4 have been awarded to them).

Game 8 – Pakistan v. Spain: 2-1 (half-time: 1-0)

The second game of the day started at full speed, with both teams pleasing the crowd with fast attacking moves that swept the whole length of the pitch. There were some hot situations in front of Francisco CORTES in the Spanish goal, but the defense managed to clear. After fifteen minutes of furious back and forth attacking, the tempo somewhat abated, both teams neutralizing each other before entering the shooting circle,

Taking advantage of some havoc in the Spanish circle, Pakistan finally scored in the 30th minute by Abdul Haseem KHAN from a difficult angle and with a little help from a Spanish defender who deflected the ball in goal. In sharp contrast with the high scoring first game, these two teams in attacking mood could not generate more goals and the score remain 1-0 at half-time.

Rehan BUTT had a golden opportunity early in second period when he arrived alone on the left of the circle but his shot rolled in front of the goal. Spain had a chance on penalty-corner well defended by Pakistan and the two teams continued to neutralize each other in an entertaining display of attacking hockey.

Spain finally scored on their 5th penalty-corner of the game in the 65th minute, their broken option ending in a wild scrum in front of a stranded Salman AKBAR and David ALEGRE managed to push the ball in the net. Pakistan replied immediately and forced a penalty-corner, Abdul Haseem KHAN deflecting in goal the initial shot by Sohail ABBAS. The Pakistani, supported by the roaring crowd, hanged on for dear life and seemed relieved to see the end of the game with the three points of the win.

Match facts (Pakistan v. Spain):
> Pakistan beat Spain 2-1 to collect their first victory at Delhi 2010 and their 8th win over Spain in WC competition.
> Pakistan have are now unbeaten in their last 3 competitive matches against Spain. They also beat Spain at the 2007 CT (2-0) and drew 2-2 at the 2002 World Cup.
> Abdul Haseem Khan scored twice to lead Pakistan to victory. The last player to score multiple goals in a World Cup match for Pakistan was Muhammad Zubair vs NZL in 2006 (20 goals.)
> David Alegre scored the equaliser. He also scored for Spain in the match against South Africa.
> Both Spain and Pakistan are now on 3 points from 2 matches at the 2010 World Cup.

Game 9 – India v. Australia: 2-5 (half-time: 1-3)

The last game of the day started in a fiery atmosphere but the Aussies were not impressed by the deafening noise and the crowd was quickly silenced by a quick goal by Liam DE YOUNG calmly collecting a rebound from a shot on the crossbar. They extended their lead a few minutes later on a penalty-corner, Glenn TURNER pushing over the line a shot originally stopped by the Indian defense.

Each Indian attack was pushed on by loud cheering from the hopeful crowd and Prabhjot SINGH and Gurwinder Singh CHANDI created some hot situations in the Australian circle, but Nathan BURGERS and his defense thwarted all their attempts. The Australians were closing very quickly on the Indian players to prevent them from developing their game and they defended well the first penalty-corner with an option for Sandeep SINGH. Australia deepened the gap in the 26th minute by Desmond ABBOTT, at the conclusion of a quick exchange of passes in the circle between Liam DE YOUNG and Robert HAMMOND that mystified the Indian defenders.

India finally scored by Vikram PILLAY in the dying seconds of the period to muster some hope for the second half. Immediately after the restart, Prabhjot SINGH set up Tushar KHANDKER but his instant reverse stick shot went wide. On the counter-attack, Australia earned a penalty-corner that was shot low by Luke DOERNER to re-establish the three-goal lead.

It dampened the Indian enthusiasm and Glenn TURNER immediately scored another goal to increase the lead to a seemingly insurmountable gap.  Rajpal SINGH gave back some hope to the crowd after a long and intense sequence in the Australian circle orchestrated by Arjun HALAPPA, very active today, but the Indians were wasting energy in their traditional long individual runs and could rarely penetrate the compactly organized and disciplined Australian defense.

Adrian D'SOUZA received a huge ovation when he saved a penalty-stroke from Jamie DWYER, but Australia controlled the end of the game to collect the three points of the win in a spectacular game that pleased the hockey lovers, if not the Indian fans.

Match Facts (India v. Australia):
> India went down 5-2 and suffered their fifth straight defeat against Australia in World Cup competition.
> Liam De Young, Glenn Turner (2) and Dess Abbott all scored for the first time in World Cup competition.
> Luke Doerner scored once to add to his two goals from the 2006 World Cup.
> Vikram Pillay became the first India player since Prabhjot Singh in 2002 to score in a World Cup match against Australia.
> Rajpal Singh scored his third World Cup goal, adding to his goals in 2006 vs ARG and RSA.
> England lead Pool B with six points from two matches. Australia, Spain, India and Pakistan are all on three points. South Africa are botton, still awaiting their first point at this World Cup.

The Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 continues on Wednesday in Delhi when Canada face Germany, Argentina meet Korea and New Zealand conclude the day against The Netherlands.

For additional information, pictures, video clips, official game sheets, and more, please check the special FIH event site @

Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 (men) – Delhi, India
Results Day 3 - Tuesday 2 March 2010

South Africa v. England  4:6 (2:2)

RSA   9mn  Marvin HARPER (FG)  1:0
ENG  14mn  Richard MANTELL (PC)  1:1
ENG  23mn  Rob MOORE (FG)  1:2
RSA  25mn  Lloyd NORRIS-JONES (FG)  2:2
ENG  43mn  Ashley JACKSON (FG)  2:3
ENG  50mn  Nick CATLIN (FG)  2:4
ENG  51mn  Iain MACKAY (FG)  2:5
RSA  53mn  Marvin HARPER (FG)  3:5
ENG  57mn  Richard MANTELL (PC)  3:6
RSA  67mn  Thornton McDADE (FG)  4:6

Pakistan v. Spain  2:1 (1:0)
PAK  30mn  Abdul Haseem KHAN (FG)  1:0
ESP  65mn  David ALEGRE (PC)  1:1
PAK  67mn  Abdul Haseem KHAN (PC)  2:1

India v. Australia  2:5 (1:3)
AUS   2mn  Liam DE YOUNG (FG)  0:1
AUS   7mn  Glenn TURNER (PC)  0:2
AUS  26mn  Desmond ABBOTT (FG)  0:3
IND  35mn  Vikram PILLAY (FG)  1:3
AUS  42mn  Luke DOERNER (PC)  1:4
AUS  43mn  Glenn TURNER (PC)  1:5
IND  53mn  Rajpal SINGH (FG)  2:5

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


Australia brings India crashing to earth

Pakistan picks up full points; England overwhelms South Africa

S. Thyagarajan

— Photo: R. V. Moorthy

COMMANDING SHOW:Australia's Glenn Turner hit the final nail by scoring his team's fifith gaol.

New Delhi: With a display that was energetic and enterprising, not to mention the degree of all round efficiency, Australia smashed the euphoria born out of the win against Pakistan, by inflicting a heavy 5-2 defeat on India in a pool B encounter in the Hero Honda hockey World Cup on Tuesday. The winner led 3-1 at half-time.

The essence of the Aussie attacking component was acceleration. Shifting the ball across the ground with astounding velocity, the frontline subjugated the Indian defenders within minutes. Within seven minutes, the Aussies were two goals up.

A quick sally by Liem de Young split the defence. The attacker's lobbing shot hit the crosspiece but Liem was alert enough to wrest the rebound and finish.

Lead enlarged

Within minutes the lead was enlarged. A penalty corner ground shot ended with Glen Turner lurching ahead and directing the ball in.

India, sans Shivendra Singh, launched a series of moves no doubt, but none of them was sharp enough to pierce the Aussie defensive phalanx. Rajpal Singh raised waves of excitement in the huge crowd with his sinuous runs down the line. The cross passes generated a lot of excitement and action in the Aussie circle.

With Sardar Singh playing a key role in controlling the passes, assisted well by Vikram Pillay and Bharat Chikara lending a helping hand, the Aussies were contained for a while. But midway through the Aussies were again on the prowl that ended with Desmond Abbot slotting in the third goal after Kavanagh Fergus went on the move.

The long passes by Rajpal and Deepak caused some strain in the Aussie circle, Prabhjot and Halappa ventured to test the rival goalkeeper Nathan Burgers. But success was achieved late in the first half with Vikram Pillay finally breaking the bastion driving in a cross from the right.

Holding the whip hand

The Aussies held the whip hand after the break netting two goals in quick succession through Luke Doerner and Glenn Turner. India's defence work was in a shambles even Deepak Thakur and Rob Hammond got the yellow card for a skirmish.

Coming in fits and starts, the Indian attack showed no sign of conquering the Aussie defence. However, midway through India managed to reduce the margin thanks to Rajpal Singh who flicked in a cross from Halappa following a penalty corner.

With five minutes remaining Australia earned a stroke for an obstruction by Gurbaj but Adrian made a splendid save to deny Jaime Dwyer the goal. A yellow card for Halappa reduced the team to 10 in the final minutes. The thumping victory this evening came as a balm for Australia after the reverse against England on the opening day.

Engrossing win

Pakistan picked up full points against Spain, winning by the odd goal in three.

The match-winner came three minutes before the hooter when the young Abdul Haseem deflected in a withering penalty corner hit by Sohail Abbas. Interestingly, this was the only penalty corner for Pakistan in the tie. The second, awarded a minute before the end, was turned down by the video umpire.

This was a contest that Pakistan deserved to win, although there were phases when the players looked slightly timorous. Though the artistry that has always underlined Pakistan's approach was missing, the players displayed the determination to succeed as to keep their chances alive after losing the opening game against India. Initially, the sizzling runs down the line by Shakeel Abbasi sufficiently troubled the Spanish defenders.

If only Shakeel had appropriate support from the rest, a goal could have emerged within 10 minutes but Rehan Butt wasted a beautiful chance.

It was the young Abdul Haseem who managed to break the Spanish defensive wall and finished with a clever lob even as Rehan jumped high to tap in. But the ball hit the net before Rehan could have a touch.

Pressing hard for the equaliser, the Spaniards led by David Alagre and Albert Sala stretched the rival defence. But goalkeeper Salman Akbar proved a tough nut to crack.

Pakistan owed a lot to the tireless midfielder Waseem Ahmed, who baulked many a raid fashioned by a Spanish attack which missed the expertise of Eduard Taubau. Even the usually athletic Pablo Amat was below par.

500th match

Earlier, there were goals galore as England engaged South Africa in a lively encounter — the 500th in the competition since the first edition in 1971— in a Pool B encounter.

The 6-4 result conveys the glut of goals, six of them surfacing in the second half after the teams went for the break at 2-2.

Some of the goals were spectacular to behold. It is difficult to pinpoint which among them was the peach because each was exciting in its own way. If compelled to name, two by South Africa's winger Marvin Harper were eye-catching.

He gave the lead putting the finishing touches to a cross from Thomas Hammand and in the second half, threw himself ahead to connect a cross from the right.

The results: Pool B: Australia 5 (Liem de Young, Glenn Tuner 2, Desmond Abbot, Luke Doerner) bt India 2 (Vikram Pillay, Rajpal Singh). HT 3-1.

England 6 (Richard Mantell 2, Rob Moore, Ashley Jackson, Nick Catlin, Ian Mackay) bt South Africa 4 (Marvin Harper 2, Jones Lloyd Morris, Thornton Mcdade). HT 2-2.

Pakistan 2 (Rehan Butt, Abdul Haseem) bt Spain 1 ( David Alagre). HT 1-0.

Wednesday's matches: Pool A: Germany vs. Canada (4.35 p.m.); Argentina vs. Korea (6.35 p.m.); Netherlands vs. New Zealand (8.35 p.m.).

The Hindu

Australia thrash India as Pakistan stun Spain

Australia’s Glenn Turner (R) scores a goal past India’s Vikram Pillay (C) during their World Cup 2010 match at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium in New Delhi yesterday. Australia beat India 5-2. (AFP

Tournament favourites Australia got their World Cup campaign back on track with a 5-2 victory over India in pool B yesterday.

Clinical Australia pumped in two goals by the 10th minute to establish early domination over India after suffering a surprise 3-2 defeat by England in the opening match yesterday.

European champions England beat South Africa 6-4 for their second straight victory in the six-team group while Pakistan, who lost to India in the opening game, beat Olympic silver medallists Spain 2-1 with Abdul Haseem Khan scoring both goals.

Australia’s Liam De Young stunned India with a second minute goal and Glenn Turner scored off a penalty corner in the 10th for the first of his two goals as a packed crowd at the Dhyan Chand National Hockey Stadium was silenced.

Desmond Abbott scored the third goal for Australia, who won a record 10th Champions Trophy in December, before Vikram Pillay pulled one back for the hosts just before halftime.

Luke Doerner and Turner scored in quick succession when play resumed as India, without striker Shivendra Singh who is serving a three-match ban, crumbled under pressure.

Captain Rajpal Singh cut the deficit for India who were outpaced by a speedy Australian team for whom Jamie Dwyer also missed a penalty stroke.

Richard Mantell scored twice in England’s comprehensive victory over South Africa.

England emerged Group B leaders with six points from two  matches, while Australia, India, Pakistan and Spain were lying in  second spot with three points each.

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

European champions England edged past the South Africans in a  game where both sides suffered defensive lapses. Richard Mantell scored two penalty corners, while Rob Moore,  Ashley Jackson, Nick Catlin and Iain Mackay chipped in with a goal  each for England.

Marvin Harper scored twice for South Africa, and Lloyd  Norris-Jones and Thornton McDade netted one each.

It was the first time in World Cup history that England pumped  in six goals in a single match. They had scored five against  Pakistan in 1998, but still lost the match as their rivals netted  seven.

“Scoring six goals means a lot and I am happy with the win, but  we were not consistent enough,” said England captain Barry  Middleton.

“We should have played well throughout the 70 minutes, but we  did not do that. Our defence was not up to the mark.

“We have a tough game against Pakistan on Thursday and really  need to work on our game,” he added.

Pakistan led 1-0 at half-time through a goal by Haseem, before  David Alegre drew level for Spain in the 65th minute after the goal  was referred to the video umpire.

Pakistan earned their first penalty corner two minutes before  the final whistle and veteran Sohail Abbas’ shot was deflected into  the goal by Haseem for the winner.

“The World Cup started for us today,” said Pakistan coach Shahid  Ali Khan. “I hope this is going to be the turning point for us in  this tournament.

“We played to a plan and it worked.”

Australia’s Dwyer said beating India was “a relief” after losing  to England.

“It was good to play the way we normally play,” the striker  said. “I think we played brilliant hockey in the first 20 minutes.  It was important to score early goals.”

India’s Spanish coach Jose Brasa admitted Australia deserved to  win.

“They were in a different league as far as fitness and speed  were concerned,” said Brasa. “We also conceded at least two goals  due to stupid faults.

“The team needs to learn from its mistakes and play aggressive  hockey in future games.”

The group’s next matches will be played today when  Australia meet South Africa, Pakistan take on England and India  clash with Spain.

Gulf Times

Goals galore as England secures three more points

In the 500th match to be played in the history of the hockey World Cup, England and South Africa contested an entertaining ten goal thriller at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium in Delhi on Tuesday.  A double from Richard Mantell sandwiched strikes from Rob Moore, Ashley Jackson, Nick Catlin and Iain Mackay as England recovered from an early set back to win 6-4.

After their historic victory over Australia on the opening day of the tournament, favourites for the match England were intent on securing three more points and improving their performance.  For South Africa, who lost to Spain on Sunday, this was an opportunity to get their tournament up and running.

In a change from Sunday’s squad, England head coach Jason Lee brought Hampstead & Westminster defender Dan Fox onto the bench with Reading’s Jonty Clarke resting a tight hamstring in the stand alongside reserve goalkeeper and club teammate Nick Brothers.

England were clearly keen to start in a more attacking manner than against Australia two days ago but two early circle entries came to nothing before Surbiton forward James Tindall received an early green card and a two minute suspension.

James Fair, the hero for England on the opening day, was called upon in the seventh minute as he came off his post to narrow the angle with Thornton McDade pulling the trigger.  Three minutes later, Fair could do nothing to stop Marvin Harper from opening the scoring from close range after good work by Justin Reid-Ross along the baseline.

As against Australia on Sunday, England immediately rallied from their set-back.  Bowdon’s Alastair Brogdon looked to have been crowded out inside the South African circle but his cutback found its way to Glenn Kirkham and the East Grinstead man’s shot found the foot of a defender.  Before Kirkham could pull the corner in from the baseline, South African Lloyd Norris-Jones broke the line and was sent to the halfway line by the umpire.  Facing a now depleted South African penalty corner defence Richard Mantell executed a well placed low drag flick into the bottom right corner, which hit the backboard via the stick of Lloyd Madsen on the post for 1-1.

In the 20th minute South Africa were reduced to ten men with the temporary suspension of Wade Paton, although the green card should have been shown to his teammate Paul Blake.

England were beginning to assert their control on play and in the 23rd minute Surbiton’s 28 year old midfield forward Rob Moore robbed South African captain Austin Smith in the middle of the pitch.  Bursting forward at pace, Moore entered the circle and fired a blistering shot through the legs of Erasmus Pietersen in goal to give England the lead.  It was the 15th England goal of Moore’s international career.

No sooner had England gone ahead than South Africa responded, albeit with some good fortune favouring the attacking endeavour of Norris-Jones.  Playing the ball across the face of goal from inside the right of the England circle, the former Canterbury player’s cross was nowhere near a South African colleague but a defensive error gave South Africa an equaliser.  In attempting to stop the ball Richard Mantell deflected it under the body of his goalkeeper Fair and into the goal; 2-2 with 25 minutes played.

The goal seemed to boost the Africans’ confidence and Fair soon had to save on his post from the reverse stick effort of Julian Hykes, who was looking to add to his goal against Spain on the opening day.

South Africa had been level with Spain at half time in their opening match on Sunday before going down 4-2 and they began the second period intent on preventing a repeat.  Within a minute of the half beginning Julian Hykes had South Africa’s first sight of goal but under pressure from Richard Alexander he squeezed his shot wide of Fair’s right post.

There then followed a period of patient possession play before England re-took the lead in the 43rd minute.  Good work in the midfield from Dan Fox, playing in his first ever World Cup match, saw him find Captain Barry Middleton on the left of the circle.  Middleton drove around Lloyd Madsen before cutting back to the diving Fox on the near post.  Fox’s effort was heading towards the far post where Jackson was on hand to knock home from a metre out to make sure of the goal.

Two well worked goals in as many minutes then looked to have put England in control.  In the 50th minute Nick Catlin deflected Richard Alexander’s hard pass onto the target but Pietersen pulled off a good reaction save.  Not to be thwarted, the 20 year old Loughborough Students player followed up to add a World Cup goal to the one he scored against Korea at December’s Champions Trophy.

And a minute later Catlin was involved again as England stretched the lead to 5-2.  Breaking with Richard Alexander and Iain Mackay in a three-on-one, Catlin drew the goalkeeper before sliding the ball right to the diving Mackay to knock the home for his fifth England goal.

On 53 minutes a good piece of skill from Marvin Harper at the other end of the pitch pulled one back for South Africa as he dived to connect mid-air at the back post, meeting a cross from the South African right for 5-3.

With South Africa trying to force a comeback Richard Mantell restored England’s three goal cushion with his second of the match and his 45th goal for England in 90 appearances. Given another opportunity from a penalty corner Mantell flicked home just above the backboard between the goalkeeper and the man on the post.

With Mantell having taken England’s penalty corners, HGC’s Ashley Jackson had his first set piece sight on goal with just over an hour played.  Erasmus Pietersen was equal to it though and kept the flick out with a gloved saved above his right shoulder.  There then followed a delay while South African defender Justin Reid-Ross was treated for an injury sustained in a collision with Jackson after the youngster’s effort.

Entering the final period, England upped the ante with Jackson breaking through the top of the circle and forcing another save from Pietersen.  With five minutes remaining James Tindall won England another penalty corner after a failed South African referral to the video umpire.  Richard Mantell’s shot was on target but comfortably kept out by the goalkeeper, who proceeded to clear dangerously and concede another corner.  Jackson’s effort next up flew with pace but wide of the left upright.

At the other end, South Africa countered and forced another goal to take them to within two of England with just three minutes remaining.  Austin Smith’s pass to the middle of the goal was met by James Fair’s stick but he could not prevent Thornton McDade’s follow up and after an appeal to the video umpire the goal stood.

With two minutes remaining Loughborough Students’ Richard Smith received a suspension for a foul in the 23 metre area and from the next move South Africa were awarded a penalty corner.  Gareth Carr though failed to find the target and after the ball flew over Fair’s crossbar the clock ticked down on another England victory.

England’s six goal haul is just the third time that they have scored six goals in a World Cup match, the others coming in a 7-0 defeat of Cuba in 2002 and a 6-1 victory over Ghana in 1975.  It was England’s 17th win over South Africa in 36 meetings.

After the match, manager Andy Halliday admitted England were missing some of the defensive resolution they displayed against Australia, saying: “Overall we’re a little disappointed with the performance but having said that there were some patches of good hockey played, especially early in the second half.  The defensive strength that we displayed on Sunday wasn’t there today but it is two wins from two now so we’ve got to pleased with that.”

Speaking about debutant Dan Fox, who was only called up to the squad last Friday after Simon Mantell withdrew with a foot injury, Halliday said: “We’re pleased with Dan’s contribution today.  Ashley nicked a goal off him when Foxy thought he’d scored.  Four days ago he was expecting to be teaching year seven pupils about plate tectonics and now he nearly scores inside 30 seconds of coming on for his first game at the World Cup.”

Next up for England is Pakistan on Thursday.  The match gets underway at 13:05 GMT.


Marvin Harper 10, 53 (F, F)                     
Lloyd Norris-Jones 25 (F)            
Thornton McDade 67 (F)            


Richard Mantell 14, 57 (PC, PC)
Rob Moore 23 (F)                      
Ashley Jackson 43 (F)                 
Nick Catlin 50 (F)                      
Iain Mackay 51 (F)         

Squad v South Africa


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

Substitutes Used

Richard Alexander (Surbiton)
Alasdair Brogdon (Bowdon)
Nick Catlin (Loughborough Students)
Adam Dixon (Beeston)
Dan Fox (Hampstead & Westminster)

Did Not Play

Nick Brothers (Reading)
Jonty Clarke (Reading)

England Hockey Board Media release

Second-half goal spree maintains England’s perfect start in hockey World Cup

England 6 South Africa 4

Cathy Harris, Delhi

Nick Catlin celebrates his goal for England against South Africa (Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images)

England turned on the style in a second-half goal spree to beat a spirited South Africa side 6-4 in the 500th World Cup match on Tuesday, played in the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium, in Delhi.

After stunning the favourites, Australia, in their opening match on Sunday, the European champions moved to the top of pool B with maximum points after Pakistan claimed a late 2-1 victory over Spain, the Olympic silver medal-winners. Australia also bounced back into contention, beating India 5-2.

Three goals in nine minutes after the break set up England’s win as they took a 5-2 lead, having turned round at 2-2. It was the first time since crushing Cuba 7-0 in 2002 that they have scored six goals in a World Cup encounter.

Richard Mantell, who whipped in two penalty-corner strikes, said that it had been a tough match against much-improved opponents playing in the helter-skelter style of Australia. He said: "We should have been much tighter at the back but at least we took our chances well.”

It was a typically resolute performance with the squad displaying sufficient tenacity, inventiveness and aggression to suggest that Jason Lee, the head coach, has a great platform to work from.

Lee admitted that he was nervous before the game because of the expectation that his side would stroll home after beating Australia. Jonty Clarke was rested with a slight hamstring strain, leaving Lee with more problems in the forward line after losing Matt Daly and Simon Mantell with injuries before the tournament started.

“We rotated six up front with only two strikers having played internationals in the last ten months,” Lee said. "I thought they all did well and we just had more quality than South Africa."

Dan Fox, who has been in the Indian capital less than a week after flying in to replace Simon Mantell, gave a solid account of himself up front while Nick Catlin, England’s youngest player at 20, scored a lovely goal.

Trailing early on, Richard Mantell hammered in a fourteenth-minute equaliser before Rob Moore made it 2-1 with an unstoppable shot after dispossessing Austin Smith, the South Africa captain. South Africa struck lucky when Mantell deflected an intended cross into his own net, but the England forward made amends after the interval, setting up Barry Middleton, who weaved along the byline to provide Ashley Jackson with a simple tap-in.

Continuing to dictate terms, Richard Alexander set up Catlin, who tucked away his own rebound, and Iain Mackay dived full length to sweep home Catlin’s cross as England seized a deserved 5-2 lead.

After conceding a third goal, Mantell was on target from another set-piece as England restored their three-goal lead. South Africa’s fourth goal three minutes from time led to some anxious moments at the back as England saw out time.

Shivendra Singh, India’s leading striker, will line up against England in Saturday’s game after his three-match ban for deliberately hitting a Pakistan player with his stick was reduced to two on appeal.

The Times

England on top

England 6 South Africa 4

By Pat Rowley

England recorded their second successive win in the men's hockey World Cup with a 6-4 win against South Africa.

England did what they had to do against South Africa, the lowest ranked team in their pool, and won to stay on course for a semi-final place at the Hockey World Cup.

A 6-4 score-line reflected an entertaining game but also a more difficult one for England than most had anticipated.

Other results went England's way and they will go into their third match on Thursday as the only unbeaten team in their group. They stand proudly three points clear.

South Africa proved spirited opponents. Electing to play an attacking game, they made the most of the few chances they contrived but gave England too much space.

They did score first, breaking along the back line for Marvin Harper to make a close-in deflection.

As against Australia, England responded by taking the lead, first with a corner goal, this time converted by Richard Mantell with a low flick, and then through Rob Moore.

The Surbiton midfielder stole the ball off Austin Smith, the South African captain and former Reading player, and headed for the circle and let fly with a sweetly-struck shot.

South Africa were not dead yet, Lloyd Norris-Jones being credited with their second goal after his centre was deflected into goal by Mantell.

But England were beginning to find their linkage and one sensed the goals would come. They did, in a rush, with four in 14 minutes.

Dan Fox, the late replacement flown out to replace injured Simon Mantell, had his first taste of the World Cup in the 42nd minute. He so nearly scored straightaway.

A superb England passing movement involved Fox, who then had the shot, but it was young star Ashley Jackson who had the final touch.

Nick Catlin, England's youngest player, lashed a rebound into the roof of the net at the second attempt for England's fourth and then Catlin helped set up England's fifth for Ian Mackay.

Harper did nip in for his second for South Africa before Mantell too added his second with a low flick. It was the Reading player's 45th goal in 90 internationals.

At 6-3 England were home and dry but they let chances slip by and allowed Thornton McDade to round off South Africa's scoring.

The other two sides in England's group who had won on Sunday, both lost. Spain, the team seeded to finish above England, were beaten 2-1 by Pakistan who are England's next opponents. Spain scored a late equaliser but Pakistan's Abdul Haseem Khan promptly added his second of the match.

India who had beaten Pakistan earlier, suffered a demoralising 5-2 defeat by Australia. The match played in a frenzied atmosphere was superbly controlled by Scottish umpires Ged Curran and Andy Mair.

The near capacity crowd of 15,000 cheered every time an Indian had the ball and greeted every Australian goal in silence. The plain fact was that India had individual skill but no plan to break down the Australian defence.

Australia took their chances which they had singularly failed to do against England. The favourites are back on course.

The Telegraph

Goals rains in the 500th Match

s2h Team

Ten goals marked the 500th match (from 1971 to now)of the World Cup. England, showing symptons of resurrection, came in with new trumps in the second half and with that won the match at a whopping score of 6-4

This match was first of the three scheduled for Wednesday

After the sedate first half, in which both the teams scored a brace each, England changed the gear to outrun the African champions.

In the space seven minutes between 43 and 51 minutes, England scored three goals and went up 5-2, this spurt has changed the complexion of the game.

Richard Mantell scored a brace.

England beat South Africa 6-4 at World Cup

England beat South Africa 6-4 in New Delhi on Tuesday to maintain their 100% start to the World Cup.

The European champions, having beaten Australia in their opener, edged a thriller full of defensive lapses.

At half-time the sides were level at 2-2 before England scored three quick goals to take control and condemn their opponents to their second defeat.

Richard Mantell, with two penalty corners, Rob Moore, Ashley Jackson, Nick Catlin and Iain Mackay all netted.

"Scoring six goals means a lot and I am happy with the win, but we were not consistent enough," said England captain Barry Middleton.

"We should have played well throughout the 70 minutes, but we did not do that against the South Africans. Our defence was not up to the mark.

"We have a tough game against Pakistan on Thursday and really need to work on our game."

England had fallen behind after 10 minutes when Marvin Harper opened the scoring for South Africa with a close-range strike.

Mantell levelled with the first of his two penalty corner goals four minutes later before England went ahead in the 23rd minute when Moore found the net.

South Africa were lucky to equalise two minutes later when Mantell turned a wayward cross into his own net.

But Jackson made it 3-2 in the 43rd minute, poking home after a great move involving debutant Dan Fox and Middleton.

They then scored twice more in as many minutes, Catlin netting in the 50th minute before setting up Mackay for the fifth.

Harper got one back for South Africa two minutes later, but Mantell made sure of the win with his 45th goal in 90 appearances before Thornton McDade got a late consolation for South Africa.

England manager Andy Halliday said: "Overall we're a little disappointed with the performance but having said that there were some patches of good hockey played, especially early in the second half.

"The defensive strength that we displayed on Sunday wasn't there but it is two wins from two now so we've got to be pleased with that."

South Africa captain Austin Smith said his team made the same mistakes as they did in the 4-2 loss against Spain.

"We competed well in the first half and I was delighted with the 2-2 scoreline," said Smith. "But we let ourselves down in the second half.

"England were very good after the break and scored too many goals. We were left chasing the equaliser which was not easy against a quality team."

England's next match is against former champions Pakistan on Thursday, with a 1305 GMT kick-off.

Pakistan overcame a 4-1 loss to India in their tournament opener to pip Olympic silver-medallists Spain 2-1 and earn their first points in the 12-nation tournament.

England: Fair, Hawes, Mantell, Smith, Wilson, Jackson, Kirkham, Moore, Mackay, Middleton (capt), Tindall.

Substitutes: Alexander, Brogdon, Catlin, Dixon, Fox.

BBC Sport

Eng spray goals on SA

M.S. Unnikrishnan

New Delhi: England came from behind to record a tennis score 6-4 victory against South Africa and notched up their second straight win in Pool B to brighten their chances of a semifinal berth in the 12th edition of the Hero Honda FIH World Cup Hockey Championship at the National Stadium here today.

But it was a hard-fought win as South Africa kept the European Champions on their toes till the final hooter though England have emerged as the team to be watched, particularly after their stunning 3-2 victory against favourites Australia on the opening day.

As they had done against Spain yesterday, South Africa took the lead in this match too, but England packed a punch too many when it came to scoring with their penalty corner specialist Richard Mantel, who accounted for two of the goals.

Marwin Harper put South Africa in the lead and also accounted for the third goal. England then fought back to hit home through Richard Mantel, whose drag-flicks off penalty corners got them their first and sixth goals. Interestingly, both Harper and Mantell wore jerseys bearing No 6, and both ended up scoring a brace each.

Rob Moore, Ashley Jackson, Nick Catlin and Iain Mackay were the other England scorers. Lloyd Norris-Jones and Thornton Mcdade were the other South African markesmen.

England seemed to warm up late, but South Africa matched them almost move for move, goal for goal, with their speedy, thrusty winger Lloyd displaying amazing dribbling skills to scythe through the England defence and his crosses always proved lethal. South Africa scored first off one such lethal move when Harper connected a cross from the left by Lloyd.

That was in the ninth minute, and though England were taken off guard, they looked unflappable, and equalised four minutes later when the tall, big-built Richard Mantel displayed a smooth ability to drag-flick the ball in off their first penalty corner.

England then took the lead when Rob Moore trapped the ball off a free hit, dribbled in to put it in with a hard whack. Then it was the turn of South Africa to turn the table on England as Norris-Jones put on a show with his searing wing play to take the ball all the way down, and then played a reverse flick, which went in.

With the scores tied 2-2 at half time, England returned to the field with recharged energy to knock in four goals in the space of 19 minutes. For the first 22 minutes, England played like a team possessed, pinning South Africa to their own half.

England took the lead two minutes into the second session when captain Barry Middleton took the ball down the left wing, but his shot was padded away by South African goalie Erasmus Pieterse. Ashley Jackson, lurking in the goal area, pounced on the rebound to despatch it goal-ward.

Thereafter, England were on a roll, dominating the play for the next 25 minutes.They relaxed a bit after taking a 5-3 lead, and South Africa seized the moment to make a few counter attacks, which fetched them two more goals.

Though Mantell was on the mark with the second penalty corner too, the next three went abegging. England are now sitting pretty after scoring two authentic wins,though South Africa can indeed turn out to be the spoil sport for other teams in the group, including hosts India.

The Tribune

England register second win, beat SA 6-4 in hockey World Cup

NEW DELHI: European champions England registered their second straight victory in the hockey World Cup on Tuesday, defeating a lowly South Africa 6-4 in a high-scoring second Pool B match at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

For England, Richard Mantell (15th minute, 57th), Robert Moore (23rd), Ashley Jackson (43rd), Nick Catlin (50th) and Iain Mackay (51st) were the goal getters, while Marvin Harper (10th, 53rd), Lloyd Norris-Jones (25th) and Thornton Mcdade (67th) registered their names in the score sheet for South Africa.

The first half witnessed an exciting contest between the two teams with playing clean hockey and using short passes to great effect.

England, however, was the more dominant side after the change of ends as they earned penalty corners at will and pumped in four goals to inflict on South Africa their second defeat on the trot.

South Africa, however, were the first to sound the board in the 10th minute of the match through Harper after Justin Reid-Ross had set up the goal with a great solo run down the baseline.

England equalised five minutes later through Mantell, who converted his side's first penalty corner with aplomb.

England then doubled their lead in the 23rd minute, courtesy a lapse in concentration from South Africa skipper Austin Smith, who gave away the possession to Moore and the English forward made no mistake in hammering the ball home.

But the lead was short-lived as Norris-Jones drew parity two minutes later with a fierce shot from the right corner that beat England goalkeeper James Fair all ends up to go into the breather tied at 2-2.

But it was all England in the first 15 minutes of the second half as they applied continuous pressure on the Protea goal.

Their efforts resulted in goal in the 43rd minute through Jackson, who scored from a brilliant counterattack and then seven minutes later Catalin chipped the ball over South Africa custodian Erasmus Pieterse to make it 4-2.

A minute later England scored their fifth goal from another quick counterattack through Mackay and then again came to the party, converting with ease their second short corner.

The South Africans did manage to pull two back through Harper and Macdade but it was not enough for the Protea side to ensure their first point in the tournament.

With this victory, England has six points from two outings while South Africa is yet to get their name in the points table.

England will next play Pakistan while South Africa will take on the mighty Australians in their next pool matches on Thursday.

The Times of India

England stay unbeaten at hockey World Cup

England defeated South Africa 6-4 to remain unbeaten while Pakistan edged Spain 2-1 with a late winner in the field hockey World Cup.

After stunning world No. 2 Australia in its opener, England has six points from two matches in Pool B. Pakistan and Spain have three each, and South Africa zero.

India was playing Australia in a late match.

England and South Africa were 2-2 at halftime of a fast-paced encounter, but England scored three successive times straight after the break to seal the result.

Ashley Jackson made it 3-2 in the 43rd, then Nick Catlin and Iain Mackay scored a minute apart to put England in control at 5-2.

Marvin Harper's second field goal cut England's lead by one, but Richard Mantell's second penalty corner goal in the 57th ensured England's unbeaten run.

England captain Barry Middleton said the team needs to be consistent for all 70 minutes.

"Although we scored six goals, our defense was not up to the mark," said Middleton.

"We did not play good hockey in the second half. We have a tough game coming up Thursday against Pakistan."

Rob Moore also scored for England, and Lloyd Norris-Jones and Thornton McDade were South Africa's other scorers.

Pakistan rode a pair from Abdul Haseem to defeat Olympic silver medalist Spain.

Pakistan, which lost to India in its opener, took the lead in the 30th minute when Haseem's shot was deflected in by Spanish defender Xavier Ribas.

Spain equalised in the 65th through David Alegre, whose flick in during a goalmouth melee followed a penalty corner.

But Haseem scored the winner three minutes later by deflecting in a penalty corner from Sohail Abbas.

The Times of India

India can finish among top teams in WC: England captain

NEW DELHI: Indian team is currently one of the strongest sides in last 10 years and they are capable of winning the hockey World Cup, England captain Barry Middleton said on Tuesday.

Barry, whose side will play India on March 6 in Pool B, said the support from the home crowd will make the Rajpal Singh-led team all the more difficult to beat.

"I agree that the current Indian side is perhaps the strongest side in the last 10 years. They are a balanced side and they are fit. Against Pakistan, they (India) played a fast and attacking game. They can go all the way in the tournament," he said after England beat South Africa 6-4 in a Pool B match here.

"Moreover, the support from the home crowd will definitely boost their morale. The crowd has been fantastic so far and the atmosphere has been good. So, we will have to play our best against India if we want to beat them," the England captain said.

About today's match, Barry said his side played very well in the second half after being tied 2-2 at the breather.

"It was a tough match but we played really well in the second half to score four goals. We are improving every match," he said.

Asked which one is tougher between today's match and their first game against Australia on Sunday which they won 3-2, Barry said, "Australia are second ranked team and one of the favourites. So it looked like that match is tougher but it is equally tough against South Africa today also."

South Africa captain Austin Smith rued that they could not sustain the first half tempo in the second session.

"We played really well in the first half but failed to sustain the momentum in the second session. Three goals in quick time in the second session did us in," he said.

"We have to really play well in the remaining matches against Australia, India and Pakistan who are very strong sides. The next game is against Australia which will be really tough. We would want to at least get a point," he added.

About today's match, Barry said his side played very well in the second half after being tied 2-2 at the breather.

"It was a tough match but we played really well in the second half to score four goals. We are improving every match," he said.

Asked which one is tougher between today's match and their first game against Australia on Sunday which they won 3-2, Barry said, "Australia are second ranked team and one of the favourites. So it looked like that match is tougher but it is equally tough against South Africa today also."

South Africa captain Austin Smith rued that they could not sustain the first half tempo in the second session.

"We played really well in the first half but failed to sustain the momentum in the second session. Three goals in quick time in the second session did us in," he said.

"We have to really play well in the remaining matches against Australia, India and Pakistan who are very strong sides. The next game is against Australia which will be really tough. We would want to at least get a point," he added.

The Times of India

Parents look at the positives in SA defeat

Shubhodeep Chakravarty

Austin Smith is leading the South African campaign in the Hockey World Cup. His family is leading the cheers from the stands.

In the city to support their team, the Smiths haven’t lost hope despite South Africa’s twin defeats. “I think our boys are missing the horn-and-trumpet cheer. We aren’t allowed to get those in, but I’m sure they will strike form soon,” says Chris Smith, Austin’s father.

However, mother Precilla Smith is apprehensive.

“They’re a bunch of young boys and lack tactical strategies. They will make up for it with raw power and passion for the game.”

The Smiths say they are enjoying their stay in India. The family from Cape Town says it has never witnessed a more electrifying atmosphere in a hockey match.

“It’s like a carnival in the stands. And when the home team plays, it’s thunderous,” said Allison Smith, Austin’s sister, referring to the India-Pakistan match.

They are all extremely happy with the security blanket provided to the team. As Precilla puts it, “I’d rather have a lot of it (security) than none of it for my boy.”

Hindustan Times

Abdul Haseem's late strike gives Pakistan 2-1 win over Spain

C Rajshekhar Rao

New Delhi: England emerged the dark horses of the FIH Hero Honda World Cup after prevailing in a high-scoring Pool B match against South Africa. Having already shocked Australia in the championship opener, they consolidated their position in the tough group.

In a match that saw the number of goals go up to double figures, England prevailed 6-4 primarily because of their domination in the second half. They had the satisfaction of a decent penalty-corner conversion rate while also getting in the field goals.

South Africa were the ones to find the mark first, a pass from Thomas Hammond setting up the opportunity for Marvin Harper in the 10th minute. Richard Mantell equalised off a penalty-corner and then England went ahead when Rob Moore scored off a move down the centre.

Lloyd Norris-Jones got a lucky equaliser for South Africa when his shot from the right went in off defender Richard Alexander’s stick.

A half-time scoreline of 2-2 was not a precursor of things to come as England ran away with the lead in the second session. Ashley Jackson’s goal early on in the second-half was followed by one from Nick Catlin, who put the ball in smartly after the ball rebounded off the goalkeeper following his own previous attempt.

Catlin then put Iain Mackay in a position to make it 5-2, the second goal in as many minutes tilting the match in England’s favour.

England got another one through Mantell, but they were worried a little as Harper got his second goal for South Africa and Thornton McDade chipped in with one towards the fag end, the defence line not standing as tight as they did against Australia.

“After our win over Australia, everyone was expecting us to just put it across against South Africa. But that does not happen because this is a tough tournament and South Africa have the capability to score goals,” said Barry Middleton, England’s captain for the match.

In another match of the same pool, Pakistan pipped Spain as Abdul Haseem Khan scored the better of his two goals just four minutes from the long hooter in a 2-1 victory that keep the Asian team in contention after their early loss to India.

The forward deflected a penalty-corner strike from specialist Sohail Abbas, deviating the ball too much for goalkeeper Francisco Cortes’s comfort. After enjoying a one-goal lead for the major part, the Pakistanis were a hassled lot as David Alegre had knocked one in a little before in the second half.

Enjoying the support of a number of Indians, as well as a few busloads of supporters from home, the Pakistan players took a victory lap to the applause of the spectators.

Abdul Haseem had earlier put Pakistan ahead with a goal from the left that went off a defender’s stick even as striker Rehan Butt too got a stick to the ball that was already inside the goalmouth.

“We are really enjoying playing at this venue. It feels very good to see so many people support us here,” said veteran Abbas after their first win in two matches. Spain had beaten South African 4-2 in their first match.


Pak strain Spain

Prabhjot Singh

New Delhi: Putting the opening day reverse against hosts India in the background, Pakistan put up an improved and inspired display to shun out Spain 2-1 in their second pool B match in the 12th World Cup at Major Dhyan Chand National Hockey Stadium here this evening. Pakistan must owe their success to Haseem Khan who scored both their goals.

The match, fought fiercely, had not only several decisions of umpires challenged through video referrals but also witnessed a virtual self goal by Spain though the official scorecard credited the goal to Rehan Butt. And the deciding goal was masterminded by the powerful drag flick of the mercurial Sohail Abbas but not before Haseem Abdul Khan gently deflected it in. Incidentally, this was the only penalty corner won by Pakistan against six by their opponents.

In fact, it was a do or die game for Pakistan. Leaving nothing to chance, Pakistan mounted pressure from hit in. It was Rehan Butt who fumbled with initial chances. But it was not his day again.

Though Pakistan defence put up a much better display than what it did against India yet it had at times started wilting under tremendous pressure of their opponents. Spain, that had staged a marvelous recovery in the second half against South Africa in the first game, could not repeat that performance today. Rather, their forwards were jittery and lacked precision and coordination.

An evidence of Spaniards defence wilting under pressure defence came in the 29th minute. Abdul Haseem Khan had packed a shot across the goalmouth for Rehan Butt to deflect it in. But before the ball could reach him, Xavier Ribas did the job that was expected of Rehan Butt. Rehan, however, had the final touch as the ball sailed into the net. The official result sheet, however, credited the goal to Haseem Khan. This was the goal with which Pakistan led when the teams broke for lemon beak.

The second half saw the Europeans swarming all over there opponents territory. A series of penalty corners saw both Pau Quamada and Xavier Ribas failing to utilize any.

However, following their fifth and last penalty corner, David Allege managed to push the ball home from a melee that saw ball changing hits several times after Xavier Ribas had taken the shot.

And with just three minutes to go, Sohail helped Pakistan to earn its first three points of the tournament

The Tribune

Pakistan clinch thrilling 2-1 win over Spain

NEW DELHI: A nervy Pakistan put behind their defeat against arch-rivals India to eke out a narrow 2-1 win against Spain in a hard-fought Pool B encounter of the hockey World Cup on Tuesday.

A defeat on Tuesday would have virtually shut the semifinal door on Pakistan after their 1-4 defeat against India but Abdul Haseem Khan (30th minute, 70th) sounded the board twice to see them through.

David Alegre scored the lone goal for Spain in the 67th minute.

As expected, the match started on a fast pace with Pakistan going for the attack right at the beginning.

As early as in the ninth minute of the game, Pakistan got a great opportunity to go ahead but Waseem Ahmed's shot, after dodging some Spanish defenders in side the D, was saved by goalkeeper Francisco Cortes.

But Spain seemed in no mood to sit back and got their first scoring opportunity in the next minute.

A quick through ball from captain Pol Amat found Rodrigo Garza right in front of the goal but his shot was cleared by Pakistan custodian Salman Akbar.

Pakistan's experienced centre forward Rehan Butt also wasted an opportunity in the 11th minute as he failed to touch the ball with only the Spanish goalkeeper to beat.

Abdul Haseem Khan finally opened the account in the 30th minute, deflecting a high cross into the cage to give Pakistan a 1-0 lead during the lemon break.

After the change of ends, Pakistan created a chance in the 42nd minute when Akhtar Ali found an unmarked Rehan Butt inside the D but the Pakistani striker's reverse shot from an acute angle missed the goal by inches.

Down by a goal, Spain upped the tempo with frequent raids of their opponent's citadel but Pakistani defence thwarted their attempts till the 67th minute of match when the Spaniards equalised from a goal-mouth melee through David Alegre.

Pakistan appealed against the goal and asked for video referral but the video umpire upheld the on-field umpire's decision.

In the dying stages of the match, Pakistan went all out for the all-important winner and earned their first penalty corner but failed to convert it.

But as luck would have it, with little over three minutes to go for the hooter, the sub-continent giants got their second short corner of the match.

Sohail Abbas' flick found Khan in the right place and the latter got the vital touch to sent the crowd, which rooted for Pakistan, in a frenzy.

Pakistan will take on England in their next match on Thursday, while Spain will face off against India the same day.

The Times of India

Pakistan takes three points against Spain

s2h Team

Pakistan showed glimpses of vintage stuff and scoring prowess to snatch three points in their second match today here in the third day of the World Cup

Pakistan led Spain 1-0 at half time with a goal from Haseem Khan, a goal which nearly was not there but for a goaline defenders wrong angled stick. It bounced off the defenders stick in to the goal.

Spain turned the tables in the 65th minutes when veteran David Alegre equalized. The joy of the Spanish shortlived as three minutes before the hooter Pakistan converted its only penalty corner. Youngster Haseem, a member of this year's Junior World Cup, netted the winning goal. Spain waged a grim battle, but Pakistan survied those anxious moments to walk away witt deserving three points

Pak bounce back vs Spain


New Delhi: Forty-eight hours after the humiliating defeat against India in their World Cup opener, four-time champions Pakistan Tuesday made a sensational comeback in the tournament with a 2-1 victory over mighty Spain.

Clearly the underdogs against the Olympic silver medallists, Pakistan, who looked a reformed lot, unleashed wave after wave of attacks in the first half to rattle the Europeans and take the lead through Abdul Haseem Khan. Khan eventually scored both goals for the winners.

Spain restored parity in the 64th minute through David Alegre but Pakistan had hit back within a 60 seconds when a deflection off Sohail Abbas’s brilliantly taken penalty corner was put into the goal by Khan.

Cheered on by a goodly crowd which appreciated their every move, the Pakistanis turned on the style at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium and even ran a victory lap after the match.

The penalty corner by Sohail that led to the second goal was certainly the day’s best moment. It was the only penalty corner that Pakistan earned in the match and Sohail had the Spanish defenders puzzled taking advantage of which Khan deflected the ball in.

“It is a great win and we are back in contention,” Abbas said later. “There was tremendous pressure on us. We could have played better but couldn’t. Hopefully we will win again in the next match.”

The drag-flicker was very appreciative of the crowd. “They supported us throughout the match. It definitely helped us play better,” said the veteran of more than 300 international matches.

In the day’s first match, European champions England defeated South Africa 6-4 to register their second consecutive win in Pool B.

For England, Richard Mantell (15th minute, 57th), Robert Moore (23rd), Ashley Jackson (43rd), Nick Catlin (50th) and Iain Mackay (51st) were on target, while Marvin Harper (10th, 53rd), Lloyd Norris-Jones (25th) and Thornton Mcdade (67th) got on to the scoresheet for South Africa.

The Telegraph, India

Different strategy worked: Zeeshan

Sports Reporter

NEW DELHI: Pakistan approached its crucial hockey World Cup game against Spain with a different strategy and it paid off, said captain Zeeshan Ashraf here on Tuesday.

“After the loss to India, we made a lot of effort. We adopted a different strategy of controlling the midfield and it worked,” Zeeshan said after his team's 2-1 victory.

Curbing its normal attacking approach was the reason behind Pakistan not getting enough penalty corners in the match. “We wanted to slow the game down and that is why we did not attack on both sides,” Zeeshan said.

Despite the loss, Spain coach Martin Dani said the match against Pakistan would help his side in its next fixture against India. “They play a similar type of hockey and this would be a reference for us,” he said.

Not convincing

England captain Barry Middleton agreed that after the brilliant performance against Australia, his team's 6-4 win against South Africa was not a convincing one.

“We played well only in the second half. South Africa is a good team and they can score goals against most teams,” Middleton said, adding that his side missed the crowd support it had in the match against the Aussies.

The English skipper said his team's next outing against Pakistan would be a tough one. “The conditions suit them better and it would not be a walkover,” he said.

South African coach Gregg Clark admitted that his team lost focus after half-time.

“In a four to five minute period, we conceded three goals and it made the difference. Otherwise, we competed very well,” he said.

The Hindu

Pakistanis delighted at support from Indian fans

NEW DELHI: The Pakistani hockey team was delighted to find the Indian fans supporting them in their World Cup Pool B match against Spain at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Tuesday.

Pakistan's veteran player Sohail Abbas said it was a great feeling and he and his teammates felt that they were playing in Lahore or Karachi. Sohail made the comment after his team's 2-1 victory over the Spaniards.

"After a long time, we found some crowd support in India. It was a great feeling and we felt as if we are playing in Lahore or Karachi," said the star drag flicker.

Having lost their first match to India, the win against Spain has brightened Pakistan's hopes of fighting for a semi-final berth from their pool.

"The pool has opened now and after Australia's loss to England in the first game, it seems that every team has a chance of making the semis," he said.

The veteran defender went on to add that Pakistan were taking one game at a time and will quickly put this victory behind them.

"We will put this victory behind us and prepare for the next match. We are not thinking of the semi-final or the final. We are taking one game at a time," he said.

The Times of India

Kookaburras make amends at the World Cup

It was a case of 16 versus 19,000 when the Kookaburras took on India in front of their home crowd in New Delhi at the 2010 World Cup, with the Kookaburras rising to the occasion to win 5-2.

The win keeps the Kookaburras well in truly in the hunt for a semi finals berth, moving them to second place in their pool after Spain suffered a surprise 2-1 loss to Pakistan in the earlier match.

Australia's scoring difficulties from their opening game against England, in which they failed to convert numerous shots on goal, was a distant memory after the Kookaburras opened their scoring account only two minutes into the match.

Veteran defender Liam De Young made it look easy after rebounding his own ball after his first attempt on goal hit the cross bar, putting away the goal to give the Kookaburras a 1-0 lead.

The goal did little to quiet the deafening Indian crowd, however the Kookaburras were given even more breathing space when Glenn Turner scored his first goal of the tournament following a deflection on the goal line from a penalty corner taken by Luke Doerner.

India refused to be intimidated by the scoreboard, continually attacking their goal in a bid to work themselves back into the game.

Australian goalkeeper Nathan Burgers was up to the task, making several good saves while Liam De Young and Eddie Ockenden emerged as key play makers for the Kookaburras at the other end of the pitch.

India continued to push for their opening goal, putting the Kookaburras defence under huge pressure. This allowed for youngsters such as Graeme Begbie, Matthew Butturini and Simon Orchard to show maturity beyond their years, while full back Luke Doerner was also solid on the last line of defence.

After taking India's attack the Kookaburras were keen to further extend their lead, with veteran Grant Schubert producing a great tackle outside the circle controlling the ball and finding Rob Hammond in the circle who in turn found Des Abbott on the goal line to score Australia's third goal.

Despite Australia's best efforts eventually India made their way onto the scoreboard, scoring with only 10 seconds remaining in the first half after a long cross found Vikram Pillay unmarked in the circle.

It didn’t take long for the Kookaburras to respond after half time, with Luke Doerner converting his first penalty corner of the tournament to extend the Kookaburras lead to 4-1.

Only minutes later Glenn Turner was given a clear shot at goal after being unmarked in the circle, ultimately ending India’s chances and taking the edge off the vocal crowd.

A goal to India at the 53 minute mark helped make the scoreboard look more respectable, but the damage was already done with the Kookaburras claiming their first victory at the 2010 World Cup.

The Kookaburras will next play South Africa on Thursday 4 March.

Kookaburras 5 India 2 (3-1 half time)

Goals – Aus De Young 2m FG, Aus Turner 10m PC, Aus Abbott 26m FG, Ind Pillay 35m FG, Aus Doerner 42m PC, Aus Turner 43m FG, Ind R. Singh 53m FG

Hockey Australia media release

India slide Down Under

Harpreet Kaur Lamba

New Delhi: March 2: Expect Ric Charlesworth to come up with something special, every time the chips are down.

In a crucial tie – Australia had lost 2-3 to England in their opening game – the Kookaburras massacred India 5-2 in their Pool B match to put their campaign back on track.

The Australians began in the only manner they know – attack. The first blow came in as early as the second minute and unsettled the Indians completely.

Oz defender Liam de Young found the net with a deft touch – after his first shot had hit the cross bar – to make it 1-0. It was a rude wake up call for India, who it seemed hadn’t even warmed-up by then.

The Men In Blue hadn’t even settled when the Aussies struck again. Striker Glenn Turner showed supers athleticism as he slided to connect and put the ball past goalkeeper Adrian D’Souza off a penalty corner, making a complete mockery of the defenceline.

The nimble-footed Aussies stamped their authority with top-class fitness and agility. Such was their supremacy in the line of defence that the Indians could not even cross the half line in the first 20 minutes, leave alone have a sight of the striking circle.

The Australian midfield relied on swift rotations and overlaps and blocked the flanks completely to keep the Indian strikers under check. Prabhjot Singh, Gurwinder Chandi and Deepak Thakur, who did well against Pakistan, were given no width by the world number 2 side.

Australia pumped in another goal in the 26th minute. De Young and Robert Hammond attacked in tandem, before releasing the ball to Desmond Abbott who found the net much to the misery of the home team.

Midfielder Vikram Pillay pulled one back in the dying minutes of the first half – Pillay scored off a superb reverse flick after Arjun Halappa sent a cross – to raise some hopes as the teams went into the lemon break.

There was some improvement in the Indian attack after the change of ends, but the void was too large to fill. The Kookaburras showed no signs of mercy and scored in quick succession – Like Doerner and Glenn Turner scoring in the 42nd and 43rd minute – and the writing was on the wall. Skipper Rajpal Singh reduced the margin in the 53rd minute.

Australia, who were done in by the lack of a penalty-corner specialist against England, went in for indirect variations this time, and the plan held them in good stead. Two of their five goals came from set-pieces.

For India, the lone bright spot was defender Dhananjay Mahadik. The Armyman was brilliant in defence and also fed the midfield regularly, but the positive part of the story ends here.

The thumping win has put Australia back in the reckoning, while India will have a lot to iron when they take on Spain next.

The Asian Age

It's Australia's redemption night

India pays the price for running into resilient Australia

G. Rajaraman

You could have predicted the Australian backlash after the side lost 2-3 to England in the opening match of the Hero Honda FIH World Cup. And when the Indians were unable to replicate the intensity showed for most of their opening game against Pakistan, it became clear that only one side would win the game on Tuesday.

If collective will of the goodly crowd could have resulted in a few goals, India would have won by a handsome margin but in the end, the match was a testimony to the famed Australian traits of grit and resilience as well as its players’ ability to actualise their coach’s plans. A 5-2 verdict in favour of the Australians seemed a fair result for the efforts that the teams showcased.

Even if the world acknowledges England as the most improved side in the past couple of years, Australia was not expected to lose its opening game against that team. Its goal-scoring skills seemed to have deserted the team from Down Under in that match but on Tuesday, it found the target often enough to peg India back.

Early on, India did not have the kind of speed that the Koreans showed in their game against Germany on Monday. That mean the counterattacks from the penalty corners lacked the bite needed to be effective against the superbly fit Australians. The short passing that the Indians tried was also of no avail as the Australian midfield and defence tackled remarkably well.

India was, of course, hamstrung by the fact that it could have only four players on the bench after spearhead Shivendra Singh’s suspension for two matches. Coach Jose Brasa’s worst fears came true and when he sought fresh pairs of legs to send in, he did not have many options. And his players also came up short when having to find ways past the seemingly impregnable defence.

This was not a night on which you could fault the Indians too much. For, you could see a great sense of purpose and method in Australia’s marauding approach to the match. They simply did not let the Indians play their game and kept scoring at frequent intervals to ensure that they would pick up full points from this contest.

Even the staunchest of Indian supporters – and there were celebrities and diehards, Olympic legends and school kids in the stands – will concede that it was Australia’s redemption night. It was a bit of a shame that India had to come off an emotionally and physically draining victory over Pakistan and run into a squad that was hurt by having lost to England.

Australia hand India 5-2 thrashing

C Rajshekhar Rao

New Delhi: There was no victory lap for the Indians. Only a ‘cooling down’ process that gave them time to come to terms with the reality of a 2-5 drubbing at the hands of the Australians, apart from the primary purpose of getting over the fatigue of a tough match.

The enthusiasm of the crowds and the flair of the Indian players were not enough to contain the favourites, who are looking for their second World Cup title after having lost in the finals to Germany in the previous two editions.

The national anthem was sung by virtually the full crowd of around 15,000 people before the match, but it were Australia who found the rhythm straight away. The Aussies, stung with a shock loss to England, simply turned the guns on the Indians and fired away.

India were outpaced in the field and struggled with the basics, and but for two fine opportunities created by the wily Arjun Halappa, were largely out of ideas.

Coached by the reputed Ric Charlesworth, who also had a bitter experience as a consultant with India, Australia dominated the first-half so much, that a comeback was always unlikely.

India were at their wits’ end in the first half, wondering whether to attack or defend. But for a superb goal from Vikram Pillay, who got hold of, turned around and then scooped in off a crisp cross from the extreme right by Halappa, it had been a forgettable session for the home side.

The half-time was taken at 3-1, three superb goals from Australia knocking the stuffing out of the Indians. “The early goal that we conceded proved decisive. We could never come back after that and were simply outplayed in terms of speed and stamina. But I thought we missed Shivendra Singh upfront,” said India coach Jose Brasa.

The first goal that Brasa referred to was from Liam De Young, who shot in off a rebound from the framework in the third minute. But the two goals to follow actually exhibited the athleticism of the Aussies.

In the eighth minute, Glenn Turner dived to get his stick off a penalty-corner, while Desmond Abbott made a similar acrobatic effort following a move in tandem from the left between Grant Schubert and Robert Hammond.

India’s goal at the stroke of half-time was a breather for the enthusiastic crowd that had come hoping to see an encore after a 4-1 victory over Pakistan on the opening day. But what followed was further torment for goalkeeper Adrian D’Souza, who made his return after Sreejesh was preferred over him in the firstmatch.

Like Doerner scored off a penalty-corner, while Turner knocked in his second goal to make it 5-1. For India, Halappa once again created an opportunity when he wove into the circle from the right and put captain Rajpal Singh in a position to complete an impressive move culminating in a goal that completed the scoreline at 5-2. India did launch more attacks in the second half, but it were Australia who actually had the best opportunities, including a missed ‘stroke’ in the dying minutes.

Record TRP for Indo-Pak game:

The India-Pakistan match attracted a record number of audience in the country, generating viewing figures akin to that of an ODI. The match gained an audience share of 8.9 on Doordarshan (TVR = 1.8) and 1.3 on Ten Sports. By way of a benchmark, cricket’s TVR on Doordarshan for the four ODIs between India and Sri Lanka in December last year ranged from 1.1 to 2.3, averaging 1.85.


Australia thrash India 5-2

Prabhjot Singh

New Delhi: Grit and glory of the opening day could not sail the home team through its acid test as it collapsed and crawled to a stunning 2-5 defeat against Australia in the third and last game of day three of the 12th World Cup at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here tonight.

For Australia it was their first win in two games and brought them at par with India on points table while England after handing out a 6-4 drubbing to South Africa continued at the top of the table with maximum of six points from two games. Wins for Australia and Pakistan also have thrown open the pool B with Spain and India failing to add to their first days’ points tally today.

The Australians even after conceding a goal in the last few seconds of the first half had taken a commanding 3-1 lead in a game that had almost filled the stadium with an enthusiastic crowd expecting a repeat performance from their home heroes. But it was not to be. Indians never looked in the game that had stunning Australians in the command right from the hit off.

Unable to recover from the initial hammering, including a goal they conceded to Liam De Young, Indians, unable to comprehend what was going around, quickly lost the rhythm of their game. Though, at times they looked like coming back in the game but Aussies were unrelenting.

Neither the game plan nor the plan were going India’s way from the start as even in the seventh minute when the Australians asked for a video referral of a penalty corner follow up that umpire had blown for a free hit, it was changed to a penalty corner from which Glenn Turner made no mistake.

With two goals in first seven minutes, Australians had their tales up as Indians were making desperate attempts to stay in the game by withstanding unending onslaughts. Only bright spot in the Indian camp was Sardar Singh who weathered reverses and helped his team to put up a semblance of fight. His interceptions, passes and moves were well executed.

India initially built all its attack from the left while the right flank was virtually non-functional. It was left half Gurbaj Singh, who after running down the flank sent a sitter across the Australian goalmouth that Vikram Pillay intercepted and rightly flung the ball into the roof of the net for India’s only goal in the first half.

Other Indian scorer skipper Rajpal Singh who made no mistake with a back pass from goal line by Arjun Halappa late in the second half following India’s last penalty corner of the game. Even Sandeep Singh was totally off-color. For Australia Liam De Young, Glenn Turner (two), Desmond Abbot and Like Doerner were the scorers. In fact, in the first half, Australians had packed too many surprises for the home team, giving them a few lessons in modern day scientific hockey. The Aussies not only mesmerised Indian forward line but had the defence jittery with their rampant penetrating moves they built from flanks and wove them into the striking circle with tremendous ease.

Team India of the first day was nowhere. Instead, it looked as a bunch of nervous wrecks were playing the masters of the game. The difference was obvious as the home team was tottering to avoid a hammering. If it ended with a 2-5 defeat, it was because the Aussies muffed a penalty stroke, minutes before the final whistle.

The Tribune

Aussies put India in their place

Hosts lose 2-5 to Charlesworth’s boys in 2nd Pool B tie


New Delhi: For India, it was a night of disaster in the Hero Honda hockey World Cup at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium on Tuesday.

The 15,000-strong wildly cheering crowd that thronged the stands hoping to witness yet another winning show from the blue shirts was left hugely disappointed as India were thrashed 2-5 by Australia in their second Pool B encounter. The Champions Trophy winners could have scored one more goal but skipper Jamie Dwyer missed a penalty stroke in the second half.

The Indians, who were on a high after their breathtaking 4-1 win over archrivals Pakistan, found the Australians too hot to handle and had no clue whatsoever about the rivals’ game plan. The Aussies were truly awesome and slammed in three goals in a span of 26 minutes to leave the Indians absolutely stunned. The victory puts the Australians back in contention for a last-four berth.

It was also a night of redemption for Australia coach Ric Charlesworth. Hounded out by the authorities during his brief stint as the technical advisor of Indian hockey, Charlesworth must have been extremely pleased with the performance of his team. Never for a moment did he stay at the bench and the legendary coach kept shouting instructions at the top of his voice throughout the 70-minute encounter.

India coach Jose Brasa was upset with the defeat. “The match was won and lost in the first 10 minutes,” he said. “We committed too many silly mistakes. We should not have given away a penalty corner so easily.”

The Spaniard said that the Indians were not able to cope with the pace of the Aussies. “The Aussies play at a fast pace which they have developed over the last 20 years. Whatever we have developed is in the last seven months.”

The Indians were hit by a tsunami-like wave even before they could find their feet. The opening moments of the encounter saw defender Liam de Young moving in with lightning speed to take a swipe at the Indian goal. Indian goalkeeper Adrian D’Souza was beaten hands down but the ball ricocheted off the post. Young immediately pounced on it to hit the target.

With the crowd still shouting “India, India”, the hosts were soon down 0-2 by the eighth minute when Glenn Turner struck off a penalty corner. The fate of the match was virtually sealed in the 26th when Desmond Abbot ran down the pitch to beat D’Souza.

In reality, the loss can be put down to the sheer difference in class. While the Australians were rock solid in defence and midfield and sharp as a razor in attack, the Indians were mostly a blunt lot in every department.

Yet the spectators lived in false hope and backed the home team till the end. They roared in delight when Vikram Pillay made it 1-3 a minute before the half time and stood up to cheer their team whenever the Indians made any move.

The second goal by India, in the 53rd minute, was a classic example of the Indian style of hockey and undoubtedly the best goal of the day. By that time, the Aussies had made it 5-1 with Luke Doerner and Turner scoring two more. Arjun Halappa took the ball to the right and dribbled past three defenders before passing the ball for skipper Rajpal Singh to finish the job.

Wednesday’s matches

(Pool A): Germany vs Canada (4.35 pm), South Korea vs Argentina (6.35 pm), The Netherlands vs New Zealand (8.35 pm).

The Telegraph, India

Australia thrash India 5-2 at hockey World Cup

NEW DELHI: A dismal India were jolted out of their euphoria as Australia spanked them 5-2 in the hockey World Cup on Tuesday night.

On a high after Sunday's fairytale 4-1 victory against Pakistan, the Indians were in for a shock as Olympic silver medallist Australia opened their account as early as in the second minute and there was no stopping them.

The mighty Australians toyed with the Indian defence and scored through Glenn Turner (10th minute, 43rd), Liam De Young (2nd), Desmond Abbott (26th) and Luke Doerner (42nd).

For India, Vikram Pillay (35th) and captain Rajpal Singh (53rd) sounded the board.

The defeat saw India drop down in the points table to the fourth spot with England on top with two wins, followed by Australia and Spain.

India face Spain in their next Pool B encounter at the same Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Thursday.

Australia could have won the match 6-2 had it not been for Adrian D'souza, who stopped a Jamie Dwyer's penalty stroke five minutes from the hooter.

With this victory, Australia has not only earned three full points but also the Ajit Pal-Ric Charlesworth Trophy as the match was designated as a friendship match between the two countries.

The Indians were completely outplayed in all departments of the game as Australia scored goals almost at will to bring the hosts down to the earth after their 4-1 victory over Pakistan in the first match of the quadrennial event.

The Indian defence looked in complete disarray, while the forwardline lacked purpose and were guilty of holding on to the ball. The mid-field looked off-colour and failed to create chances unlike the Pakistan match where they controlled the proceedings.

Ace drag-flicker Sandeep Singh who dazzled against Pakistan, converting two penalty corners, failed to find the net once out of the three short corners India earned in the match.

Australia played like a wounded tiger after their shocking 2-3 loss at the hand of England and scored two goals within the first 10 minutes of the match.

The Kookaburras surged ahead in the second minute of the match when Liam De Young scored from a rebound after his initial shot had clashed against the crossbar.

The Aussies caught the Indian defence napping with quick moves and earned three penalty corners in the first 15 minutes.

Ric Charlesworth's boys earned back-to-back penalty corners and doubled their lead in the 10th minute when Tuner slammed home from the second set-piece, much to the disappointment of the near-capacity crowd.

Australia went 3-0 in the 26th minute through Desmond Abbott, who pushed the ball over the goal-line after he was set up by a well-created move from De Young and Robert Hammond.

Down by three goals, the Indians went into all-out attack in the last stages of the first half and earned their first penalty corner in the 27th minute but the opportunity was wasted as they opted for variation.

With a minute to go before the break, the home team was awarded another short corner but the video umpire overruled the decision after Australia appealed against it.

Nine seconds before the lemon break, India finally pulled one back through Vikram Pillay who slammed the ball home after receiving a cross from Gurbaj Singh from the right wing.

Down 3-1 at the halfway mark, the Indians were expected to come out all guns blazing in the second session but it was not to be and Australia scored another through a short corner from Luke Doerner in the 42nd minute.

Turner scored his second of the day and Australia's fifth when he converted yet another set-piece two minutes later.

The Indians subsequently lost cool which resulted in green cards for Deepak Thakur for a face-off with Robert Hammond and Arjun Halappa, who argued with on-field umpire.

The Indians reduced the margin in the 53rd minute when Rajpal scored after Halappa's individual brilliance set it up for the Indian skipper.

The match was also attended by Australian foreign affairs minister Stephen Smith and India's HRD minister Kapil Sibal.

The Times of India

Australia put England loss behind them to thrash India at hockey World Cup

Australia recovered from their surprise first-up loss to kick-start their hockey World Cup campaign with a 5-2 drubbing of host nation India in New Delhi.

The Kookaburras, the pre-tournament favourites, brushed aside their opening round 3-2 loss to England to hammer India in front of a sell-out crowd of 19,000.

Australia ran up a 3-0 lead by the 26th minute and pumped in two more goals despite Jamie Dwyer missing a penalty stroke.

Dwyer said beating India was "a relief" after losing to England.

"It was good to play the way we normally play," he said.

"I think we played brilliant hockey in the first 20 minutes. It was important to score early goals."

India's Spanish coach Jose Brasa admitted Australia deserved to win.

"They were in a different league as far as fitness and speed were concerned," said Brasa.

"We also conceded at least two goals due to stupid faults.

"The team needs to learn from its mistakes and play aggressive hockey in future games."

Australia's next match is on Thursday night (EDT) against South Africa - the only team in group B yet to record a win.

England remain top of group B after defeating South Africa 6-4 in a high-scoring thriller, while Pakistan bagged their first points in the tournament after losing their opening matches.

Fox Sports

India hit by a blizzard from Australia

Alok Sinha

NEW DELHI: After the terrific take-off on Sunday, India ran into an air pocket here on Tuesday night. It was a bumpy ride no doubt with the Australians coming at them in waves — teasing them, bullying them and, at times, mocking them. But that was not the way the entire script went in the fast-paced Hero Honda World Cup encounter that ended 5-2 in the favour of the legendary Ric Charlesworth's men.

It was also a story of India's new-found will to fight back; their desire to tell their fans that they are no pushovers. They lost the bruising battle but not before playing some serious hockey. It was heartening to see fans chant India, India even after the team had lost. It shows that the fans are willing to back them and to support them in their hour of distress. Surely, a new bonding seems to be emerging here.

It's never easy for a team ranked No. 12 in world to stage a fight back after being 0-3 down against the No. 2 team. And don't go by that scoreline. If the Indians had converted some easy opportunities that came their way in both halves, it would have been a different story. Australia, smarting from their shock defeat at the hands of England on Sunday, had vowed to hit India hard. That they did, taking advantage of defensive lapses. They took the lead in the second minute and slammed home the second even before the hosts could settle down.

Was it nerves? Or was the loss of forward Shivendra Singh, who has been banned for two matches, playing on their minds? It's difficult to tell but the first six minutes surely rattled them. They tried to get their act together, tightening their midfield play, trying to open up the flanks. However, even as they looked to be settling down, Australia made it 3-0, scoring against the run of play. It seemed curtains.

The Australians were brilliant in defence, speedier and their trapping and passing skills looked far superior. But that was till the 3-0 scoreline; after that it was an open game. Gurwinder Chandi missed an opportunity to score when he tried to pass the ball instead of taking a straight hit at the goal after entering the circle. However, soon after that, a minute before the half-time hooter, Vikram Pillay slotted home on a pass by Gurbaz Singh from the right. 1-3. The fight was on.

Australia repeated the first half. They slotted home two goals in the first seven minutes to go 5-1 up and it was yet again time to play catch up. The good bit was that the Indians refused to fall back and swarm their defence in panic, as they have in the past. They fought for every ball, dived, slided and ran into empty spaces. The Aussies seemed to have lost the edge and were suddenly looking vulnerable. Arjun Halappa worked his way past four Aussie defenders and passed to Rajpal in front of the goal. 2-5 and 15 minutes to go, it was now a question of how far India could go.

Goalkeeper Adrian D'Souza showed the way, denying Jamie Dwyer, diving to his right after the umpire had pointed to the dreaded spot. The Indians then kept pressing as the stadium erupted. But the Australians did not relent.

The Times of India

Fleet-footed Australians beat hosts 5-2

Uthra G Chaturvedi

Australian Hockey players celebrate after scoring a goal against India during the FIH World Cup 2010.

This was a match that probably held the key to the future course of the hockey World Cup as far as Pool B was concerned. But while the 5-2 scoreline suggests a far from convincing performance, the way India played showed that they could still make an impression going ahead.

The result was not unexpected; Australia are not ranked second in the world for no reason. They also came into the tournament on the back of a supremely successful Champions Trophy campaign, which included a 7-2 spanking of Spain. Their performance in the previous match against England had been awful — with a large part of the blame going to the forward line that missed 28 chances and 12 penalty corners — and they were expected to recover from that upset and come on strongly against India.

Australia were desperate to win this match if they had to keep their hopes of making the semi-finals alive, and for the Australians to make a hash of opportunities as they did against England was rare. The difference between the two teams was evident at the start: Australia were up 2-0 within the first 10 minutes, and India never recovered from that double blow.

The Australians played a level of hockey far superior to anything the Indians are used to. Most moves were extremely fast, played at a speed where many of the actions were a blur, and all looked like they’d end in a crowd of Australian players celebrating. Liam de Young, Robert Hammond, Glenn Turner and Des Abbott were swift on the counter and their co-ordination was inch-perfect.

On the other hand, India missed Shivendra, and looked a forward short in a match played at such a furious pace. A fair number of half-chances went abegging because there wasn’t anyone to either trap or deflect crosses or tap in rebounds inside the striking circle.

On the positive side, Bharat Chikara was impressive again; his trapping and passing were spot on, there were no loose balls and he made sure the Aussies had to work their way past others as they could not break him. Arjun Halappa was instrumental in almost all the moves that ended anywhere close to the rival post. He also proved that, along with Vikram Pillay, the experience and fitness he brings to the team cannot be substituted. Sardar Singh was equally good as centre half, and Dhananjay Mahadik did well to clear the danger from a slew of Australian raids.

For now, hopes of a semi-final spot are still alive for India, especially if they can turn in performances as spirited as this one. The notable difference in this team are their fitness levels, which was far superior to the levels they were at even six months ago — something that trainer David Perez and, before that, Jesus Garcia Pallares should get credit for. Also, India fought till the last minute, even though the result was decided. India now need to win at least two of their three remaining games — against Spain, England and South Africa.

Indian Express

India has some quality players, says Charlesworth

Sports Reporter

Pakistan's Abdul Haseem Khan (right) celebrates after scoring the team's second goal.

NEW DELHI: Australian coach Ric Charlesworth had some good words for the Indian team after his team thrashed the host 5-2.

Charlesworth, who had guided India for some time as a consultant, said the Indian team must show more consistency. “I know the players well, there are some quality players. The win against Pakistan did not surprise me. But to be consistent is the issue and it is a big challenge,” the hockey legend said.

Reflecting on his stint in India, Charlesworth said, “I had come to help India. With a better organizational structure they can make a very good team.”

Charlesworth said India and Australia should play more matches for the benefit of both the sides. Tuesday's fixture was the start of the bilateral cooperation between the two countries in hockey and Australia bagged the Ajitpal-Charlesworth Trophy after its win.

On key Indian striker Shivendra Singh's absence due to suspension, Charlesworth said, “Shivendra is a good player. But every team can cover such contingencies.”

The Aussie coach said his team's aim was to play aggressively and the players executed the plans well. Dwyer said his side wanted to made early damage by scoring as many goals as possible and thereby negate the strong crowd support for the home side.


India coach Jose Brasa admitted that Australia was a fitter team than his team and outpaced the host. “We played with a lot of mind. We played at a pace we wanted to play. We can now match the pace of Spain,” he said. Brasa backed his players strongly. “It (the defeat) has no impact on the players. Our players are mentally very strong.”

Meanwhile, Australian Foreign Minister Steven Smith, who was present to watch the match, said both India and Australia shared hockey culture and it could help build a good partnership between the two nations.

Different approach

Pakistan approached its crucial hockey World Cup game against Spain with a different strategy and it paid off, said captain Zeeshan Ashraf here on Tuesday.

“After the loss to India, we made a lot of effort. We adopted a different strategy of controlling the midfield and it worked,” Zeeshan said after his team's 2-1 victory.

Curbing its normal attacking approach was the reason behind Pakistan not getting enough penalty corners in the match. “We wanted to slow the game down and that is why we did not attack on both sides,” Zeeshan said.

Not convincing

England captain Barry Middleton agreed that after the brilliant performance against Australia, his team's 6-4 win against South Africa was not a convincing one.

“We played well only in the second half,” Middleton said, adding that his side missed the crowd support it had in the match against the Aussies.

South African coach Gregg Clark admitted that his team lost focus after half-time.

“In a four to five minute period, we conceded three goals and it made the difference. Otherwise, we competed very well,” he said.

The Hindu

Tactically speaking: India vs Australia

V Narayan Swamy

It was a reality check for India. The hosts learnt that control over the midfield alone is not enough and getting things right in the 23-metre circle is crucial.

The flank attacks, the diagonal runs from around 23 metres and the minus passes, all at tremendous pace, put India out of circulation.

Where India won it: The midfield. The control was admirable despite the heat generated by the Australians. Arjun Halappa and Sardar Singh were admirably cool under pressure. The plethora of moves and unchecked runs on either flanks proved our midfield play was admirable.

Where australia won it: Sheer domination. The defence saw through India's deep flank runs and crosses. Hard tackling and good marking of India's forwards in the circle had them enjoying supremacy.

Sparklers: Luke Doerner, Glenn Turner, Arjun Halappa Duds: Sandeep Singh

In the final analysis: Shivendra Singh's suspension showed on the forwardline. India seemed starved of substitutions as Gurvinder Chandi was no patch on the speedy Shivendra. Still, India could have done themselves a favour by slackening the pace and shifting from the regulation flank runs which were becoming monotonous.

Australia showed the way with runs that almost touched the backline, followed by a minus pass. The angular passes were too difficult for the Indian defence to handle. The other factor is speed: why try to match Australia's strength when India knew its merits lay elsewhere?

The Times of India

Australia outpaced us, missed Shivendra: Brasa

NEW DELHI: India coach Jose Brasa said the team missed suspended forward Shivendra Singh but had no qualms in admitting that his wards were completely outpaced and outplayed by a vastly superior Australian side in the hockey World Cup on Tuesday.

"We did not play badly. But Australia played at a different level of fast-paced hockey. We were not used to that kind of fast hockey," a candid Brasa said after his wards received a 5-2 plastering.

"I concede they played much better then us. They are the best team in the world despite losing against England in their first match. But they were lucky to have scored early goals, one in the first minute," Brasa said.

"We were not lucky with the penalty corners we got. Then we missed Shivendra though we may not have won even if he had played. We could have reduced the margin had he been there. We had difficulty in substituting Shivendra. We had only one forward for the substitution and the players were tired," said the Spaniard.

Drawing a comparison between players from both sides, the coach felt fitness made all the difference.

"Australians are very fit and strong physically. They had started research on this aspect 30 years ago and we started just six months before. They have the equipments like GPRS system for training. In our case we wanted it but we are not getting," he said.

The Times of India

Jose Brasa wants changes in video referral system

NEW DELHI: India coach Jose Brasa feels that the video referral system, which made hockey World Cup debut here, need some fine-tuning with regard to its timing.

Brasa does not favour stopping of play for referrals when one team was is in an advantageous position.

Brasa felt India suffered against the mighty Australians on Tuesday because of the timing of the referrals by their rivals.

Towards the close of India-Australia match, hosts captain Rajpal Singh's stick touched a rival player inside the home team's striking circle and the Kookaburras successfully appealed for a penalty corner.

But by the time, the referee stopped play to call for the video referral the Indians were in an advantageous position having possession near the Australian striking circle.

Brasa felt India could have got a scoring chance or a chance to get a penalty corner but that went abegging due to the referral.

He suggested that play should not have been stopped at that time.

"The video umpire turned down Australia's appeal but we lost an advantageous position which we cannot get back to. That is not fair. We did not commit any foul and still we lost our chance," he rued.

"I think the rule should be that the umpire cannot stop the game in those situation. He could do that only after the ball is out of the game or the ball is in possession of the complaining team (Australia)," he said.

"I understand the referral system is a new thing. But we need lots of changes in this system," added Brasa.

Australian coach Ric Charlesworth said the video referral system had made "wrong decisions" against his side in their 2-3 loss to England on Sunday.

"The video referral decisions went against us. It happened in the Champions Trophy in Australia last year also. But it is the system here, what can we do," he said.

"Towards the close of the match our chance to have a penalty corner was overturned. I could not believe it. That was a penalty corner," he added.

England captain Barry Middleton also felt the referral system was affecting the flow of the game as the video umpire takes lot of time to come to a decision.

"It takes lots of time and affecting the flow but it is a new system. I think once it becomes used to the umpires decisions may become a lot faster," he said.

South African captain Austin Smith had a similar view and hoped it will get better.

"It is a new system and it is taking some time to take decisions. But once the system is used quite often it will getter and the decisions will be quicker," he said.

The Times of India

After reality check, Spanish flair awaits India in hockey World Cup

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

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

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

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

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

A defeat tomorrow will severely dent India's semifinal chances.

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

Such was the Aussie domination that even India coach Brasa admitted his players were not used to such fast nature of hockey. "We did not play bad, we played at our level much better than what we had in Salta. But Australia played at adifferent level of fast-paced hockey. We were not used to that kind of fast hockey," Brasa said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Flying Dutchman eyes World title

Harpreet Kaur Lamba

New Delhi The ultimate test for any great player is to show both leadership and come up with match-winning performances. And this is something that Holland’s Teun de Nooijer does frequently.

The 33-year old Dutchman needs no introduction. Acknowledged by almost every critic as the most complete hockey player, De Nooijer is hunting for a gold at the 12th Hockey World Cup in New Delhi.

De Nooijer is a creator par excellence and boasts of the most impressive CVs in the sport. He is three times World Player of the Year – Australian Jamie Dwyer is the only other player to have this honour – is twice Olympic champion, was Holland’s hero in their 1998 World Cup title win, winner of six Champions Trophy titles, and is currently the most capped player in world hockey. And if that is not all, he has been in the top three or four players in the world for 15 years.

So what is left to achieve, one asks him? “Oh much, much more,” he told this newspaper. “I just love playing the game. And that’s what I live for.”

The Dutch have been the top side in the last decade, winning the 1996 and 2000 Olympic golds in succession. But the team haven’t seen the best of results lately. Australia and Germany made rapid strides, pipping the Dutch in the race. The ‘Oranje’ had some decent performances at the 2004 and 2008 Games, but none that could fetch them top honours.

“It is never easy to stay at the top for so long. Individually may be, but as a team it requires a lot. We have seen some mixed results in the last ten years, and have been there at the 3th-4th spot,” said de Nooijer, who is also called the ‘Flying Dutchman’. “The team have trained hard this time and we would like to break that jinx here.”

“We are ready to turn it around, and that’s what we are here for. May be this would be my last World Cup, and what better than finish it with a win!” he said.

The quest began in the right earnest when Holland beat Argentina 3-0 in their opening game on Monday night. “We were the last to play here from the two groups. We scored three goals and got none against, and that’s not bad for the first game,” said de Nooijer.

Australia are considered top favourites for the tournament, but de Nooijer believes competition would be very tough. “Australia are right up there no doubt. But there are several other teams, and we are amongst them. We are looking to improve with each game,” he said.

De Nooijer began playing hockey at the age of nine and took inspiration from the legendary Dutch footballer Johan Cruyff. “I used to watch him play as a kid. His artistry with the ball was amazing. I used to imitate him, trying to do similar things on the hockey field. Till date, I seek inspiration from him,” said de Nooijer, who dons the famous Number 14 jersey after his idol.

The Asian Age

Sohail is the king of drag-flick, says Taekema

Age Correspondent

New Delhi: Drag-flickers, a quintessential part in modern hockey, can change the face of the game in split seconds. Holland’s Taeke Taekema is one such man guiding his team to various triumphs.

India were at the receiving end in the 2006 Hockey World Cup, when Taekema pumped in five goals in a league match – the Dutch won 6-1 -- to leave the Men in Blue in shambles.

The drag-flicker began the 2010 edition in a similar fashion, scoring a hat-trick in the opening game against Argentina here on Monday night.

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

Asked to compare top drag-flickers in the world, the 30-year old said Pakistan’s Sohail Abbas was his man for the job. “Sohail is definitely the king. Though by present standards there is little to choose between Sandeep (Singh) and Sohail,” he said. “Drag-flick is a difficult art to master and it needs years of practice. I am still learning it.”

Taekema also failed to read much into Sohail’s misses against India in the two teams’ opening encounter. “I would say he was unlucky, rather than out-of-form.”

He added that turf at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium was a bit rough and bumpy. “During penalty corners it is tough to stop and hit it, but these problems are always there in such big tournaments,” he added.

The Asian Age

Dutchman’s perfect flick lies elsewhere

Saurabh Duggal

He is a star, having scored the highest number of goals in the last World Cup and notching up the first hattrick of this edition on Monday. But despite being a celebrity, Taeke Taekema earns his livelihood managing stars from other disciplines.

Taekema (30) works for a sports management company that manages star footballers, but the veteran drag flicker is not envious of his clients.

“Football is a sport played by millions while hockey has a restricted following. You can’t compare hockey with soccer,” said Taekema.

Though the Dutchman is not raking in moolah like the footballers, he is one of the few hockey players who endorse international brands. Volkswagen and Rabobank have him on board and the dreaded drag flicker also has a signature hockey stick --- TT 10 by Adidas.

Taekema’s first love was football, but it was due to his elder brother and sister, who played club hockey, that he made the switch. “Till the age of nine, I used to play football, but as my brother and sister were into hockey, I opted for it and rest is the history,” said Taekema.

The Dutchman, who has been wielding the stick with dexterity for the last 15 years and has 199 goals to his credit, is a strong advocate of team spirit. “According to me, there is no individual goal in hockey. What matters is whether your team is winning or not,” said Taekema, who will be tying the knot this summer.

Talking about the World Cup, he said, “Last time, we lost our opening match to South Korea, but this time we’ve begun well and hope the momentum will continue.”

Asked about life after hockey, he smiled, “There’s a lot of hockey left in me, so right now I am focussed on my game. But whenever I retire, the future will be with the management firm. Hockey is my passion, but it’s difficult to make a good living out of it after retirement.”

Hindustan Times

Taekema — teamman to the core

Y.B. Sarangi

— Photo: AP

POWER AND POISE: Taeke Taekema is a vital part of the Netherlands side, thanks to his sizzling penalty corner strikes.

NEW DELHI: Apart from years of hard work and dedication, what has made star drag-flicker Taeke Taekema an inseparable part of the respected Netherlands team is his priority of team over self.

Playing his third World Cup in a row, Taekema is just one goal away from equalling the record of his predecessor and famous Dutch penalty corner exponent of yesteryear, Floris Jan Bovelander, who is fourth in the list of top scorers with 17 goals in the World Cup.

No personal goal

However, the 30-year-old Taekema is not very excited about such records.

“Hockey is a team sport. There is no personal goal in hockey. If I was interested in personal achievements, I would have played tennis or golf,” said Taekema, after his hat-trick helped Netherlands beat Argentina in its first match of the ongoing World Cup. Incidentally, Taekema's was the 50th hat-trick in the tournament. Notwithstanding his achievements of four Champions Trophy gold medals, an Olympic silver, a World Cup bronze, a European championship gold and the experience of 209 international matches, Taekema is a picture of humility. He still misses the World champion tag and is keen to win the top honour for the Dutch after a gap of 12 years.

“The main thing is to become the World champion. Our aim is to win the final. In the World Cup, there will not be easy games,” he said.

In a sport that does not usually project individuals, Taekema is famous for his bullet-like penalty corner hits.

“It has come through years of practice and fine-tuning of technique. It is very hard to achieve that technique, it has taken 15-16 years. It is all about rhythm and cannot be explained,” Taekema said.

The Dutchman, known for his fierce competitiveness on the field, rates other specialists of his trade — Pakistan's Sohail Abbas and India's Sandeep Singh — highly.

“The fact that Sohail is the top goal-scorer in the world tells us about his abilities. Sandeep is also a good drag-flicker,” Taekema said with genuine appreciation.

The Hindu

Germany set to roll over Canada

Manuja Veerappa

New Delhi, March 2: A rude wake-up call by the Koreans in their opening match on Monday promises trouble for Canada as they line up against defending champions Germany in a Pool A encounter on Wednesday in the FIH Hockey World Cup here.

Going by the form book, the Germans are expected to roll over the Canadian challenge in their second outing, but given Canada’s performance against New Zealand on Monday, the Germans can ill afford to take it easy. The Canadians showed power and pace despite their 2-3 loss to the Kiwis.

The Germans on the other hand have a lot to worry about. Their penalty corner takers were off the mark in the 2-2 draw against Korea with the formidable duo of Moritz Furste and Jan Marco Montag hitting the ball wide on most occasions.

The forward line too needs to co-ordinate better to put some goals on the scoreboard. Against the Koreans on Monday, the German forwards seemed clueless once they entered the striking circle, a concern they will need to address immediately.

When Argentina take on Korea in another match, the South Americans need to come prepared with answers for the Asian powerhouse’s lightening speed and pace on the pitch. Although the Koreans themselves suffer from the midfield blues and slack tactics, their crowding strategies may prove tough for Argentina to counter.

Though the Netherlands earned three full points with their 3-0 win over Argentina on Monday, their performance left a lot to be desired in the 70 minutes of the game.

While the forwardline showed tendency to play to the corner, their overdependence on dragflicker Taeke Taekema to score and goalkeeper Guss Vogels to safeguard the goal post may prove to be a major deterrent.

In their second outing, this time against New Zealand, the Dutch will have to plug the holes in their defence and address the issue of their midfield going astray.

After the match Taekema himself admitted his team did not play to their potential.

The Asian Age

Germany need to pull up their socks

NEW DELHI: Defending champions Germany need to tone up their game when they face Canada in their second Pool A match of the Hockey World Cup on Wednesday.

In the other fourth day matches Wednesday in the same pool, Argentina play Korea while New Zealand take on the Netherlands at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

Germany, eyeing a hat-trick of World Cup titles, were held 2-2 by Korea in their opening match on Monday.

The relatively inexperienced Germans were down 0-2 at the break, but rallied back in the second session by building up intense pressure with a series of well-coordinated moves.

German captain Maximillan Muller said he is happy with the way the team bounced back in the second half against the Asian champions.

"We didn't play well in the first half but we fought back in the second half. We wasted several penalty corners and that is a matter of concern for us," said Muller.

Muller is happy that his promising teenage striker Florian Fuchs found his touch in the opening match as the team has only three players from the previous edition.

The German forwards will be tested against Canada which put up a fighting performance in their match against New Zealand. The Canadians defended solidly and their raids on the rival citadel were also well synchronised.

Three-time champions and strong title contenders the Netherlands will be high on confidence after their rousing 3-0 victory in their lung opener against Argentina.

In fact, the Dutch were the only side among the three pre-tournament favourites to have made a good beginning to their campaign. Australia were shocked by England in the first match while the German young guns barely managed to escape with a draw against Korea.

Korea, on their part, will be looking to give another exhibition of pacy hockey in the match against Argentina. The Korean team could have surprised Germany had they maintained their level of play in the later period of second half when they went into a shell and Germany staged a comeback with goals.

"We were tired in the second half after doing a lot of running in the first. We still have a long way to go in the tournament," said Korean captain Ho Jong Seo.

In the day's last match, the Netherlands will take on the Black Sticks.

The Dutch had a fine match against Argentina Monday with drag flick specialist Taeke Taekema slamming the tournament's first hat-trick. Taekema who was the top-scorer in the last World Cup with 11 goals, is now chasing the record of most number of World cup goals. He is only two goals short of equalling his compatriot Floris Jan Bovelander's record of 15 World Cup goals.

Taekema, however, said the team needs to improve.

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

The Netherlands will have to thank their veteran goalkeeper Guus Vogels for that. Vogels, who is playing in his last World Cup, made some brilliant saves and did not allow Argentina to score from half a dozen short corners.

The Times of India

Oranje hope to blossom against NZ

Errol D' Cruz

NEW DELHI: The Netherlands and New Zealand face a crucial test on Wednesday on Day Four of the FIH Hero Honda World Cup here.

Both eye the semifinal spot with hoping to rewrite some records. The Dutch are looking to make amends for the last World Cup in Monchengladbach where they finished seventh while the Kiwis are set to make a landmark entry to the semifinals of an event they have finished no higher than seventh.

The Dutch, three time champions, blanked Argentina 3-0 in their opener, thanks to the deadly drag flicks of Taeke Taekema who notched a hat-trick and swelled his tally of World Cup goals to 16.

Their traditional prowess at drag-flicks overshadow the Dutch ability to produce a flowing game and they proved yet again while playing the South Americans, the real danger lies in their midfield to control play. Teun de Nooijer, the veteran whose fleet-feet belies his 33 years of age, is going to be the No. 1 threat for the Black Sticks who have raised their stocks after qualifying for the Champions Trophy in Salta, Argentina, in December.

Ranked No. 8, New Zealand, like the Dutch, began with a win but one eked out in the dying minutes with a goal by the veteran of over 230 internationals Ryan Archibald that saw them through past No. 13 ranked Canada.

The Times of India

Ben Collier to hit 105 caps in match against Netherlands


Ben Collier has played 104 games for New Zealand, but not too many, he admits in the starting line-up. His 105th against the Netherlands in the early hours tomorrow morning will probably be more of the same.

Seen as the ideal, cool-headed bench player, Collier has been one of the unsung heroes in the Black Sticks since his 2005 debut against Malaysia.

After initially playing up front, usually out wide, Collier has become a regular in midfield sharing the inside-forward role with Ryan Archibald, Bryce Collins and Mitesh Patel and, in more recent times, Shea McAleese.

Accepting his role as “first cab off the frank” when the rotations begin, Collier has been a more than useful performer since moving north from the family farm east of Eltham to join now-Black Sticks assistant coach Darren Smith at East Coast Bays in the North Harbour competition.

“North Harbour was certainly a different environment to what I had been used to in Taranaki,” said Collier. “I enjoyed the change.”

Not long after he was drafted into the national under-21 side for a home series against Australia.. One he prefers to forget. “We got thrashed.”

As a midfielder in a team which includes Archibald, Collier accepts his game time can be limited as Archibald plays most, if not all, of the 70 minutes in most games.

“It certainly doesn’t worry me,” said Collier. “You have to be adaptable to play top level hockey. On or off the field it is an intense 70 minutes.”

Collier has, like many of his team-mates, experienced the full gambit of international play his sport offers.

“Initially I was pretty proud to be selected for and then play well at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Then came the Olympics and now my second World Cup,” he said. “Even now, with the Champions Trophy and a second Commonwealth Games coming up, there are still plenty of incentives to keep going.

“There have been a lot of milestones along the way.”

None more special than being on his then home turf at Crown Relocations Stadium when Brad Shaw thumped in the winner against Argentina to book Collier and the rest their trip to Beijing.

These days he is based in Holland where he manages his time well fitting in his studies which allowed him to finish his Masters in Financial Management. But, a trifle sadly, he missed out on December’s capping ceremony at his Dutch college as he was in Argentina helping the Black Sticks qualify for this year’s Champions Trophy.

“It was a conscious decision to have a career outside hockey,” Collier admits. “It is important to play hockey for enjoyment but at the same time I want balance in my life.”

While he will return to Holland immediately after this tournament, he is not letting that take his focus away from the task here.

Like the rest of the squad, he knows this second round match against the Dutch is all-important.

Coach Shane McLeod is in a like mind.

“We have always targeted this as one in which we feel we can get at least a point, hopefully three,” said McLeod after the battling 3-2 opening win over Canada. “There is a certain arrogance about the Dutch which gives us the chance for us to react to their game plan.. “

One player he is counting on to step up early tomorrow morning is Blair Hopping.

One of the most experienced players in the Black Sticks, Hopping took time to find his feet against Canada.

“Blair hasn’t had a lot of hockey lately,” said McLeod. “I see this tournament as one where he will get better and better.”

With a number of the New Zealanders playing in Holland, McLeod is not short on information upon which he will formulate his game plan.

In another late change to the squad, North Harbour’s David Green is returning home for treatment on a bulging disc in his back. He has been replaced by another North Harbour player with Joseph Bartholomew now in India but, McLeod, admitted, unlikely to see much game time with back-up goalkeeper Stephen Graham and now Bartholomew seen as the 17th and 18th players with only 16 named for each match..

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Black Sticks' winning formula to stay

By Terry Maddaford

NEW DELHI - Ben Collier has played 104 games for New Zealand, and his 105th, against the Netherlands in a World Cup match in New Delhi, India, early tomorrow, will probably be more of the same, he says.

The cool-headed bench player has been one of the unsung heroes in the Black Sticks since his 2005 debut against Malaysia.

After initially playing up front, usually out wide, Collier has become a regular in midfield sharing the inside-forward role with Ryan Archibald, Bryce Collins and Mitesh Patel and, in more recent times, Shea McAleese.

Accepting his role as "first cab off the rank" when the rotations begin, Collier has been a more than useful performer since moving north from the family farm east of Eltham to join now-Black Sticks assistant coach Darren Smith at East Coast Bays in the North Harbour competition.

"North Harbour was certainly a different environment to what I had been used to in Taranaki," said Collier. "I enjoyed the change."

Not long after, he was drafted into the national under-21 side for a home series against Australia - one he prefers to forget. "We got thrashed."

As a midfielder in a team which includes Archibald, Collier accepts his game time can be limited as Archibald plays most, if not all, of the 70 minutes in most games.

"It certainly doesn't worry me," said Collier. "You have to be adaptable to play top level hockey. On or off the field it is an intense 70 minutes."

Like the rest of the squad, he knows this second round match against the Dutch is all-important.

Coach Shane McLeod is of the same opinion.

"We have always targeted this as one in which we feel we can get at least a point, hopefully three," said McLeod after the battling 3-2 opening win over Canada. "There is a certain arrogance about the Dutch which gives us the chance for us to react to their game plan."

One player he will be counting on tomorrow morning is Blair Hopping.

One of the most experienced players in the Black Sticks, Hopping took time to find his feet against Canada.

"Blair hasn't had a lot of hockey lately," said McLeod. "I see this tournament as one where he will get better and better."

In another late change to the squad, North Harbour's David Green is returning home for treatment on a bulging disc in his back.

He has been replaced by another North Harbour player, who McLeod admitted is unlikely to see much game time, with back-up goalkeeper Stephen Graham and now Bartholomew seen as the 17th and 18th players, with only 16 named for each match.

The New Zealand Herald

Shivendra sentenced without crime

Satya Siddharth Rath & Biswajyoti Brahma

NEW DELHI: There is no one to fight for Shivendra Singh. The livewire forward has been punished for a crime he never committed, yet there is no one to take up his cause - neither Hockey India (HI), which is virtually defunct and powerless, nor the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), which, despite being joint organisers of the ongoing Hero Honda World Cup, have, for reasons best known to them, chose to keep quiet.

HI secretary Narinder Batra only went to the extent of saying that it's a harsh decision but could not specify his body's next move, while repeated calls and texts to IOA chief Suresh Kalmadi, who is also the joint chairman of the World Cup organising committee, went unanswered.

After the Indian team management filed an appeal against Shivendra's three-match suspension by Australian tournament director Ken Read, a three-member jury of the FIH reduced it to two matches, as the wise men felt his act of hitting a Pak player was not deliberate as deemed earlier but reckless, and hence the show of leniency.

That's hardly any solace for a shattered Shivendra. "What's the use? I had prepared so hard for the World Cup. I would be missing two key games. But I am confident my team will go all the way. I will cheer for them from the bench. I hope this acts as a motivational factor," he said.

However, several former players are fuming at the injustice. "This is shocking. If the tournament director wished so much to set a precedent why did he choose India? The England-Australia game before that was ill-tempered too, how come that escaped his notice? This is a conspiracy to skittle our campaign," said former star Mir Ranjan Negi. Former captain Zafar Iqbal said he always felt India and Pakistan teams were unfairly targeted by the FIH. "This is another clear example. When there was no complaint from either the rival team or the on-field umpires, what was the need for this?" he asked.

The Times of India

Ken read too much into Shivendra episode

Dhanraj Pillai

I have to start today with the disappointing news from the technical director of the tournament, Ken Read. Yes, he wanted to send out a message to the players about the discipline on the field, but he should understand that for Shivendra Singh, the World Cup is nearly over!

It was a harsh decision, as even the Pakistan team did not pursue the matter. The umpires too did not think it was an intentional foul, but a spontaneous reaction in the run of play.

The FIH’s innovative step of bringing the television replay umpire into play is good for teams that lose out on fringe decisions, like Korea getting the penalty-corner decision in their favour, which helped them go one-up. The only thing required now is to educate the spectators and players about the technology.

Coming back to on-field action, the match between Germany and Korea was crucial as both teams are contenders for the semifinal slot, but I felt Germany struggled in the first half and failed to adapt to the new surface.

The turf has caused some worries to the teams as it is still settling down. Korea was in full flow from the start when they secured the first penalty-corner.

The brand of hockey the Germans play was on display in the second half; full of urgency, discipline and shrewd moves, which helped them equalise at 2-2.

What should one expect for the Dutch team, which has so many experienced players and the best penalty-corner specialist in the world — Taeke Taekema.

His hat-trick speaks of his mastery over the art of converting penalty-corners.

I am expecting a better performance from my favourite player, De Nooijer.

The man of steel, Guus Vogels, stood firm between Argentina and the Dutch goal. Argentina showed shades of brilliance in the second half with 6-7 tries but Vogels stood rock solid in the goal.

Germany now have to get three points from their game against Canada to keep the door open for a semifinal slot, but they need to settle down fast and get the first goal.

Canada are the dark horses and can cause an upset with their young side. Korea against Argentina will also be worth watching, for the latter’s “soccer-style of hockey” can change the complexion of a game within seconds.

New Zealand facing off with The Netherlands could be a fairly even match with both having earned three points each.The Dutch will try and keep the game fast-paced till they get a safe goal advantage, and we are sure to see minute-by-minute rotation of players in the first half. New Zealand will come down hard on the Dutch defence to ensure at least a draw.

We need to be realistic as the Dutch are favourites in this World Cup and they’ll have many a fallback plan.

Hindustan Times

Shivendra's suspension reduced to two games

Sports Reporter

NEW DELHI: Striker Shivendra Singh's suspension was on Tuesday reduced from three to two matches by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Appeal Jury.

This means Shivendra will miss India's pool match against Spain on Thursday apart from the one against Australia.

Tournament Director (TD) Ken Read had slapped a three-match suspension on Shivendra for “deliberately raising the stick and physically abusing Pakistan player Fareed Ahmed on Sunday.” Shivendra had appealed against the decision.

The Appeal Jury, consisting of FIH President Antonio von Ondarza (Venezuela) and members Hari Kant (Canada) and Johan Wakkie (Netherlands), reviewed the decision of the TD and the video evidence considered by him.

It also took into account the case presented during the hearing in the written and oral submissions and video provided on behalf of Shivendra.

Reckless action

The Jury concluded that Shivendra's action was reckless (a Level-2 offence) but not deliberate.

“It must be understood that such reckless action is not acceptable in international competition. The Jury considers that it constitutes physical assault. In accordance with the FIH Code of Conduct guidelines, the offence was reckless but not deliberate and therefore requires the minimum penalty of a two-match suspension,” the Jury said.

Shivendra, Indian team manager Harendra Singh and assistant coach Ramandeep Singh Grewal were present during the hearing process.

Arjen Meijer of the FIH Communications Department said it was a normal practice that the TD might initiate action even if the umpires did not report any on-field breach of the FIH Code of Conduct.

According to the 2009 FIH guidelines for the TD, reports of alleged breaches of the FIH Code of Conduct shall be made to the TD or “initiated by the TD in his own right.”

It further says, “The TD is to determine if an offence has been committed and the level of the offence. A report can be received by the TD from any person but if received later than 24 hours after the occurrence of the conduct said to constitute the alleged offence, the TD must exercise his discretion to accept such a report.”

Backs Read

Meijer backed Read for his efficiency.

“We choose the best officials, the best umpires and the best TD. The TD has conducted even the Olympics,” he said.

The Hindu

Shivendra's suspension reduced to two matches

NEW DELHI: Indian centre forward Shivendra Singh's suspension from the ongoing Hockey World Cup has been reduced from three matches to two, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) said on Tuesday.

Shivendra had been served the three-match ban by tournament director Ken Read on Monday for "deliberately hitting" Pakistan's Fareed Ahmed during Sunday's match between the sub-continental rivals which India won 4-1.

But following an appeal by the Indian team management, the three-member Appeal Jury ruled on Tuesday that Shivendra's action in raising his stick was "reckless but that he did not deliberately intend to cause injury".

"The Jury considers that it constitutes physical assault as referenced in the FIH Code of Conduct Guidelines of Offences and Penalties.

"The Jury concluded that the offence was Level 2 (under Article 15 of the tournament regulations), was reckless but not deliberate and therefore requires the minimum penalty of a two-match suspension," Antonio von Ondarza, president, FIH Appeal Jury, said in a statement.

Shivendra, who scored the first goal against Pakistan, now has to sit out India's crucial Pool B matches against Australia on Tuesday and Spain on Thursday.

Indian team manager and national coach Harendra Singh said Shivendra had pleaded that his action was not deliberate and assured that he would be "more careful" in future.

Terming Shivendra's absence in the two games as "a big blow" to the team, Harendra said: "He would have been crucial against Australia and Spain and we will go back to the old times where we used to play with 14 players"

The Times of India

Lighter ban but Shivendra says it's still injustice

The ban on him has been reduced by a match but Indian forward Shivendra Singh on Tuesday said even the lighter penalty amounts to "injustice" on him as he has been punished for no fault.

During India's World Cup opener against Pakistan on Sunday, Shivendra's stick hit rival player Fareed Ahmed who suffered a cut on his eye as a result. Tournament Director Ken Read, while handing out the initial three-match suspension to Shivendra, said the act was "deliberate".

The Indian player, who after the reduced ban will sit out of the matches against Australia and Spain, however, insisted that he had no intention to hurt the Pakistani player and it was just an accident.

"I am very disappointed with the decision. The penalty is injustice to me because I never committed the fault intentionally. I was running for the ball and while I was in motion the stick suddenly hit the Pakistani player. But it was never deliberate," Shivendra said.

The seasoned forward, who had scored a goal in India's 4-1 win in the tournament opener, said the slight relief hardly matters to him as he would be sitting out of two 0crucial matches.

"It does not matter to me because at the end of the day I would be missing the crucial match against Australia. It hardly matters," he said.

Shivendra said the episode has only made him more determined to make a strong comeback.

"Now I am even more determined to perform better when I return to field after suspension," he said. India coach Jose Brasa was also livid with the harsh penalty imposed on his ward.

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

"If Mr Read wants to send a message why did he pick the Indian team. My players were struck on the face in that match against Pakistan and matches involving Australia, England and other countries were much more physical involving graver 0offences by their players.

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

Indian Express

Shivendra ban reduced

India striker available against England on Saturday after FIH ruling


New Delhi: Suspended Indian hockey star Shivendra Singh had some respite on Tuesday as the jury of appeal of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) decided to reduce his ban in the ongoing World Cup to two matches.

The striker, who was earlier banned for three matches by the tournament director, Ken Read of Australia, for deliberately hitting Pakistan midfielder Fareed Ahmed, will now miss India’s next match against Spain.

He has already missed the tie versus Australia. He is eligible to play against England on March 6 (Saturday).

Pakistan coach Shahid Ali Khan came up with an adverse reaction, saying: “Shivendra’s foul was definitely deliberate. Had the tournament been held outside India, his punishment would have been more severe.”

While a section of the Indian hockey fraternity alleged Shivendra’s ban is a conspiracy to weaken the hosts’ campaign in the World Cup, the appeal jury, comprising Antonia von Ondarza (Venezuela), Hari Kant (Canada) and Johan Wakkie (the Netherlands), concluded that Shivendra’s action of raising his stick was reckless, but not deliberate.

The jury also considered that it constituted physical assault as referenced in the FIH Code of Conduct Guidelines of Offences and Penalties. Stating that it was a Level 2 offence, the jury said it required the minimum penalty of a two-match suspension.

The FIH communication manager, Arjen Merjer, dismissed any suggestion that Read’s decision was biased, and said: “We have the best teams here and we have the best tournament director also.

“Read is an experienced official, who did duty at the last World Cup as well as the Beijing Olympic Games. I can assure you had the player been an Australian, he would have taken the same decision.

“We do not like to suspend players; we are here for friendship and fair play. But this case warranted punishment and if any team has any grievances, it can always appeal.

“That is why we have the appeal jury in place. They can overturn a decision if they find it wrong. In this case, the jury found that while Shivendra’s action was reckless, it wasn’t deliberate.

“Still it is a Level 2 offence, and that is why he has been suspended for two matches,” the FIH official said.

Some of India’s former captains like Aslam Sher Khan and Zafar Iqbal criticised the FIH decision, saying it was too harsh.

“It was a very harsh decision and I don’t know on what basis they had given it. There was hardly any protest by the Pakistani players,” Zafar said.

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

Aslam Sher Khan felt it was a deliberate act to down India’s morale ahead of the match against Australia.

The Telegraph, India

Shivendra livid, determined to perform on return

NEW DELHI: India's centre forward Shivendra Singh is livid with the two-match suspension by the International Hockey Federation (FIH), but he is determined to perform better on his return to play in the Hockey World Cup.

"I am very disappointed with the decision. The penalty is unjust because I never committed the foul intentionally. I was running for the ball and while I was in motion the stick suddenly hit the Pakistani player. But it was never deliberate," Shivendra said on Tuesday.

During India's 4-1 win against Pakistan on Sunday, Shivendra's stick found Fareed Ahmed who suffered a cut on his eye.

Tournament director Ken Read slapped a three-match ban on Shivendra and said that it was "deliberate and a reckless action." But a three-member appeals committee that met here Tuesday reduced the ban to two matches and termed the incident as "reckless."

"It does not matter to me because at the end of the day I would be missing the crucial match against Australia,'" Shivendra shrugged.

"Now I am even more determined to perform when I return to the field."

The Times of India

Pak midfielder surprised with Shiv ban

Biswajyoti Brahma

NEW DELHI: The two-match ban on India's Shivender Singh has even surprised Pakistan's Fareed Ahmed, though the midfielder feels the Indian did hurt him in the face with his stick intentionally.

On the face of it, it seems he did it deliberately," Fareed said after the match against Spain on Tuesday. But having said that, let me make it clear that the Pakistan camp did not complain. I am a bit surprised with the ban. Such things do happen during a hockey match."

Fareed was hurt in the face by Shivender's stick during the match on Sunday, following which the tournament director slapped a three-match ban on the Indian, which was on Tuesday reduced to two-match ban following an appeal.

Nobody spoke to us about the incident," said Fareed, who agreed that in his international career he had come across incidents of bias" against Asian teams. These things happen against Asian teams," he said. There's certainly some sort of bias and you could feel it if you are from Asia."

Pakistan coach Shahid Ali Khan also admitted that there were biases in the game. Yes, it's there," he said, responding to a question on the issue. But we have to accept these decisions when these concerns the rules. Muhammad Irfan also did nothing, he was just wearing a glove," he said, referring to the one-match ban on one of their players for wearing 'illegal' equipment.

Khan also claimed that Shivender deliberately hit Fareed. Sohail Abbas said he could understand Shivendra's anguish. I wouldn't like to say anything. It's FIH's decision. But this is something no player would like to have," he said.

The Times of India

Feel sorry for Shivendra but all right with his ban: Sohail

NEW DELHI: Star Pakistani drag-flicker Sohail Abbas on Tuesday felt sorry for Shivendra Singh but said the FIH "must have taken a correct decision" while banning the Indian striker for two matches in the hockey World Cup.

Shivendra was first suspended by tournament director Ken Read for hitting Pakistani Fareed Ahmed in their opener and later the Appeals Jury reduced it to a two-match ban.

"He (Shivendra) must be disappointed. The World Cup is being held in his country and he is being banned for two matches. But I think the FIH must have handed the most stringent punishment," Abbas said after Pakistan beat Spain 2-1 in a Pool B match.

Himself one of the best drag-flickers in the world, Abbas said Dutch Taeke Taekema and Indian Sandeep Singh would look to stamp their authority in the tournament.

"Taekema is one of the best drag-flickers in the world and so is Sandeep. He (Sandeep) has improved a lot in the past few years and he will be the key man for India," he said.

"Penalty corner takers have more options now as only three from the opposition can chase the ball. So we (penalty corner takers) have more space to score," he added.

The veteran defender said Asian hockey can rise on the top again with the blending of continental style and European structure.

"We (India and Pakistan) are now having Asian style and European structure. If the Asian countries can do well in this World Cup it will be big boost for the continent," he said.

Abbas said he was surprised that Adrian D'Souza, who had first started the technique of running out off the line to counter his drag-flicks, was not under the Indian goal in their match on Sunday.

"I was a bit surprised that Adrian was not at the Indian goal. I read in the newspapers that he was ready to take on me and I was also ready," said one of the most experienced players in the current Pakistani side.

He also thanked the crowd for supporting Pakistan against Spain today and said he felt like playing in Karachi.

"The crowd supported us all through the match. It was a great feeling to have played here. It was like playing in Pakistan, in Karachi."

Abbas did not get much chance to show his drag-flicking prowess as Pakistan got just one penalty corner today that led to their match-winner in the dying minutes and coach Shahid Ali Khan said that was due to their defensive tactics.

"We wanted to control the midfield today and stopped Spain from attacking so we played a bit defensively. We did not attack much from the flanks and that is why there were not many penalty corners," he said.

Fareed Ahmed, whose injury in Pakistan's first match against India led to the two-match ban on Shivendra, said many a decisions (against Spain) today went against his side.

"(Non-Asian) Umpires are generally biased against Asian countries and that was there to see today," he said.

The Times of India

FIH denies being harsh on Asian players

NEW DELHI: International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Tuesday refuted charges of being harsh on Asian players and insisted all they want is friendship and fair play.

FIH spokesman Arjen Meijer said tournament director Ken Read, an Australian, was unbiased while handing out a three-match suspension on India's centre-forward Shivendra Singh. The suspension was reduced to two matches by the appeals panel.

"The tournament director is the best we have. He would have treated even an Australian in the same way. The FIH tries all players according to the rulebook. There is no preferential treatment," said Meijer.

"We also have a neutral Appeal Jury. The tournament director found Shivendra's action deliberate but the appeals jury found it reckless. It's a normal practice."

Asked if the tournament director can take a suo moto action, Meijer said: "Hockey is a very fast game and at times it becomes impossible for umpires to notice everything. So the tournament director has full rights to take any action on his own."

Shivendra had been served a three-match ban by Read Monday for "deliberately hitting" Pakistan's midfielder Fareed Ahmed during Sunday's match between the sub-continental rivals, which India won 4-1.

But following an appeal by the Indian team management, the three-member Appeal Jury ruled Tuesday that Shivendra's action in raising his stick was "reckless but that he did not deliberately intend to cause injury".

The Times of India

Shivendra's ridiculous suspension. Our hockey misses the clout of BCCI

Rajesh Kalra

International Hockey Federation has reduced the ban on India's hockey forward Shivendra Singh by a match. So, the player who scored a goal in the memorable opener against Pakistan will still miss the extremely critical games against the Aussies and Spain.

Although the tournament director, Australian Ken Read, made it sound as if he was doing a great favour by reducing the ban by a match, the decision is ridiculous. It has stoked an unseemly controversy which points towards racial bias, something Indian players of the past have often complained about.

I don't normally buy these racial bias arguments and think that in these modern times, when there is such intense media scrutiny, these things don't happen. I don't think anything racial has happened in this case either and the fact that the man who has announced the decision on a day when India take on his country's team, Australia (who were shocked by England in their first match and need to win desperately), is incidental. But just take a look at the video grab of the incident and you'd know how brazenly stupid the tournament director's decision is.

I am all for playing the game in the spirit of the game and anyone who doesn't play by the book should be punished. But this is ridiculous. The video clearly shows that Shivendra and others are scrambling for the ball and when Farid gets hit, it is due to the normal hand movement as one sprints with a stick in one's hands. Yes, it was above the waist level, but he was not controlling the ball at the moment, but chasing it. It was unintentional, completely!

I was there at the ground during the game and everyone missed it. In fact, the umpire did not pay much attention to it even when Farid went to him, pointing at his eye.

India is clearly in the tougher of the two groups in this tournament, what with pre-tournament favourites Australia and other top teams such as Pakistan, England and Spain, apart from South Africa to contend with for the two semi-final slots from the group. At a time like this, it needs services of all team members to deliver.

The way coach Brasa used rolling substitution in the game against Pakistan was heartening. At any point of time, the Indians appeared to have fresher pair of legs than their opponents. To have one forward less to rotate in two big games, especially against teams that are far more physical in their game, will hurt. Hope the team that gave a sterling display on the 28th February rises to the occasion and continues to play the brand of hockey that made us feel proud.

But before I end, I can't help but wish that Indian hockey had as much clout internationally as the cricket control board.

The Times of India

MS university students protest against FIH in Gujarat

Vadodra: Students of the science faculty of MS university today burnt the posters of FIH for its decision to suspending Indian hockey forward Shivendersingh for two matches of the world cup hockey tournament on charges of hitting a Pakistani player in the opening match of world hockey tournament.

Student leader Krunal Patel described it as a biased decision because even the Pakistani hockey team has not lodged any complaint.

He said the FIH has been ignoring such incidents when Europan countries have been playing in such tournament.


Why TD should be from a neutral country?

K. Arumugam

Secretary General of the Federation Internationale de Hockey (FIH) is Peter Cohen.

Tournament Director of the 2010 Hero Honda World Cup is one Ken Read

Both are from Australia.

Australia lost to England on Sunday

Australia’s next match is against India on Tuesday

Recent Olympic Results of India and Australia:

2000 Olympics: India 2 Australia 2

2004 Olympics: India 0 Australia 1

Recent World Cup result of India and Australia 2002 World Cup: India 3 Australia 4.

India may have lost to Australia with big margin in all small (chhota mota) tournaments, but took their sweat on big stage such as World Cup and Olympics. This is what the stat above confirm.

On Sunday Australia loses the match, within 18 hours India’s star forward is suspended for next three matches by the Australian Ken Read. He has all the legitimate powers with him to do this.

Whatever happens in the appeal, even if the suspension is revoked, Indians have already been psychologically done in, their euphoria of defeating tough Pakistan team went up in the smoke. Indian chief coach, an outsider from either India or Australia, has clearly said that he has not seen such harsh punishment to a player in his four-decade long association with hockey.

Whatever has been stated above are statistics and happenings which are incontrovertible.

Now, the moot point is, is there an Australian controversy to psyche India, in the same manner the Tournament Director of Chile Olympic Qualifier?

This is a feared field, but let us tread.

World over it has been agreed neutral umpire should be used for international matches. When this decision in major sports were taken, even for the bilateral series, questions were raised as to why to doubt the integrity of the umpires of all the persons.

One of the logic that went against this genuine sporting feeling was, even if a non-neutral umpire unintentionally does a mistake, it will be viewed as ‘biased’. So, the wisdom at large prevailed – leading sports which are concerned about image and profile of their baby went ahead and nodded for neutral umpire concept.

Having accepted this, and put in practice the concept of neutral umpires, why we then put a Tournament Director from one of the participating countries, that too the country which is strong favourite to win the title?

Now you view the whole scenario in a different perspective.

What was the major news that had been dominating Indian channels and newspapers in the last three months – its not my dear readers, Al Queda threat or Pak war, but the racial discrimination suffered by Indians at the hands of Australians.

There have been at least 180s cases of racial attacks on Indians on the Australian soils. Both Indian and Australian governments assured safety and security of Indians, and the latter in particular even launched a major PR exercise to dispel the bad image Australia was getting in India. Australian government tried to dispel such a image, quoting those are all not racial attacks but law and order problem, which the India media did not buy by and large.

Australia chose to nominate an Indian origin diplomat to do the firefighting, and he is all over the television channels here to safeguard the image and interest of his country.

Indian students contribute to about 30-40 percent of Australian universities’ revenue.

This is botboiler of a situation in India. Anything India-Australia is a sensitive issue nowadays, which is of course not desirable. Thank god the hockey is not cricket, and the right winger politicians are not aware of what happens in hockey – even now – in the context of on going India-Australia racial fire ups.

Otherwise the World Cup would have been up in the riotous situation, denting the image of hockey once for all.

Situation of similar nature can develop in any country, as the nations are more than normal nowadays.

The best therefore would be to select and post a Tournament Director from neutral country. One of the benefits of such step will be the assured image of FIH, and then it gives recognition to a nation that does not make it to the event.

There are other rumours – I repeat rumours – floating. Many of these rumour mongers float a theory that because the World Cup is a roaring success in terms of revenue it generated and such a success will give the new FIH president a grand leverage in the times to come, and also the president considers India his future hub of hockey. Therefore, breaking his image in India serves his rival group’s design. An Indian anger at this time will go against the commercial interests of the FIH. So, they point out, this is how a guile section wishes to corner the president and shatter his future dreams.

We don’t know who is doing what, and the last word on the issue is not said yet.

The best way, therefore, is not to give room for such things, and at least hereafter go for a neutral Tournament Director. Only that is at our hands.

The funny way hockey is being run, and remain in unacceptable state

K. Arumugam

During the 2006 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup competition, which was telecast live by ESPN-Star Sports, one of the commentators was celebrated personality Harsha Bhogle, an icon in the world of cricket journalism.

One incident occurred that time.

A goal was awarded to India. The ball then was brought back to the centerline to start the game. Game restarted and a couple of moves too had taken place. Suddenly, that is after two minutes of the goal being awarded, one umpire stopped the game and said the goal is disallowed.

At Amsterdam, VS Vinaya scored a goal against Spain in the bronze match, it was disallowed in a similar fashion and then India went on to lose the match by a breadth of hair.

We are not focusing on the merits and demerits of the indecisions followed by the 'decisive' decisions!

Bhogle was flummoxed. "Can such things happen in any sports?", he querried the other commentator and said, ‘it is not done, it is unfair". They have not even consulted third umpire or any other mechanism". There was no video referral for the Azlan Shah Cup.

Anybody who has commonsense and followed popular and established sports like Cricket, Football, Volleyball, basketball, would have felt the same.

But probably the likes of Bhogles are not aware funny and hilarious side of the umpiring decisions.

Four years ago, Indian girls went for the lemon break with the score board reading 2-1 in their favour. It was a crucial India-England match at Madrid World Cup qualifier.

When they returned after the 10 minutes break the score was reverted to 1-1.

I was then syndicating chief coach MK Kaushik’s column for the Hindustan Times. Describing the incident he said it is not done, it is unfair.

What Bhogle felt was exactly what hurt Kaushik.

Incidentally, Jose Brasa was one of the logistic organizers of the Madrid World Cup, with whom I had adequate opportunity to interact. When I asked his comment on the scoreboard reversal, that was for this website, he said, “Every decision is against India”.

We two never had an inkling that time Jose will one day be our saviour, national coach.

Now, connects things. Every decision is against India. What a prophesy.

Can a sport be a popular one if you have such unpopular measures that go against the grain of sports.

What Bhogle felt was nearly again felt by a seasoned writer yesterday. He asked TD Ken Read.

“You say such a big blunder has taken place on the field. What action will you take for the umpires who have not even noticed that?

What a genuine question, which had all the merits to be taken seriously, and replied accordingly. All the TD could do was to laugh heartily, as if the media there is duffers!

TD was not laughing at the media, he was laughing at the sport they profess.

Just because something is not in their rule books, it does not mean the world ends there.

Hockey's enemies are not outsiders, they are sitting pretty inside, laughing heartily of course.

New 'interactive' referrals on cards

V Narayan Swamy

NEW DELHI: In a bid to counter the spectator-unfriendliness of new hockey referrals, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) is planning to introduce a colourful, 'interactive' procedure in the video referral system that is in vogue in the Euro league.

FIH president Leandro Negre said on Tuesday that the world body was planning to adapt the European version so that umpiring decisions on penalty corners, penalty strokes and goals disputed by teams could be made known to the public while it was happening, thus keeping them interested in the goings-on instead of merely waiting around for a verdict.

The system in Europe is rather colourful, according to Negre. While onfield umpires fitted with mikes discuss the appeals with the video umpire, pictures of the discussion and the slow motion replays, along with footage of the video umpire studying the action in the studio, are all flashed on the giant screen.

In the end, the video umpire's decision is conveyed via the public address system. The FIH plans to replicate this at the World Cup. The video umpire may have the verdict conveyed to the public either through a person appointed for the purpose or we may opt for captions in the pictures we flash on the giant screen," Negre said.

When asked when the system would be introduced, Negre said it all depended on tournament director Ken Read. But it'll happen sooner than later," Negre said.

The Times of India

Muller’s prediction coming true

B Shrikant

German skipper Maxi Muller predicted difficult times for defenders after their first practice match on the newly laid Poligras turf at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

According to him, the blades are too hard, rendering the pitch bouncy and the ball difficult to control. “We should see quite a lot of penalty corners as the defenders will take time to adjust to the bounce. There will be lot of errors while defending,” said Muller on Tuesday.

Going by the results, Muller’s prediction seems spot on. In the six matches so far, teams have conceded 52 penalty corners with England leading the tally with 12 PCs against Australia. Germany, as usual, have been stingy and have given away only one. The bounce seems to affect the drag flickers too as only 14 of the 52 attempts have been successful.

The scoring ratio is not too bad as the teams have been able to score 13 goals off the field at the end of the Netherlands’ match against Argentina on Monday night. In all, 28 goals have been scored in six games — a healthy average of 4.66 goals per game. Though it is early days, as the12 teams have played one match each, the conditions indicate that this could be a high scoring World Cup.

Only the Netherlands and Korea have a 100 per cent record when it comes to capitalizing on penalty corners. Taeke Taekema scored off all the three PCs against Argentina while Korea’s Hyun Hye Sung scored off their lone short corner against Germany.

India have converted three of their five penalty corners while Australia failed to convert 11 of the 12 they earned against England on Sunday.

The Indians had conceded five PCs of which Sohail Abbas converted one. Defending champions Germany have a poor 14 per cent success rate while Pakistan are marginally better at 16.

Hindustan Times

No spectators, but tickets sold!

Prabhjot Singh writes from New Delhi

While hardcore hockey spectators struggle to get tickets from the publicised ticket counters of a nationalised bank, a chain of coffee shops and a few other centres, there appears to be a free flow of tickets inside the historic Major Dhyan Chand National Hockey Stadium. Some influential members of the Indian Olympic Association as well as Hockey India have been making a frantic effort to win back those who felt slighted by their earlier total “indifferent attitude”.

Intriguingly, a fairly large number of Olympians and internationals, including some national awardees, can be seen watching the games from the 100-rupee stands. Some of these players, including former national coach Sukhvir Grewal, and several national stars, including Syed Ali, Jagdeep Singh Gill, Arvind Chhabra and Aslam Sher Khan, preferred not to run after those in control of either the IOA or Hockey India for invites to watch matches. Instead they bought tickets of Rs 100 each. Even some of the great friends of Indian hockey overseas are provided tickets by Sukhvir Grewal and group.

Sukhvir Grewal and Director of Punjab Sports Department have brought a group of their young trainees and some coaches to watch the World Cup games.

They have been provided accommodation at a nearby place of worship. Grewal is also organising for these youngsters and coaches one-day interaction with former national coach of both the US and Canada, Shiv Jagday, so that they can understand minute intricacies, strategies and game plans of different teams playing here. Jagday, who comes from Ludhiana, is now Consultant to Field Hockey Canada.

Joginder Singh, doctor from Germany, who has been voluntarily accompanying Indian hockey team on its overseas assignments for more than three decades, had finally got his due. He and his family got special invite from the organisers of the World Cup thanks to the IOA secretary-general Randhir Singh.

On Monday when the nation was celebrating Holi, New Zealand and Canada, only teams to have Indian expatriates, played the first game. While New Zealand has Priyesh Bhana, who scored the first goal for his team, and Arun Panchia, in its team, Canada has Ranjeev Deol and Sukhwinder Singh Gabbar. The coach of the Canadian team, Shiaz Virjee, is also of Indian origin. Incidentally, one of the umpires for this game was Chandigarh’s Satinder Sharma who in the last World Cup Qualifying Tournament got the golden whistle. Also on the Judges Table for this game was Indian Moghul Mohamed Muneer. Only other person of Indian origin playing for team other than India is Balwanth Shanyl of South Africa.

The Tribune

Hockey Gives Cricket a “Run for its Money” in India

The historic India v Pakistan match on Sunday’s opening day of the Hero Honda FIH World Cup attracted record audiences for hockey in India, generating viewing figures akin to that of India’s one day cricket internationals.

The match, in which India beat Pakistan by 4-1 during primetime, gained an audience share of 8.9 on Doordarshan (TVR = 1.8)  and 1.3 on Ten Sports (source: Eurodata TV/AMAP).  By way of a benchmark, cricket’s TVR on Doordarshan for the four, one-day internationals India v Sri Lanka, in December 2009, ranged from 1.1 to 2.3, averaging 1.85. 

Respected Indian sports industry website Sportspower, described the viewing figures as, “huge shot in the arm for the event's title sponsor Hero Honda and presenting sponsor Sail… giving national obsession cricket a good run for its money in terms of the TV ratings the match delivered.”


Record TV viewership

NEW DELHI: The India-Pakistan match on the opening day of the hockey World Cup has attracted record audiences on television.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH), in a statement on Tuesday, quoted Eurodata TV/AMAP source to claim that the match, in which India beat Pakistan by 4-1, gained TV ratings of 1.8 on Doordarshan and 1.3 on Ten Sports.

The FIH claimed that the ratings were as good as ratings of the one-day internationals cricket matches involving India.

The Hindu

India-Pak hockey WC match generates record TRP

NEW DELHI: The historic India-Pakistan match on the opening day of the Hockey World Cup on Sunday attracted record number of audience in the country, generating viewing figures akin to that of one-day cricket internationals.

The match, in which India beat Pakistan 4-1 during primetime, gained an audience share of 8.9 on Doordarshan (TVR = 1.8) and 1.3 on Ten Sports, a FIH media release said.

By way of a benchmark, cricket's TVR on Doordarshan for the four one-day internationals between India v Sri Lanka in December last year ranged from 1.1 to 2.3, averaging 1.85.

Ten Sports will be telecasting all the 38 matches, while the state broadcaster Doordarshan will be simultaneously telecasting matches played by India, the semifinals and finals.

Ten Sports has a reach of 12.5-13 million households and together with Doordarshan, it expects to reach about 55-60 million homes. The channel is expecting a rating of 1-1.5 TRP for the event telecast.

The Times of India

Smith visits Dhyan Chand stadium

NEW DELHI: Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith on Tuesday visited the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium, venue of the ongoing World Cup, and hoped that hockey will help in forming Australia's strategic partnership with India.

Smith, who is in New Delhi to discuss the bilateral relationship between India and Australia including safety, security and well-being of the Indians Down Under, inspected the security arrangement at the stadium for the Commonwealth Games.

"This game (hockey) and other sports will help in forming a strategic partnership between the two countries," Smith told reporters here.

The Australian, who refused to take questions, said he was looking forward to a good sporting relations between the two nations.

"Indian and Australia are great sporting countries and they have a rich tradition of hockey. So I am looking forward to a good future in sports relations between the two countries and the first match between the two countries for the Ajit Pal-Charlesworth trophy will be the beginning," he said.

The Times of India

5-3 victory to Hockeyroos over Korea

It was a beautiful evening in the parkland atmosphere at the University ground and both teams were out of the blocks strongly with two penalty corners converted by drag flicks to each side within 3 minutes.

The first was flicked by Nicole Arrold for Australia, and the second by Eun Mi Young. Korea took control and Cho Eun Bi received a superb ball high on the circle and attempted to draw the goalie. It was eventually saved by Arrold.

Fiona Boyce worked the ball in the circle to create the next penalty corner and Shelley Liddelow made no mistake with a cracking hit bottom left to put Australia ahead 2-1.

The Korean strikers especially Park Seung and Kim Jong Eun, were lightning fast and kept getting good possession on the high ball. Soon after Korea set up a penalty corer opportunity and the drag flick was well saved by Rachael Lynch. Australia pushed hard in the circle but the defence makes some dramatic saves.

With 12 minutes to go in the half Korea had two penalty corners and the second was again saved by Lynch.

Shortly after, Madonna Blyth received the ball in front of the goalie, drew her, moved one step right and scored Australia’s third goal.

At half time the score was Australia leading Korea 3 – 1.

The second half started with an energised Korea attacking strongly.

A penalty corner to them in the fourth minute was a variation passed to Kim Jong Eun on the spot who deflected the ball over the goalie for Korea’s second.

In the 43rd minute a penalty corner to Australia was again converted with a hit by Liddelow.

The game see-sawed and Australia’s defence was forced to work hard, but as it had all night, was very resolute. Rachel Lynch saved two more Korean penalty corners, but late in the half a hot drag flick from Lee Soo Kyung was unsaveable in the top left.

With three minutes to go, an infringement outside the circle by Korea gave Arrold the opportunity to convert another flick putting Australia ahead 5 goals to 3.

Lovely skills by Hope Munro in the dying minutes gave Australia one last penalty corner, but the hit was deemed dangerous.

The game showcaseed some great hockey skills and fitness from two of the world’s premier teams.

It also marked the debut of two new young players for Australia, Catriona Bailey-Price and Anna Flanagan who showed little first game nerves and were very solid in defence.

Hockeyroos (5) defeated Korea (3)

Half Time AUSTRALIA (3) Korea (1)

Goals: Hockeyroos: 3 min Nicole Arrold PC, 14 min, Shelley Liddelow PC, 26 min Madonna Blyth FG, 43 min Shelley Liddelow PC, 69 min Nicole Arrold PC; Korea: 4 min Lee Soo Kyung PC, 41 min Kim Jong Eun PC, 63 min Lee Soo Kyung PC.

Hockey Australia media release

World Cup Qualifier in the balance

THE Malaysian Women's Hockey Federation (MWHF) hopes that the World Cup Qualifier will be played as scheduled in Chile although the country was hit by a devastating earthquake just days ago.

Malaysia are supposed to play in the Chile qualifier on April 24-May 2 which also involves the hosts, Australia, Ireland, Scotland and Trinidad and Tobago. "We are scheduled to depart for Chile on April 17 but with the current situation I am not sure if the tournament will be held there.

I have contacted the FIH (International Hockey Federation) regarding the matter and they are looking into it," said MWHF secretary S.

Shamala. FIH competitions manager Dennis Meredith said in an e-mail y to MWHA: "We have received a communication yesterday from the Chilean Hockey Federation about the problems.

At this stage it is hoped we will proceed with the tournament as planned but we need a couple of days to check to ensure everything will be in place. "All teams will be advised as soon as we are able to confirm all the arrangements."

New Straits Times