News for10 March 2010

All the news for Wednesday 10 March 2010

Hero Honda World Cup

Day 10 - Tuesday 09-03-2010 16:35 Germany 5 : 2 New Zealand
Day 10 - Tuesday 09-03-2010 18:35 Netherlands 1 : 2 Korea
Day 10 - Tuesday 09-03-2010 20:35 Canada 2 : 3 Argentina

Pool A
Rank Teams Played Wins Draw Lost GF - GA GD Points
1 Germany 5 3 2 0 19 - 9 10 11
2 Netherlands 5 3 1 1 15 - 5 10 10
3 Korea 5 3 1 1 16 - 8 8 10
4 Argentina 5 2 0 3 8 - 11 -3 6
5 New Zealand 5 2 0 3 8 - 12 -4 6
6 Canada 5 0 0 5 6 - 27 -21 0


Semi-finals decided for Delhi World Cup

At the Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 in Delhi, Germany topped Pool A by beating New Zealand (5-2) while The Netherlands fell to Korea (1-2). The semi-finals will oppose Germany to England, and Australia to the Netherlands.

At the beginning of the last day of pool play, everything could still happen in pool A with four teams (Netherlands, Germany, Korea and New Zealand) still mathematically able to earn a semi-final berth depending on the combination of results!

Game 28 – Germany v. New Zealand: 5-2 (half-time: 2-0)

Germany, reigning World Cup holders, needed to win against New Zealand to automatically qualify without having to rely on the result of the following match between The Netherlands and Korea. They immediately pushed forward and created a number of chances for Moritz FÜRSTE and Philip WITTE before Christoph MENKE opened the scoring, deflecting high in the goal roof a perfect cross from Florian FUCHS.

New Zealand tried to respond but, still playing without their mercurial leader Phillip BURROWS, they could only produce some timid counter-attacks. Germany were dictating play and increased their lead in the 28th minute by Florian FUCHS, picking up the rebound of a penalty-corner shot initially stopped by Kyle PONTIFEX.

The two teams started second half without much rhythm, making a number of unforced errors and turn-overs. Philip WITTE added a third goal in the 47th minute and the Black Sticks at this moment did not seem to have the resources to react. However, they pulled back a goal by Shea MCALEESE on a penalty-corner loosely defended by Germany then shortly after Nicholas WILSON took advantage of a ball lost by Martin HÄNER in his 25m to bring back his team within one goal. Suddenly the young German crew did not look so confident anymore and it was everybody’s game.

Germany regained some colours with two penalty-corners in quick succession by Moritz FÜRSTE then Matthias WITTHAUS, restoring a more comfortable three-goal cushion. They cruised to a win that qualified them for the semi-finals, with their final placing (first or second) in the pool depending on the following game’s result.

Match facts (Germany v. New Zealand):
> Germany qualified for the semi-finals for a record 11th time.
> Germany only failed to reach the semi-finals at Barcelona 1971.
> New Zealand now play in the Final 7-8 against India, unless Argentina beat Canada. In that case New Zealand play in the Final 9-10 against South Africa.
> The Black Sticks have never finished lower than 10th in the World Cup competition.
> New Zealand’s best finish in the competition is seventh place, which they achieved in Amstelveen 1973, Kuala Lumpur 1975 and Bombay 1982.
> Florian Fuchs is Germany’s leading goal scorer this tournament with 4 goals.
> Germany are reigning Olympic champions and two time defending world champions and are making a bid to become the first nation to win the FIH World Cup three times in a row.

Game 29 – Netherlands v. Korea: 1-2 (half-time: 1-1)

With everybody busy trying to figure out what the various possibilities of results in this game would produce in the standings, The Netherlands offered a beginning of answer by scoring within 30 seconds of play by Ronald BROUWER, brilliantly set-up by Teun DE NOOIJER. Korea reacted with their traditional quick passes and speedy runs, but they could not shake or penetrate the steady Dutch defense.

The game turned into a tactical opposition played mainly in midfield, with little direct dangers for the two goalkeepers. The Netherlands got close on another acceleration by Teun DE NOOIJER and a quick exchange of passes with Valentin VERGA, but the move was stopped by a defender before a shot on goal. Korea then forced a penalty-corner on one of their rare incursions in the Dutch circle in the 31st minute and Hyun Woo NAM dutifully converted it, his forth of the competition.

Half-time was reached on a tied score (1-1) with a lot of work for Korea, needing to win by at least two goal to overcome The Netherlands and force the door of the semi-finals. Eun Seong HONG had a golden chance to score early in second period after a vast Korean attack that ended on a 4-on-3 and left him alone at the top of the circle, but he completely mishandled his shot. Jong Ho SEO was more realistic a few minutes later at the conclusion of a similar move, managing to push the ball in goal despite lying on the ground behind the Dutch keeper.

With the door to qualification partly open, the Koreans forward furiously and Hyo Sik YOU nearly surprised Guus VOGELS with an instant reverse shot. They missed a penalty-corner chance and The Netherlands progressively took back the control of play. Geert-Jan DERIKX missed a completely open net after a monumental run by Teun DE NOOIJER and everything was still possible with 5 minutes to go. The two coaches were pacing nervously on the side line, shouting defensive or offensive orders, and the two teams put everything on the line in the final minutes, but the score did not evolve… until the final second when a penalty-corner was whistled for The Netherlands.

The situation was clear: if they scored, they would top pool A and play England (second of pool B) in semi-final, otherwise they would play Australia (first of pool B). Taeke TAEKEMA slotted his flick wide and the semi-finals were decided.

Match Facts (Netherlands v. Korea):
> The Dutch have now reached the WC semi-finals for the 8th time, and for the first time since 2002, when they lost 4-1 to Australia in the semi-finals.
> The Dutch finish second in Pool A to take on Australia in the semi-finals, whereas Germany play England.
> Germany are the only teams still unbeaten after the Pool matches.
> Ronald Brouwer ‘s (NED) opening goal after 25 seconds is the fastest goal scored at Delhi 2010.
> Mark Pearson (CAN 33 seconds vs. NZL) and Phillip Burrows (NZL 39 seconds vs. NED) also scored in the first minute this tournament.
> However, all three teams that scored a first minute goal at Delhi 2010 ended up losing the match.
> Nam Hyun-Woo (KOR) scored his 4th PC goal this tournament. Only Taeke Taekema (NED) and Luke Doerner (AUS) have scored more PC goals at Delhi 2010.
> Korea will take on Spain in the Final 5-6. This is the first time they play in a fifth place play-off.
> In the last two World Cups (2002 and 2006) Korea came fourth.
> In 1994 and 1998 Korea reached the Final 7-8, losing on penalty strokes to Argentina in 1994 and beating Canada in 1998.

Game 30 – Canada v. Argentina: 2-4 (half-time: 0-1)

The final game of pool play pitted the two arch-rivals from the Americas, usually opposed in Pan American competitions (it will be their first encounter in a World Cup). Canada edged Argentina in dramatic fashion in the last two major competitions (2007 Pan American Games and 2009 Pan American Cup) and Argentina, playing well here in Delhi, were no doubt eager to avenge these two defeats.

The game started with a long observation round before Gabbar SINGH launched into one his trademark run through the Argentinean defense and set up Mark PEARSON and Philip WRIGHT in the circle but the goal was saved by a desperate retreat from a defender. At the other end, Dave CARTER, back in goal for Canada, was called in action in the 12th minute to clean up behind a hot situation in his circle then again soon after to stop Agustin A MAZZILLI arriving alone after stealing a ball from the Canadian midfield.

The two teams obviously knew each other well and the game, although fast and pleasant, stayed confined in midfield, with episodic dashes from both sides. Argentina had a chance on penalty-corner but Dave CARTER saved it well. Canada played short after a green card to Philip WRIGHT, avoided a penalty-corner with a referral to the video-umpire, defended efficiently the next three set pieces but had to concede on the next one to Lucas VILA, slamming the rebound from close range.

The game resume with the same pattern in second period, with some incessant work in midfield from Rob SHORT and Ken PEREIRA. Argentina increased their lead in the 43rd minute by Matias PAREDES, receiving a long ball in front of the goal, pivoting in traffic then forcing the ball over Dave CARTER. Mario ALMADA, hanging inconspicuously behind the Canadian defense, nearly increased the lead when he collected a ball mishandled by a Canadian defender, but he did not take the time to adjust his shot and it went wide.

Canada reacted strongly and were threatening for a while but could not score and Argentina increased their lead again by Mario ALMADA as soon as they were back at full strength after a yellow card to Matias VILA. Canada pulled back a goal in the 60th minute by Scott TUPPER, their first successful penalty-corner of the competition. Shortly after David JAMESON surprised Juan ESPINOSA with an instant reverse shot and, with Canada showing the intensity that they so badly missed during their previous matches, the stage was set for a classical fiery end of match between the two rivals!

It was nevertheless too little too late for Canada. With the win, Argentina jumps over New Zealand to finish fourth in the pool and will play for 7th-8th against India, while Canada, the first team to finish pool play pointless since Cuba in 2002, will face Pakistan to avoid the wooden spoon of the competition.

Match facts (Canada v. Argentina):
> Argentina qualified for the Final 7-8. Their win over Canada made them finish fourth in Pool A, beating New Zealand on goal difference.
> Argentina now play India for 7th place.
> In 1978 and 1994 Argentina also played in the 7th place play-off, losing to England in 1978 to finish 8th and beating Korea on penalty strokes in 1994 to finish 7th.
> Argentina’s best World Cup ranking is 6th in 1986 and 2002. In 2006 Argentina finished 10th.
> New Zealand play South Africa in the Final 9-10 and Canada play Pakistan for 11th place.
> Canada finished the pool standings on zero points. They are the first team since Belgium and Cuba in 2002 to lose all their World Cup pool matches.

After a rest day on Wednesday, the Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 continues on Thursday in Delhi with the match for 11th-12th place between Canada and Pakistan, and the semi-finals, when Germany face England and Australia lock horns with 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 10 - Tuesday 9 March 2010

Germany v. New Zealand  5:2 (2:0)

GER  15mn  Christoph MENKE (FG)  1:0
GER  28mn  Florian FUCHS (PC)  2:0
GER  47mn  Philip WITTE (FG)  3:0
NZL  51mn  Shea MCALEESE (PC)  3:1
NZL  54mn  Nicholas WILSON (FG)  3:2
GER  63mn  Moritz FÜRSTE (PC)  4:2
GER  64mn  Matthias WITTHAUS (PC)  5:2

Netherlands v. Korea  1:2 (1:1)
NED   1mn  Ronald BROUWER (FG)  1:0
KOR  31mn  Hyun Woo NAM (PC)  1:1
KOR  45mn  Jong Ho SEO (FG)  1:2

Canada v. Argentina 2:4 (0:1)
ARG  29mn  Lucas Martin VILA (PC)  0:1
ARG  43mn  Matias Enrique PAREDES (FG)  0:2
ARG  56mn  Mario ALMADA (FG)  0:3
CAN  60mn  Scott TUPPER (PC)  1:3
CAN  65mn  David JAMESON (FG)  2:3
ARG  70mn  Tomas ARGENTO INNOCENTE (FG)  0:4

Pool Standings:
Pool A: 1) Germany 11 pts  2) Netherlands 10 pts (+10)  3) Korea 10pts (+8)  4) Argentina 6 pts (-2)  5) New Zealand 6 pts (-4)  6) Canada 0 pt
Pool B: 1) Australia 12 pts (+17)  2) England 12 pts (+5)  3) Spain 9 pts  4) India 4 pts (-4)  5) South Africa 4 pts (-15)  6) Pakistan 3 pts

Schedule for last three days:

Thursday 12 March

15:35 – 11th-12th – Canada v. Pakistan
18:05 – semi-final – Germany v. England
20:35 – semi-final – Australia v. Netherlands

Friday 12 March

15:35 – 9th-10th – New Zealand v. South Africa
18:05 – 7th-8th – Argentina v. India
20:35 – 5th-6th – Korea v. Spain

Saturday 13 march

15:35 – 3rd-4th
18:05 – Final



The Netherlands makes it

Germany takes top spot in pool after a facile win

S. Thyagarajan

— Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

THANKS FOR THE SUPPORT: Members of the German team acknowledge the crowd's cheers after the thumping win over New Zealand on Tuesday.

New Delhi: Defending champion Germany and the Netherlands joined England and Australia to complete the semifinal line-up in the Hero Honda hockey World Cup on Tuesday.

Korea, the Asian powerhouse, missed the berth by a whisker after subduing the Dutch. The 2-1 victory for Korea was insufficient to cover up the goal-difference, which eventually stood at plus 10 for the Netherlands and plus eight for Korea.

A splendid mix of professional efficiency and technical competence gave Germany a 5-2 victory over New Zealand and confirmed its semifinal spot. It also topped Pool A with 11 points.

Champion stuff

Chased by Korea and the Kiwis, the Germans were compelled to peak, and peak they did with masterly efficiency.

Every move mirrored the mode and method, as though programmed in a computer. Stunning deflections and smart tactics in penalty corners were there for all to see.

The first goal erupted in a flash. A long shot by Florian Fuchs from outside the zone was deflected in by Christoph Menke even before the seasoned New Zealand goal-keeper Pontifex could bat an eyelid.

Then came an essay in executing rebounds even as Martin Zwicker made repeated raids. Max Muller's crafty penalty corner was stopped by Pontifex and Fuchs pounced on the rebound to slot home the second.

Philip Witte threw himself forward like a swimmer entering the water to connect a Jan Philip free hit for the third.

Temporary setback

The Germans lost the plot momentarily and some loose work inside the circle gave the Kiwis a chance to hit back. And hit they did in quick succession — Shea Macaleese netted from a rebound and within a minute Brian Nicolas, the most hard-working of the lot in the frontline, zoomed in to score. The Kiwis had procured the rewards for their persistence and pugnacity.

Closing the gaps to prevent any further slip-up, Germany intensified the pace and struck twice in a space of two minutes. Moritz Furste converted a penalty corner and Matthias Witthaus put the issue beyond doubt. Little did one realise that the Koreans would inflict such an embarrassing defeat on the Netherlands team. By the time the clock had crossed 22 seconds, the lead emerged. A fluent workout involving the stars, Teun di Nooijer and Floris Evers, ended with Ronald Brouwer scoring.

The grip that the Dutchmen had at that point was absolute. But the Koreans were not the ones to be subjugated for long. Slowly, and imperceptibly, they began to press harder and harder.

Pushing forward

Skipper Jong Ho Seo led from the front, inspiring the wingers Eun Sung and Jang Jong to apply steady pressure. The Dutch defence, finding it tough to come to terms with the rising tide of the Korean attacks, succumbed.

Five minutes before half-time, the first penalty corner came in favour of Korea. Woo Hyun Nam's immaculate drag flick left the seasoned Guus Vogles helpless.

Encouraged by this success, the Koreans escalated their pace. The Dutch had a narrow escape, thanks to the goal-line save by Jolie Wouter.

Jong Ho Seo produced what turned out to be the match-winner shortly after the break. Sensing that two more goals would push the Dutch out of a semifinal contention, the Koreans became relentless in their aggression. The Dutch defenders had a trying time in preventing the Koreans from scoring again.

In the last match of the day, Argentina's 4-2 win over Canada moved it to the fourth place in the pool, on goal difference, ahead of New Zealand.

Wednesday is a rest day.

Line-up for semifinals and classification matches:

Semifinals: Germany vs. England; Australia vs. Netherlands.

Classification: 5-6: Korea vs. Spain; 7-8: India vs. Argentina; 9-10: New Zealand vs. South Africa; 11-12: Pakistan vs. Canada.

The results:

Pool A: Germany 5 (Christoph Menke, Florian Fuchs, Philip Witte, Moritz Furste, Matthias Witthaus) bt New Zealand 2 (Shea McCaleese, Brian Nicolas). HT: 2-0.

Korea 2 (Woo Hyun Nam, Jong Ho Seo) bt Netherlands 1 (Ronald Brouwer). HT: 1-1.

Argentina 4 (Lucas Vila, Mathias Parades, Mario Almada, Tomas Innocente) bt Canada 2 (Scott Tupper, David Jameson). HT: 1-0.

The Hindu

Semi finalists decided

By Patrick Rowley in New Delhi

England were joined by two more European teams, Holland and Germany, in the World Cup semi-finals on the final day of the pool matches.

Not until the last seconds of the Holland-Korea match did England know which of their continental rivals they will meet tomorrow (Thursday). It will be the Germans.

Holland were trailing 2-1 against Korea but forced a penalty corner. With Taeke Taekama in their team, there had to be a very real chance they would score. He and they didn’t.

Had he done so, a draw would have been enough for Holland to top group A instead of Germany who had beaten New Zealand 5-2 earlier in the day.

So England, runners-up to Australia in group B, play group A winners Germany who are bidding to be the first country to win the World Cup three times in succession, while the Dutch have to face Australia, the pre-tournament favourites.

England beat Germany 5-3 to win the European Cup in the Amstelveen stadium last August.

If England are to win the World Cup for the first time they may have to repeat their European medal round successes over Netherlands and Germany though this time in the reverse order. Australia, of course, will have other ideas.

That the Dutch lost to Korea was not altogether surprising. They had been beaten in their four previous matches against them.

Yet Holland made the perfect start, Ronald Brouwer scoring in just over half a minute. He turned in a centre from the back line.

Hyun Woo Nam replied from Korea’s first penalty corner and it was their captain, Jong ho Seo, who flicked in the winner.

Germany were too good for New Zealand and led 3-0 before a Kiwi burst  took them briefly within a goal.

The Telegraph

Semifinalists spotted, no Asian Challenge

s2h Team

The semifinalists are here. The Netherlands will land against Australia while Germany take on England in the semifinals.

Korea defeated Netherlands 2-1 today in a pulstating match, but having already obtained 10 points in the four matches in the pool, Netherlands scrapped through on better goal difference. Korea also had ten points but two goals less on goal difference.

Korea thus would rue when they lost to New Zealand in the pool. Korea's exit also marks the end of Asian challenge in the World Cup being staged in Asia.

Netherlands scored the fastest goal within 22 seconds from the start (thorugh Ronald Brouwer, but the Koreans, who defeated Netherlands in the opener in the last World Cup, came back strongly, and scored a goal apiece in each half.

Korea needed four goal difference to be in the semis, it was not to be.

Germany-New Zealand: Germany outwitted New Zealand in their last pool match, for a fluent and familiar 5-2 score. After Germany posted three goals without reply, New Zealand came alive with two goals in the space of four minutes midway through second half. The scoreline 3-2 promised a rich fare, but the alert Germans came out with two goals in two minutes in the 63rd and 64th minute enter the semis in a majestic fashion.

Christopher Minke started the scoring spree in the 15th minute, Florian Fuchs and Florian Woesch added a goal apiece before the half time.

Then came the brief come back by the Kiwis, goals coming from a pentlay corner in the 51st minute, Shea Mcaleese was the scores, three minutes later in a field manoeuvres, Nicholas Wilson added their last goal.

German scorers in the second half were Moritz Furste and the veteran Matthias Witthus

Canada Vs Argentina: Argentina posted an impressive 4-2 win over continental rival Canada in the last pool match of the world Cup. Argentina, in the process, scored the world cup's latest goal also, Innocente's goal going inside the net just a second left in the clock.

Argentina scored in the 29th, 43rd and 56th minutes thro' Martin Vila, Matias Paredes and Mario Almada, and then the Canadians came back into the reckoning strongly, scoring two goals in the space of six minutes from 60th minute. First Scott Tupper and then David Jameson added the last goal of their team. Even as Argentina was to finish the day at that point, a one-handed fast run down by Martin Vila served on platter for the ultimate Player of the Day Mario Almada to score in the last second of 70th minute.

European teams dominate hockey World Cup

C Rajshekhar Rao

New Delhi: The dominance of the European teams was highlighted once again as three from the continent made it to the semifinals of the FIH Hero Honda World Cup. After favourites Australia and aspirants England had ensured knockout berths on Monday, defending champions Germany and three-time winners The Netherlands too advanced, though with contrasting last outings.

Germany became the only team to remain unbeaten in the league with a convincing 5-2 victory over New Zealand, even as the Dutch suffered a 1-2 setback at the hands of Korea, the last flicker from an Asian team in the preliminary league. The last round of the Pool ‘B’ matches saw some keen contests, Argentina beating Canada to take fourth place and set up a play-off with India for the seventh place.

But the match of the day was the one featuring the Dutch, who ran into a sprightly Korean side looking for a bigger margin that could push them ahead, and one who have beaten them often in recent big internationals.

A penalty-corner awarded in the dying seconds could not be converted by famed drag-flicker Taeke Taekema, ending The Netherlands’s chances of topping the pool and avoiding Australia in the next round.

“We were playing to be in the semifinals. The Koreans played a fine game and went all out in attack. They deserved to win for converting the chances they got, but we are not bothered by the loss,” said captain Teun de Nooijer after holding off the Koreans, who needed just one more strike to catch up with them on goal difference and advance on the basis of more goals scored.

Just two goals separated the two, and one more goal from Korea would not only have taken their goal difference up by one, it would also have brought down that of the Dutch by one. The Netherlands had started with gusto, Ronald Brouwer striking with the first move of the match in tandem with Nooijer within half a minute of the start. But Hyun Woo Nam slammed in a first-timer to convert Korea’s first penalty-corner to equalise in the 31st minute.

The second session belonged to the Koreans, Jong Ho Seo’s 45th-minute goal off a pass from Sung Hoo Yoon helping the Asian champions to lift their game in the subsequent minutes. Hyo Sik You and Lee Nam Yong also made some dangerous moves as the Dutch posted themselves around the ‘D’ to ensure there were no more goals.

Germany, defending their two consecutive titles, ensured they kept in line for another one by overcoming the Kiwis. On eight points after four matches with two draws, the Germans became the only team to remain undefeated in the league stage.

Christoph Menke dived to get a stick to the ball for the first goal, while Florian Fuchs scored an opportunistic one off a rebound from a penalty-corner attempt as Germany went 2-0 ahead by half-time. Philip Witte further increased the lead early in the second session as Germany looked set to race away. But New Zealand scored a goal through Shea McAleese off a penalty-corner and then Nicholas Wilson was put in position to score by Blair Hilton, in a space of four minutes. However, Germany converted penalty-corners through Moritz Furste and Matthias Witthaus in subsequent minutes (63rd and 64th).

In the Argentina-Canada match, the team from South America led comfortably for most of the time, and after a resurgence from the opposition, ended the match with a goal just seconds from the long hooter. After Martin Lucas Vila, Enrique Paredes and Nicolas Almada put the team ahead, Scott Tuper and David James provided a whiff of hope to the Canadians. But it was a sliding goal from Tomas Argento that ended the match on a thrilling note.


Germany make light work of NZ

Vaibhav Sharma

Well, in the end all one could say was, “If only Kiwis could fly”. For if they could, then the aerial route would have been one easy way to bail out of the thrashing Germany handed them in their match for the 2010 FIH Hero Honda Hockey World Cup.

The Germans were still relying on some permutations to make it to the semis, but they confined the number game, to the waste bin with a clinical 5-2 win over New Zealand. The Germans dominated the game from the opening seconds.

In the 9thminute, a dangerous deflection by Christoph Menke was well saved by Kiwi goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex. Then Matthias Witthaus shot wide off the rebound, but it was clear that the Germans were craving for first blood.

New Zealand were looking to break free of the stranglehold, but then in the 15thminute, Christoph Menke received a beautiful cross from Florian Fuchs from the left wing, and dived ahead to deflect the ball high under the roof of Pontifex’s goal.

It was a beautifully worked goal, which had the German superiority stamped all over it. The Kiwis’ frontline was rather non-existent and only young Nicholas Wilson made any impression.

Then again in the 28th minute, the Germans won a penalty corner and this time though Pontifex made a decent save from the direct shot, Florian Fuchs was at hand to finish off from the rebound and take his tally of goals to four in the World Cup.

The Germans went in for the breather with a complete grip over the match and also a two goal lead. The second half was expected to be a mere formality, but the Kiwis flickered once before being blown away towards the end of the stipulated 70 minutes.

Although the Germans stretched their lead when Philip Witte went in for a powerful cross from Jan Philipp Rabente from the top of the Kiwi circle, but the Black Sticks hit back with two goals in quick succession.

First it was Shea McAleese who scored, off a deflected shot from Andrew Hayward, to push the ball past Tim Jessulat to make it 3-1. Then within three minutes, Nicholas Wilson capitalised on a lost ball in the midfield, and then in sublime fashion beat the German custodian.

A Kiwi comeback looked possible at 3-2, but the Germans had other plans. A superbly worked penalty corner by Jan-Marco Montag set up Moritz Furste, who pushed the ball into bottom right corner of the goal to make it 4-2 in the 63rdminute.

Then in the 64th minute Matthias Witthaus scored from a rebound off Maximillian Muller’s shot to make it 5-2. The Germans held on to the three-goal lead and marched into the semis for a record 11th time. The Kiwis on the other hand are likely to play India for the 7-8thposition, unless Argentina beat Canada. In that scenario, Argentina will play India and the Kiwis will fight it out for the 9-10th position.

The Tribune

Germany reach World Cup semi-finals

NEW DELHI: Defending champions Germany outclassed New Zealand 5-2 on Tuesday to join England and Australia in the semi-finals of the men's field hockey World Cup.

The Germans led 2-0 at half-time through goals by Christophe Menke in the 15th minute and Florian Fuchs in the 28th.

Philip Witte made it 3-0 soon after the interval, but New Zealand hit back with two goals in four minutes from Shea McAleese and Nicholas Wilson.

The powerful Germans sealed their supremacy over the Black Sticks when Moritz Furste and Matthias Witthaus scored twice in as many minutes, both goals coming from rebounds off penalty corners.

Germany, looking for a hat-trick of World Cup titles to add to the Beijing Olympic gold medal, ended the league stage unbeaten in group A with three wins and two draws.

The second semi-final spot from the group will be decided after the match between the Netherlands and South Korea later on Tuesday.

The Dutch, who have 10 points against Germany's 11, need a draw to advance to the knock-out rounds.

The Koreans, Asia's lone survivor after India and Pakistan crashed out early, need a big win to move to 10 points and better the Dutch on goal difference.

Favourites Australia and European champions England have already qualified for the semi-finals from group B.

New Zealand finished with two wins and three losses.

The Times of India

Black Sticks come up short

The Black Sticks played their best 20 minutes of hockey at the World Cup this morning (NZT) but were still beaten 5-2 by defending champions Germany to come up well short of their target of a top four or, at worst, top six finish.

New Zealand will now play South Africa for 9th-10th on Friday (11.05pm NZT) after any hopes of even reaching the 7th-8th play-off were dashed when Argentina hung on to beat a spirited Canada 3-2 in the last pool game earlier and pip the Black Sticks by one goal on goal difference. Argentina will play India for 7th-8th.

Earlier, upset 2-1 by the Koreans in the second match of the night, the Netherlands suffered their first loss but still progressed to a semifinal against Australia on goal difference leaving Korea to play for 5th-6th against Spain.

Germany ended pool play as the only unbeaten team.

New Zealand had it all to play for in their final pool game but simply, particularly for long periods in the first half, they were well off the pace.

Sloppy, often misdirected, passing led again to a wealth of turnover ball.

Forced to play catch-up the Black Sticks seldom looked likely.

"I was not happy with the first half. We were disappointing," coach Shane McLeod said.

"The game, for me, was lost in those first 35 minutes. Our fate was in our hands and we couldn't do what we set out to."

After being 0-2 down at halftime following an opportunist deflected goal from Christoph Menke in the 15th minute and from a second grab at a penalty corner 13 minutes later, the Black Sticks dropped further behind 11 minutes after the break.

Again the goal came from a deflection with Philipe Wiite getting his stick to a ball played into the circle by Jan Phillipe Rabente.

Dispirited but not prepared to concede, New Zealand rallied and for the next 20 minutes took the game to a German team unbeaten in 17 previous matches and now just two from equalling Australia's 20-year-old record of 20 World Cup games without defeat.

From a penalty corner in the 50th minute Shea McAleese, one of the more enterprising Black Sticks, pounced on the loose ball to push home.

Four minutes later it was double delight when Nick Wilson was rewarded with his team's best goal of the tournament as he ran on to a long ball, beat a would-be tackler at the top of the circle and beat goalkeeper Tim Jessulat.

Encouraged, they went in search of more with Blair Hopping continuing to add midfield impetus by pushing forward from his customary defensive post. Two minutes after scoring their second they again unlocked the German defence but just failed to produce a telling shot.

They successfully defended the German's third penalty corner but were then undone by two dubious calls from Scottish umpire Andy Mair who handed telling penalty corners to the world champions.

Germany scored from two of those three late set plays to take the victory by three goals.

The New Zealand Herald

Under-strength Black Sticks exposed in India

An under-strength New Zealand were exposed as they fell well short of their target of a top four finish at the hockey World Cup at New Delhi, India .

A 2-5 defeat to defending champions Germany in their final group match this morning (NZ time) saw the Black Sticks slip into the playoff for 9th and 10th against South Africa on Friday.

Any hopes of even reaching the 7th-8th playoff were dashed when Argentina hung on to beat a spirited Canada 3-2 in their last pool game earlier and pip the Black Sticks by one goal on goal difference. Argentina will play India for 7th-8th.

Earlier, upset 2-1 by the Koreans in the second match of the night, the Netherlands suffered their first loss but still progressed to a semifinal against Australia on goal difference leaving Korea to play for 5th-6th against Spain.

Germany ended pool play as the only unbeaten team.

New Zealand had it all to play for in their final pool game but simply, particularly for long periods in the first half, they were well off the pace.

Sloppy, often misdirected, passing led again to a wealth of turnover ball. Forced to play catch-up the Black Sticks seldom looked likely.

The shortcomings of a below-strength team were exposed with McLeod later admitting the performance here will open the way for a couple of players at home.

It was obvious at this tournament the team missed the experience the Shaw brothers, Hayden and Brad, provide. Coupled with the loss of strikers Simon Child (withdrew before the tournament) and Phil Burrows, the gaps were evident.

"There are some who will need to look at themselves," McLeod said without being drawn on just who is under the microscope.

After being 0-2 down at halftime following an opportunist deflected goal from Christoph Menke in the 15th minute and from a second grab at a penalty corner 13 minutes later, the Black Sticks dropped further behind 11 minutes after the break.

Again the goal came from a deflection with Philipe Wiite getting his stick to a ball played into the circle by Jan Phillipe Rabente.

New Zealand rallied and for the next 20 minutes took the game to a German team unbeaten in 17 previous matches.

From a penalty corner in the 50th minute Shea McAleese pounced on the loose ball to push home.

Four minutes later it was double delight when Nick Wilson was rewarded with his team's best goal of the tournament as he ran on to a long ball, beat a would-be tackler at the top of the circle and beat goalkeeper Tim Jessulat.

Encouraged, they went in search of more with Blair Hopping continuing to add midfield impetus by pushing forward from his customary defensive post. Two minutes after scoring their second they again unlocked the German defence but just failed to produce a telling shot.

Germany converted two of those late penalty corners to take the victory by three goals which in itself was disappointing for the Black Sticks in light of their spirited fightback.

"Those late goals against us were crucial and in the end cost us dearly as Argentina got up over Canada to push us out of the 7th-8th play-off," said McLeod.

"We came here wanting to make the semifinals or at least the top six which would have been our best ever result but once we lost Phil Burrows I felt we would struggle." Ryan Archibald was again their "go to man" but it was too big an ask even for a player of his unquestioned skill to carry the workload he found himself lumbered with.

"Again, I thought Ryan did very well," said McLeod.

"But too often he was left with no partner to work with.

"On the flip side, the young guys have gained from the experience of playing here."

He agreed the World Cup was not the stage to experiment and learn.

Only players at the top of their game should set foot on the turf at this level. Too often too many fell short of that.


Goal drought frustrates Black Sticks trainer

By Terry Maddaford

No one could blame Black Sticks coach Shane McLeod if he hung a "have stick, can score goals, apply here" sign on his hotel door.

While defensively the national men's team has done well enough at this World Cup, the problems at the other end of the turf have been glaringly obvious.

In their first four pool matches, before the clash with world champions Germany earlier this morning, the Black Sticks, in 280 minutes of hockey had scored just six goals with three of those from either penalty corners or a penalty stroke.

McLeod pointed out that he was down on firepower, without inspirational captain Phil Burrows, injured in a freak accident in the loss to the Netherlands and likely to miss the rest of the tournament, and regular goal-grabber Simon Child, who opted to stay away.

But as McLeod also pointed out, that had opened the door for other strikers to show him they were worthy of selection in the big matches still to play here and at the Champions Trophy and Commonwealth Games later in the year.

There have been some good scoring opportunities but the attackers have failed to nail them.

"The two clear-cut chances we had against Korea should have been scored," said McLeod.

"Had we taken them, it could have been a different story. Against Argentina, we were again lacking firepower and it was the same story. We created chances but could not take them and missed a stroke as well."

After four, of five, rounds in pool play, only Argentina (with five) and Canada (4) had scored fewer goals than New Zealand.

In the other pool Pakistan had the worst scoring record but had still scored eight - well down on the 21 hammered home by the Australians.

Ryan Archibald, Burrows and Priyesh Bhana have scored from open play for New Zealand. The other three have come from an Andy Hayward penalty corner strike, a second phase effort from Nick Haig and a stroke from Dean Couzins.

At the back the Black Sticks have been well-served.

Kyle Pontifex in goal has been as good as any keeper on display. In front of him Couzins, who has taken over the captaincy in Burrows' absence, and Blair Hopping have stood out.

New Zealand have conceded just seven goals. Only the Netherlands (with three) had conceded fewer while in group B only Australia (with five) have fared better defensively.

England, who won four-from-four to lead that group and emerged as the first team to go into the semifinals, had conceded 10 but had at least scored 17.

With sides better equipped to defend penalty corners - the ratio of such conversions to field goals is falling - the emphasis is returning to scoring from open play.

New Zealand must jump quickly back on to that bandwagon or find themselves being left behind and undoing much of the good work they have done in recent times.

The New Zealand Herald

Netherlands delighted to reach semifinals

German captain not completely happy

Y.B. Sarangi

— Photo: AFP

SO NEAR...Kim Young Jin cannot hide his tears after Korea failed to make the semifinals.

NEW DELHI: Notwithstanding its 1-2 defeat to Korea in the last pool match on Tuesday, the Netherlands team was happy that it made the semifinals of the hockey World Cup after a gap of eight years.

Dutch coach Michel van del Heuvel said the Netherlands did not have a good grip over the game. “We did not balance the game — the running game and the control game. We did not hold the ball well enough and our control was not well,” he said.

van del Heuvel did not agree that the loss to Korea would have any bearing on his team in the semifinals against Australia.

Captain Teun de Nooijer said the Netherlands missed a few chances and could not manage a draw. “In the World Cup, you cannot win every game and we could not today,” he said.

The Korean side showed its big heart even after missing out on a semifinal berth on the basis of goal difference. “We played better, but congratulations to the Netherlands,” said coach Seok Kyo Shin.

Shin said his team could not prepare well for the World Cup. “In the winter, there was heavy snowfall in Korea and our players could not train well. Had they trained well, you would have seen a better performance,” he said.

Germany's 5-2 win against New Zealand was not as one-sided as the scoreline suggested. Understandably, German captain Max Muller was not 100 percent happy with the showing. “The important thing was we reached the semifinals,” he said.

Muller said his young side had the ability to withstand the pressure when the Black Sticks narrowed down the score to 3-2.

“It was a mental thing. Our performance was 20 percent down and they fought back. Then we made the turnaround,” he said.

On the beautiful penalty corner variations adopted by his team, Muller said, “I am happy with it. We had trained a lot.”

Muller was not worried about which team Germany would play in the semifinals. “Australia has better strikers while England is a better team with good defence,” he said.

Dean Couzins, who led New Zealand on Tuesday, said Germany was the better side. “They had more chances and they deserved to win. We could not keep the momentum after making it 2-3,” he said.

The Hindu

Korea stun Netherlands


Korea rallied to stun The Netherlands 2-1 to catch up with the former champions on ten points but a minus one-goal difference did the Asian champions in from getting a semifinal berth from Group A in the 12th Hero Honda FIH World Cup Hockey Championship at the National Stadium here tonight.

Korea equalled the Dutch tally of 10 points, but the three-time world champions had a goal difference of 15 for and five against going into this match, and Korea needed to win by a margin of at least 3 goals to 1 as they had a pre-game goal ratio of 16-8 (minus three).

In the end, Holland sailed into the semis by the skin of their teeth as the second team, behind defending champions Germany. In hindsight, Holland's clean 3-0 and 6-0 wins over Argentina and Canada respectively turned out to be decisive. Korea, on the other hand, had conceded goals in all their five matches, and even a 9-2 victory against Canada could not help them in the final analysis.

Yet, the Korean victory over Holland would rank as one of the finest witnessed in this championship. The fast-moving Koreans, with their pleasing passes, brilliant trapping and hustling play inside the circle, had the Netherlands all knotted up. To confound the woes of the Dutch, the three penalty corners they earned were negatived by the television umpire when the Koreans asked for referrals. One of the Dutch penalty corners came at the stroke of full time, and with the Korean plea being upheld by the television umpire yet again, the Dutch had to accept the fact that they suffered their first defeat after three wins on the trot and one draw.

But for Rob Recker's fast interceptions and quick dispossesion of the Koreans inside the circle and in the midfield, the Asian champions would have slotted in more than two goals, and spoilt the party for the Dutch. Recker was awarded the man of the match prize for his splendid display, but the Korean performance was something to be savoured for long, and a great advertisement for fast and furious hockey--the kind of game the Europeans play, particularly the Dutch are adept at.

Holland meant business from the outset, and a blinding move saw Ronald Brouwer finding the target in the second minute. The goal only steeled the Koreans' resolve to go all out and despite many a baulked move, they earned their first penalty corner in the 30th minute, and Hyun Woo Nam's drag flick zipped in like a bullet to level the score before half time. In the second half, Korea used the flanks and midfield to mount sallies at the Dutch goal to put tremendous pressure and their efforts bore fruit when captain Jong Ho Seo slotted into an empty goal a cross from Hyo Sik You. After Korea took a 2-1 lead, the Netherlands, guided by their captain Teun de Nooijer, time and again attacked the Korean goal. Thrice the on-field umpire whistled for penalty corners, but the Koreans asked for referrals, and on all the three occasions, the Korean appeal was upheld. But still, luck did not hold them, and they finished third in the group, to fight for fifth-sixth positions.

The Tribune

Dutch lose but win semis spot

Errol D'Cruz

NEW DELHI: How often do you see a losing team celebrate? The Dutch did just that on Tuesday as South Korea hung their heads even after winning 2-1 at the Major Dhyan Chand National stadium.

The intricacies of points and goal difference held the Dutch in good stead. Had Korea won 3-1 it would have been a different story. The Pool A result now pits the Dutch against Australia in the semifinals on Thursday while Germany, who beat New Zealand 5-2 in the earlier match, finish top of the pool and play England in the other semifinal.

In a match that was dramatic from start to finish, the Netherlands shot ahead after just 22 seconds - probably the fastest World Cup goal - and it involved the talismanic veteran Teun de Nooijer, who found Ronald Brouwer ideally placed to score.

The Koreans, needing to win by two goals or more to qualify, equalized from a penalty corner in the 31st minute through Nam Hyun-Woon.

With honours even, the Netherlands were reluctant to sit back and defend a favourable scoreline and a natural tendency to attack caught them out in the 45th minute. A characteristic counterattack found Sung Hoon-Yoon getting the better of advancing goalkeeper Guus Vogels to set up Seo Jung-Ho, who dived to deflect into an open goal.

Mindful that the Koreans have been their bugbear in recent times, alarm bells rang in the Dutch camp. Sustained Dutch pressure produced chances, many emanating from the outstanding De Nooijer, but Geert-Jan Derikx failed to score in front of an open goal in yet another fluid offensive.

Taeke Taekema, the six-goal Dutch penalty corner drag-flick expert, was denied a penalty corner opportunity by a referral. The referral system again came into focus when it led to a reversal of a penalty stroke after Brouwer was upended by goalkeeper Lee Myong-Ho with less than five minutes to go.

The Times of India

‘Disappointing the way it ended’


New Delhi, March 9: “Congratulations to the Netherlands and I have nothing else to say,” remarked Korea coach Jae Hyeon Kim as he sat stunned after the 2-1 win over the Dutch in their last Pool A encounter of the Hockey World Cup here on Tuesday.

The Koreans may have got the better of the Oranje, but in the end, it was a bridge too far for the Asian champions after losing to New Zealand earlier in the league. Needing to win by a two-goal margin and down a goal inside the first minute, Korea put up a superb show, only to be denied in the end.

Said skipper Jong Ho Seo, “I feel very sorry for myself and my teammates. We played very well and had a great opportunity in the end when we earned a penalty corner. It is disappointing the way it ended.”

Holland were saved by the skin of their teeth and will now face title favourites Australia in the semifinals.

Said skipper Teun De Nooijer, “The result was pretty important today. It was a pity to lose, but we are where we wanted to be. And that is all that matters at this stage.”

The Dutch, considered favourites before the quadrennial event, haven’t had a perfect slate so far. They were held 2-2 by defending champions Germany in their previous encounter and now have a loss against Korea. Are these warning signals?

“The league matches are over, and there is no way they can influence what we do in the semifinals.

“We are going to chalk out a strategy against Australia tonight, and that is our entire focus,” said Dutch coach Michel van den Heuvel.

“We have a loss and a defeat, but we have learnt a lot from the experience. It is very important to balance the game after playing a good first half. And that is one thing we need to tighten.

“Despite all that, we have enough in our ranks to make life difficult for Australia,” he said.

The Asian Age

Win is not enough for Korea


New Zealand’s Steve Edwards (left) tries to get past Germany’s Martin Huner, in New Delhi, on Tuesday. (AP)

New Delhi: Asian champions South Korea’s desperate search for one more goal in the last few minutes remained elusive as the Netherlands made the semi-finals of Hero Honda World Cup despite a 1-2 defeat at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium on Tuesday.

In the semi-finals to be played on Thursday, holders Germany will take on England, followed by the clash between former champions Australia and the Netherlands.

Leading 2-1 by the 46th minute, the Koreans launched an all out attack to score one more goal that would have taken them to the last four on the basis of better goal difference. But the Dutch held on grimly and qualified for the penultimate round from Pool A behind Germany.

In the day’s first match, Germany ended New Zealand’s chances with a 5-2 win. They finished with 11 points, followed by the Netherlands, who collected 10 points. The Koreans also have 10 points but they fell behind the Dutch on goal difference.

In the day’s last match, Argentina defeated Canada 4-2 to set up a clash with hosts India for the seventh/eighth position match to be played on Friday. While Lucas Martin Vila, Enrique Matias Paredes, Nicolas Mario Almada and Tomas Argento Innocente scored for the winners, Scott Tupper and David Jameson got the goals for the Canadians.

South Korea had always done well against the Netherlands and Tuesday was no exception. While the Dutch made a rousing start by going into the lead in the first minute through a goal by Ronald Brouwer, the Koreans hit back with a vengeance to level the score in the 30th minute and then get the match-winner in the second half.

While deadly drag-flicker Hyun Woo Nam scored the first goal for the Koreans from a penalty corner, skipper Ho Jong Seo struck the second off a pass from Hoon Sung Yoon. South Korea were quick on counter attacks and swift in their approach. At times they played at such a speed that even the normally fast paced Netherlands found it difficult to keep up with their Asian rivals. And once they shot into lead, the Koreans initiated a series of attacks that the Netherlands were lucky to survive.

Semi-final line-up (both matches on Thursday): Germany vs England; Australia vs the Netherlands.

Classification matches: For 5th/6th positions: South Korea vs Spain (Friday); For 7th/8th positions: India vs Argentina (Friday); For 9th/10th positions: New Zealand vs South Africa (Friday); For 11th/12th positions: Canada vs Pakistan (Thursday). There is no match on Wednesday.

The Telegraph, India

Korea win but Netherlands join semis on goals tally

NEW DELHI: A plucky South Korea fought back superbly from a goal deficit to stun three-time champions the Netherlands 2-1 in an action-packed match but that was not enough to qualify for the semi-finals of the hockey World Cup on Tuesday.

In a fast-paced edge-of-the-seat Pool A thriller between fourth and fifth ranked sides in the world, the South Koreans struck back after the Dutch had taken a lightning fast lead in the first minute through Ronald Brouwer.

The lower-ranked South Koreans took control of the game from towards the end of the first half to inflict the Dutch their first defeat in the World Cup in front of a sparse crowd under floodlights at Major Dhyan Chand Stadium.

The South Koreans, who had beaten the Dutch in their last three international matches, twice in 2009 and once in 2008 - all in the Champions Trophy - fought back with goals from Hyun Woo Nam Hyun Woo Nam (31st) and Jong Ho Seo (45th).

Despite the loss, the Netherlands pipped South Korea to the post for a semi-final berth on goal difference though they have the same points - 10 each from three wins, one draw and one loss.

The Dutch, who finished second in Pool A behind Germany (11 points) had a goal difference of 10 (15 scored and five conceded) while the South Koreans, who finished third in the pool, had eight (16 scored and eight conceded).

The Netherlands will now play Pool B toppers Australia while Germany will take on Pool B runners-up England in the semi-finals on March 11.

In the classification matches, South Korea will take on Pool B third-place finishers Spain on March 12 for fifth-sixth place.

The Dutch had also their chances to equalise but all of them went abbegging. Five minutes from the final hooter, Dutch defender Geert Jan Derikx missed a golden opportunity to equalise as he failed to connect a cross from the right with an open goal in front.

Next minute, the field umpire awarded a penalty stroke to the Dutch but after an appeal by the South Koreans, the video umpire ruled against the decision.

Adding drama to the climactic end of the match, the umpire awarded a penalty corner in favour of the Netherlands but after referral, the video umpire ruled it otherwise and Dutch chance for an attempt to equalise did not materialise.

The Dutch went into the lead within 30 seconds into the match with Ronald Brouwer scoring after a fine exchange of passes between his captain Teun de Nooijer and Jeroen Hertzberger inside the South Korean 25 yard.

After the lightning fast goal, the ball went up and down the field with both teams looking for a fast counter-attack, but could not get an opening.

The nimble-footed South Koreans equalised in the 31st minute through Hyun Woo Nam whose powerful drag flick beat the veteran Dutch goalkeeper Guus Vogel all ends up.

The Netherlands pushed more men upfront which worked well for the nippy South Koreans who made quick counter attacks.

First minute after the breather, Hye Sungh Hyun's push in front of the Dutch goal was brilliantly saved by goal-keeper Guus Vogels.

In the 42nd minute, Eun Seong Hong got a hit unchallenged inside the Dutch striking circle but he mistimed it and the feeble shot did not trouble the goalkeeper.

Three minutes later, the Koreans broke free from a counter attack and captain Jong Ho Seo scored after Sung Hoon Yoon beat the goalkkeeper with his pass inside the Dutch striking circle.

In the 58th minute, Hyok Sik You's fierce reverse stick shot after a quick interchange of passes hit the Dutch goalkeeper on the chest and went out.

The Times of India

World Cup heartbreak for Korea as Dutch move up

NEW DELHI: Asian champions South Korea defeated the Netherlands 2-1 in the men’s field hockey World Cup on Wednesday, but still lost out on a semi-final spot to the Dutch.

Both teams finished the league with 10 points each, one behind group A leaders Germany, but the Dutch ousted the Koreans on a superior goal difference of plus-10 against their rivals’ plus-eight.

South Korea, semifinalists at the last two World Cups, needed to beat the Dutch by a two-goal margin that would have equalled the goal difference and dislodged the Netherlands on a head-to-head result.

In Thursday’s (tomorrow) semifinals, defending champions Germany will clash with England, while the Dutch will take on group B leaders Australia.

The Koreans, Asia’s lone survivors after India and Pakistan crashed out early, fought back after Ronald Brouwer gave the Dutch an early lead in the 25th second of the match.

Both sides were locked 1-1 at half-time as Nam Hyun-Woo equalised for the Koreans with his team’s first penalty corner three minutes before the interval.

The Koreans, who had won their last three meetings against the Netherlands, took the lead 10 minutes after resumption through a superb flick by captain Seo Jong-Ho.

The Dutch pressed for the equaliser, but found a penalty stroke awarded to them four minutes from the end disallowed by the video umpire.

The Dutch also earned a last-second penalty corner which Taeke Taekema, the top-scorer in the tournament so far with six goals, shot wide.

The Koreans, who finished third in the group, will clash with Spain on Friday to determine the fifth position in the tournament.

“The result was not to our liking, but we are still happy to be in the semifinal,” said Dutch coach Michel van den Heuvel.

Germany, seeking a hat-trick of World Cup titles to add to the Beijing Olympic gold medal, outclassed New Zealand 5-2 earlier in the day.

The Germans led 2-0 at half-time through goals by Christophe Menke in the 15th minute and Florian Fuchs in the 28th.

Philip Witte made it 3-0 soon after the interval, but New Zealand hit back with two goals in four minutes from Shea McAleese and Nicholas Wilson.

The powerful Germans sealed their supremacy when Moritz Furste and Matthias Witthaus scored twice in as many minutes, both goals coming from rebounds off penalty corners.

“It does not matter whom we play in the semifinals and I don’t care,” said German coach Markus Weise ahead of the Netherlands-Korea match.

Argentina defeated Canada 4-2 in Tuesday’s last match to finish fourth in the group.

The News International

Argentina beat Canada 4-2, to play India for seventh place

NEW DELHI: Lowest ranked Argentina overcame a late fightback from Canada to score a 4-2 victory and set up a clash with India for seventh-place play-off in the hockey World Cup on Tuesday.

Lucas Martin Villa (29th minute), Matias Enrique Paredes (43rd), Mario Nicolas Almada (56th) and Tomas Innocente Argento (70th) scored for the Argentines to finish fourth in Pool A with six points - from two wins - and same as New Zealand.

Scott Tupper and David Jamesson scored for Canada in the 60th and 65th minutes respectively.

Argentina will play hosts India, who finished fourth in Pool B with four points, on Friday 12 for the seventh place.

Argentina had a better goal difference of minus three (eight scored and 11 conceded) than New Zealand's minus four (eight scored and 12 conceded).

New Zealand play South Africa, who finished fifth in Pool B for the ninth-tenth place on March 12 while who will finish with wooden spoon will be decided on March 11 bwteen Pakistan and Canada, bootom finishers in Pool B and A respectively.

Argentina, ranked 14th in the FIH chart, lowest among the 12 teams participating in the World Cup, dominated and controlled the match throughout but conceded two late goals before they also scored in the last minute to win the match.

Canada mostly defended from their own half and rarely made dangerous moves inside the Argentine striking circle, except for the last 10 minutes.

Argentina, who put pressure on Canada defence from the very beginning, got five penalty corners from which they converted one while Canada earned just one penalty corner and they scored from it.

The Times of India

Argentina down spirited Canada

Vaibhav Sharma

Good teams score when there is a chance to, and better ones score whenever there is a need to. Argentina, on the day, were the better team as they scored almost at the final whistle, to down a spirited Canada 4-2 in their FIH Hero Honda World Cup match at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here tonight.

Argentina opened the scoring when Lucas Vila scored in the 29th minute off a penalty corner. Vila took the rebound and hammered the ball into the bottom left corner of the Canadian goal. The rest of the first half was fought for on an even keel and the teams went in for the breather with Argentina in the lead.

The second half saw Argentina further their lead when Matias Paredes and Mario Almada scored in the 43rd and 56th minutes, respectively. It was looking like the South Americans would run away with the game, but just then Canada struck back with two goals from Scott Tupper and David Jameson.

The game was getting tense and for once Canada started making forward runs. The closing stages were filled with some nail-biting moments as both teams felt the heat of the running clock.

But just then Tomas Argento Innocente scored in the dying seconds to settle the final score at 2-4 and with it some Argentine nerves. Argentina now play India in the final 7-8. New Zealand play South Africa for 9th place and Canada take on Pakistan for the Final 11-12 position.

The Tribune

Argentina pile on Canadian agony

Argentina overcome Canada in the last league match to set up their next clash with hosts India.

By Prateek Srivastava

Argentina defeated Canada 4-2 in the last pool A match at the National Stadium in New Delhi on Tuesday.

With this win, they finished fourth in their group on the basis of goal difference and will now face hosts India on Friday for the seventh and eighth spot while Canada finished last and will take on Pakistan in Thursday’s wooden spoon decider.

Lucas Martin Vila, Matias Enrique Paredes, Mario Nicolas Almada and Tomas Innocente Argento scored for the South Americans while Scott Tupper and David Jameson pulled two back for the Canadians.

Argentina, who surprised the Kiwis in their previous match with a 1-0 win, was clearly the better team in the first half, winning one penalty corner after another. However it was their fifth attempt that put them ahead of the Canadians. Vila was on target in the 29th minute after the ball ricocheted off the stick of a defender. Canada on the other hand were pathetic and not once did they test the Argentine goalie.

After the break, nothing changed except an increase in certainty that Argentina would not lose the match at all events. Paredes doubled the lead in 43rd minute as he pounced on an accurate pass from Lucas Martin Rey from the right wing, and lobbed it over Canadian goalie Dave Carter. Almada scored the third goal in the 56th minute but the bulk of the work was done by Argento, who provided the pass after dodging a couple of defenders from the right.

Canada, against the run of play, pulled one back in the 60th minute as Tupper converted the penalty corner successfully. Jameson further reduced the lead six minutes later after the so far un-tested Argentine goalie Juan Tomas Espinosa failed to read the line of an aerial shot off him.

Argento scored in the dying moments to ensure that Canada finished the league stages without a single point.

Lombi happy with team's show in World Cup

NEW DELHI: Delighted with his low ranked side's impressive showing in the hockey World Cup, Argentina coach Pablo Lombi said the South American team's improved performance in the mega event would open up doors of opportunities for the development of the game back home.

The 14th ranked Argentina on Tuesday defeated Canada 4-2 in their last group match to finish fourth in Pool A above New Zealand and qualify for the seventh-eighth play-off match against India on Friday.

"For Argentina the eighth place finish is very important. It would create lot of possibilities to play more international matches. The government would also invest money in the sport looking at our performance," Lombi said.

"The main problem for us is that we don't play lots of matches, but we now have great opportunity," he said.

With India awaiting them next, Lombi said his side won't be under pressure when they take on the home team in the packed stadium on Friday.

"It would be an exciting final game for us but we won't be under pressure. It would be a great experience to play under such a huge crowd. We are not used to such scenarios," he said.

The Times of India

England face Germany in hockey World Cup semi-final

By Cathy Harris

The form of Ashley Jackson will be crucial against the reigning Olympic and world champions (Danish Ismail)

England will take on Germany, the reigning Olympic and world champions, in the semi-finals of the World Cup at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Thursday. The play-off is a repeat of last summer’s European championship final when England triumphed 5-3 to earn a famous victory.

Germany have set their sights on completing a hat-trick of titles and remain on course after beating New Zealand 5-2 to go through to their eleventh consecutive World Cup semi-final. A remarkable record.

The Netherlands went through on goal difference ahead of Korea despite losing 2-1 to the Asian side in a tense final pool match today. They meet the pre-tournament favourites, Australia, in the second semi-final.

Following England’s lethargic performance in their 2-1 defeat at the hands of Spain, Ashley Jackson, 22, said he didn’t mind taking on Germany adding:”As long as it doesn’t go to extra-time! We’ve done it before and we know we can do it again but we’ll have to play with much more intensity”.

If England are to realise their dreams and qualify for Saturday’s final, Jackson’s form is crucial. He has scored in every game in the tournament and his inventive skills in the midfield have helped an injury-ravaged side progress to the last four.

Germany have eight players from their Olympic side and only three from the side which beat Australia in the World Cup final in Monchengladbach four years ago.

England know the Germans, as always, will be disciplined, patient and potentially lethal at penalty corners. Their form here has not been particularly impressive but German teams are famous for always producing their best when it is most needed.

Jason Lee, England’s head coach, said:”This team continually surprises people but we still have to play better. We’re very inexperienced up front following the loss of Matt Daly and Simon Mantell and we’re making small errors in our shape which puts pressure on the defence.

“The newcomers simply have got the tactical experience of those they’ve replaced. I don’t think we should read too much in to the extra day’s rest we’ve had but it does help those players with small niggles and having an extra twenty four hours to prepare.”

Goalkeeper James Fair, one of the heroes of the European championship-winning team, was more upbeat saying:”Our improved world ranking means we have played against the best teams in the world more often – and beaten them. I’m confident we can go all the way.

The Times

England to face Germany in World Cup semi-final

TV Coverage: Live coverage of England's semi-final at 1235 GMT on Thursday, 11 March on the BBC Red Button

England must defeat Olympic champions Germany to reach the men's Hockey World Cup final after South Korea beat the Netherlands in their final group game.

Korea's 2-1 win means Germany win Pool A, with the Dutch second. The Germans face England - second in Pool B, behind Australia - at 1235 GMT on Thursday.

The winners will play either Australia or the Netherlands in Saturday's final.

England have reached the last four of the World Cup for the first time since they finished as runners up in 1986.

"We believed we could reach this stage," England captain Barry Middleton told BBC Sport from the tournament's host city of Delhi, India on Tuesday as the squad enjoyed the first of two rest days.

"We said it for weeks building up to the tournament and nobody really believed us, but we as a group felt we could do it.

"We have two days off and that is going to help massively. In a couple of games we've looked and felt a bit tired afterwards. Two days off will give us a bit of an edge."

That tiredness showed on Monday as a disappointing 2-0 defeat by Spain in their final group game ruined England's unbeaten World Cup run, having won all four of their previous matches.

However, reaching the last four of the competition for the first time in 24 years continues a resurgence evident since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Great Britain finished fifth at the Games, but England, from whom the majority of the British team are drawn, have since gone on to win the 2009 European Championships.

They defeated Thursday's opponents Germany - who are also the reigning world champions - in the final of that tournament, winning 5-3 having trailed 3-2.

The team's performance director, David Faulkner, played in the 1986 World Cup final (which England lost 2-1 to Australia), and won gold as part of the British team who defeated West Germany at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

He believes England are now ready to make regular appearances in the closing stages of major international events.

"If you look at nations readily medalling - not just in hockey, but in all Olympic sports - putting yourself in a position to consistently compete for medals is the most important thing," Faulkner told BBC Sport.

"This team is moving into a phase where they've got to learn how to deal with semi-finals - and finals, hopefully. And that's a different skill altogether.

"It's remembering to keep doing your job in the team. Maybe keep a few moves up your sleeve for specialist areas like short corners but it's your pattern of play and philosophy that has got you this far, so don't change it."

BBC Sport

Kookaburras v Netherlands World Cup semi final preview

The Kookaburras will face old rivals the Netherlands in the semi final of the 2010 World Cup on Thursday 11 March.

Germany will play England in the other semi final, with the winners of both matches facing each other in the World Cup final on Saturday 13 March.

The Kookaburras have played the Netherlands on 116 occasions, winning 55, drawing 28 and losing 33.

The last match between the two teams was at the 2009 Champions Trophy in Melbourne, where the Kookaburras prevailed 7-2. The Kookaburras went on to win the final of the Champions Trophy against Germany.

Australia and the Netherlands have met 8 times during the World Cup, with both teams winning four matches each.

Of these 8 matches, four have been semi finals, with the last being played in 2002 where the Kookaburras won. However this has been the only semi final victory against the Netherlands for Australia, going down in their three previous semi final matches in 1998, 1994 and 1978.

The Netherlands began their 2010 World Cup campaign well, only conceding one goal in their opening three matches which they won against Argentina, New Zealand and Canada.

However they have been winless in their last two matches, drawing 2-2 with Germany and then going down 2-1 against Korea.

Overall they have scored 15 goals to date at the tournament and have only conceded four.

The Kookaburras have had the opposite journey to the semi finals, losing their first game to England 3-2. However since then they have played consistent hockey, winning their next four matches including a 12-0 victory over South Africa, the biggest World Cup victory on record.

Overall they have scored 23 goals and conceded only six.

Head to head against Netherlands

Played – 116
Australia wins – 55
Draws – 28
Netherlands wins – 33

World Cup record – Australia v Netherlands







Semi final

Australia v Netherlands



Semi final

Australia v Netherlands



Semi final

Australia v Netherlands



1st Round Pool A

Australia v Netherlands



Final 3-4

Australia v Netherlands



1st Round Pool B

Australia v Netherlands



Semi final

Australia v Netherlands



1st Round Pool B

Australia v Netherlands


Hockey Australia media release

Kookaburras set to face Dutch in semi-finals of hockey World Cup

Australia are set to play the Netherlands in the semi-finals of the hockey World Cup after the Dutch edged through at the expense of South Korea on goal difference.

The Kookaburras, who secured their semi-final passage earlier in the week, will be hoping for a repeat of their 6-2 bronze medal play-off win over the Dutch at the Beijing Olympics.

Asian champions South Korea needed to beat the Dutch by two clear goals to advance but could only manage a 2-1 victory and finished third in the group.

The two sides finished equal on 10 points, one behind group A leaders Germany, but the Dutch had the better defensive record over league play.

In the other semi-final, defending champions Germany will clash with England.

Ronald Brouwer gave the Dutch an early lead in just the 25th second of the match before Nam Hyun-Woo equalised with his team's first penalty corner three minutes before the interval.

The Koreans took the lead 10 minutes after the resumption through a superb flick by captain Seo Jong-Ho and pushed hard for the third goal that would have taken them through but it was the Dutch who finished the stronger.

Meanwhile, Germany, seeking a hat-trick of World Cup titles to add to their Beijing Olympic gold medal, outclassed New Zealand 5-2.

The Germans led 2-0 at half-time through goals by Christophe Menke in the 15th minute and Florian Fuchs in the 28th.

Philip Witte made it 3-0 soon after the interval, but New Zealand hit back with two goals in four minutes from Shea McAleese and Nicholas Wilson.

The powerful Germans sealed their supremacy when Moritz Furste and Matthias Witthaus scored twice in as many minutes, both goals coming from rebounds off penalty corners.

Fox Sports

Shoot at site: Holland’s secret weapon

Harpreet Kaur Lamba

South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje sparked a controversy when he used an earpiece during the 1999 World Cup to take instructions from coach Bob Woolmer during his side’s victory over India at Hove.

Though the International Cricket Council has shunned the idea of using electronic devices to as  an aid for coaches and managers, the world of hockey has thrived on it for years.

Video analysts have been an integral part of the game, giving on-the-run feedback to coaches who use the data to plot their course in a match. One such man is Holland video analyst Lars Gillhaus, who has been involved with the Dutch federation for the last ten years.

Together with famed coach Marc Lammers, Gillhaus is credited with many innovations in hockey. He first popularised the use of video masks — specialised glasses that worked as on-field cameras. He followed it with the use of ear microphones to communicate with players during penalty-corners drills, but was denied permission by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) to do so.

The ongoing Hockey World Cup also has coaches relying on the feedback from the men behind the scenes. But with the world body not too forthcoming on the idea, where does technology limit itself?

Explained Gillhaus, “We are not the only team who is doing it, the other teams have their laptops in the dug-out. We at least put it outside on a table. We have always tried to find new things, like the video mask that Dutch coach of the women’s team Marc Lammers invented in 2001 so he could look directly at the penalty-corner as it was taken.

“Later we came up with ear microphones to inform players just before taking a penalty-corner. For a time, people used signs from near the dugout, but the opponents figured out the signs very quickly and we had to think of a new sign every day.

“This (the earpiece) was more convenient, but the FIH stopped us. They were afraid that Asian coaches would command their players the whole time through those earphones. I didn’t agree. I still think the time is right to do so, but we are depending on the FIH.”

On the job for 10 years, Gillhaus believes there is no escaping the technology if teams are to do well on the world stage.

“Video analysis is an integral part of hockey, but it is not instant coffee. We put in endless hours to analyse the data — of our own team and the opponents — but it requires a lot of work. I spend the entire day here, and then work almost the entire night preparing data for the team, and also individual players. “With a click of a button, you know what went wrong today, the number of chances missed, hits from the right or left. Anything and everything that one needs is packaged neatly,” said Gillhaus.

Though it is not possible to change the entire strategy, as it requires hours of analysis and inputs, one area that the teams exploit during the course of a match is penalty-corner conversions.

The high octane Holland-Germany match Pool A match at the Hockey World Cup here saw drag-flick specialist Taeke Taekema spent some crucial moments on the bench during the break, scanning the data sent by Gillhaus.

“Penalty-corners experts can benefit immediately from the data that we sent. Say in Sunday’s game, we sent data for Taekema. At times, we suggest that the right was a better area to score keeping in mind the oppositions’ strengths and weaknesses. The player goes through it and can take decisions there and then.”

Europeans teams are adept at this, but the Asians have been reluctant to depend on technology.

“India and Pakistan, I was told, were reluctant to use too much of video analysis, because they thought it could disturb their creativity. They did not want to think too much and wanted free-flowing hockey based on skills.

“Nowadays, I see a lot of Asian teams, including India, use it though I do not know how advanced their methods are. But one has to learn these things. It is essential. It only enhances your skills, when you know how to use them in a perfect manner,” he said.

The Asian Age

'Teams need constant development to keep up in modern game'

Uthra G Chaturvedi

Maurits Hendriks is a much-travelled man. He was an advisor to the short-lived but hugely successful Premier Hockey League in India, besides leading the Spanish men’s team to the 2003 Champions Challenge, the 2004 Champions Trophy, and the 2005 European Nations Cup, after starting his international career with an Olympic gold for the Dutch in 2000. He’s also been involved with coaching in Korea.

So when he says that a coach alone cannot do wonders for a team, one has to listen. “It is good that the Asian teams, especially from the subcontinent, are opening their doors to the rest of the world, to bring in European experience. Having said that, there can be no great change in a team or its performance unless the structure and administration of the game changes in a country,” he says when asked about the impact of foreign coaches across the world. At the same time, he adds, things have not really changed much here. “What we have to understand is that the whole dynamics of modern sports is constant development. There are so many developments happening all the time — the green card, for example, resulting in suspension, or penalising a defender for offence during penalty corners. It is important to keep pace with the developments, but that, unfortunately is not happening,” he told The Indian Express.

Results important

Hendriks also said that Brasa’s presence would be good for Indian hockey. “ Brasa was one of the club coaches in Spain when I was the national coach. He is very experienced and still very passionate about the game,” he said. “The life of a coach is very short: results tell the whole story. But I think one year is too short a time for anyone to make a difference to any team; but two years is long enough to at least start making a difference.”

The current technical director of the Dutch Olympic Committee, however, is not too involved with hockey anymore. “I am out of hockey, I have to look after about 52 sports federations in Holland now,” he says. He is also detached from the Spanish team. And to second that, he says he hasn’t seen the team play for a while now —- since the 2008 Olympics final, to be precise. “I am not in touch with any of them since I left,” he says simply.

Watching the Spanish team win against England in the World Cup here — it was also England’s only defeat so far in the tournament — Hendriks was not a very happy man. “I am happy with the result but at the same time, I am disappointed. Spain still have the class to be in the top four and it is sad that they are out of reckoning for a medal. But honestly, I was not too impressed with England today; I expected a lot more,” he said.

On current form, he rates Australia as favourites for the World Cup. “They are playing at a different level,” he signs off.

Indian Express

Lammers: Asian style hockey not dead

Dutch Olympic gold-winning coach Marc Lammers believes the Asian style of hockey is not dead, but needs some changes.

By Anshul Baijal

The Asian sides have taken a major pounding at the 2010 hockey World Cup, with India fighting for a 7th-8th spot while Pakistan will play for 11th-12th position. Korea remains the only Asian nation to have any hope of reaching the semi-finals. But Marc Lammers, who guided the Netherlands women's hockey team to gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, believes the Asian style of hockey is not dying but it needs some modifications.

"Korea also play Asian style of hockey but they play to their strengths. The strength is their skill," he said.

"They will not only have to work on their skills, but also have to improve their tactics. Sometimes they play well, but they don't play as a unit. They have to learn to work together in small spaces," he added.

Lammers, who was at the National Stadium on Monday to watch the match between the hosts and South Africa, is impressed with the way India and Pakistan have performed at this year's World Cup, but believes they will have to put in a lot of hard work. "These teams are coming closer the Europeans. Very good young players are coming up now. It is very important for these countries to continue training," said Lammers.

Lammers also said that these teams need to play against big teams to get more exposure. "They need to play a lot more against the European teams. It will be a good for their game and will help the players to learn a lot of things," said the FIH Master Coach.

Lammers was also happy to see the way the Dutch are performing at the world championships and believes the current bunch has a lot of potential. "They did not play well in the last World Cup. They have the best goalkeeper in the world and have a very good drag-flicker. These things are very important in modern hockey," said the 40-year-old.

India, Pak lacked preparation for World Cup, says Abbas

Harpreet Kaur Lamba

Sohail Abbas couldn’t help but smile at the irony when a Pakistani journalist suggested that the drag-flicker’s poor form had led to Pakistan’s downfall in the 12th Hockey World Cup here.

A powerhouse of talent, Abbas has been the epitome of Pakistan’s famous victories in the past — his 300-plus goals being proof enough. But a below-par show at the World Cup here has put the veteran defender under the scanner.

“Mere paas Alladin ka chirag nahin hai,” Abbas said with a sarcastic smile. “The statistics are correct, I have only scored two goals in the five matches and I am not denying it.

“But I don’t miss penalty corners deliberately. Sometimes they go in and sometimes they don’t. I know that I always give my best on the pitch, the rest is not up to me,” he said.

For years, Abbas has been the fulcrum of the Pakistan team. The national selectors called the 32-year old out of retirement to bolster Pakistan’s chances at the World Cup, a move that did not pay off.

“Whatever I have achieved in this game is due to the grace of Allah. I have scored many goals which landed where I wanted them to.... but that wasn’t my doing. There was a higher power at work. In the same way, I have missed a few goals here that should have gone in. That was because Allah had not willed the ball to go in,” he said.

Pakistan began on a disastrous note going 1-4 down to India and the Green Shirts failed to arrest the slide. They will now play for the 11-12th position.

Said Abbas, “The problems are deep-rooted for both India and Pakistan. The Europeans play to a plan and come with amazing preparation. These teams play the same level of matches throughout the year. So when they step on the field for a World Cup game, it is nothing new for them.

“Here, it takes a player 15 minutes to come to terms that he is actually playing a World Cup game. The youngsters are in awe, as they have never played against such high-profile teams. That in my opinion is a huge difference,” said Abbas, who has been playing in the Dutch league for many years now.

“The Dutch league has been an eye-opener. I have learnt new techniques, training methods and even what to eat. We in Asia just go out and play on the pitch. But in Europe, you learn how much planning goes into the game.

“Of course, there is nothing like my own nation, Pakistan, so whatever I do, however much I earn, I will always belong to Pakistan. Whenever I am needed, I will come running for my country,” he said.

The Asian Age

India happy with outcome

By Anand Philar

India's final position is in the 7-8 bracket at the 12th men's Hockey World Cup. Ultimately, the fracas over a denied goal and consequent victory against South Africa last night did not impact India's standings in the pool, although Pakistan would have avoided playing for the 11-12 slots.

Yet again, the Indians suffered due to some shockingly poor supervision by the on-field umpires who brought disgrace to their fraternity and the sport by allowing a referral for a penalty corner by South Africa after India scored a goal on the counter-attack. The Indian goal was disallowed and the Proteas converted the penalty corner that was awarded following the referral!

It was akin to travelling back in time and the umpiring decisions were certainly unprecedented and ridiculous. At the end of it all, the FIH had egg on its face and more questions than answers on the referral system that needs to be refined.

Thus, the Indians came away with a draw instead of a win. Not that a victory would have made a huge difference to India's fortunes as in any case, they were out of the top six by the time they took the field against South Africa.

Coach Jose Brasa can justifiably feel relieved, if not happy, that he dragged the team out of the morass and gave it some respectability after the nonsensical events in the past couple of years as also in the recent weeks, all but sounded the death knell for the game in India.

A seventh or eighth place finish, on the face of it, might appear an 'improvement' as compared to the ninth, 10th and 11th in the three previous editions, but the fact remains that Indian hockey has some way to go to even get among the top six. It is a task that is not beyond it provided of course the Augean stables are cleaned. Only, at the moment, there is no Hercules in sight.

On the pitch, it is clearly evident that the majority of the current Indian players have outlived their utility. Even a Charlesworth or an Oltmans or a Hendricks will not be any more successful than Brasa with the Indian side in its present state. Rather, India would be better off with a foreign coach attached to a sub-junior bunch that he can develop over a four or eight-year period. This has been said before, but bears repetition.

Against South Africa, for instance, the senior players did not show much of leadership and appeared far too anxious. Haste led to mistakes and barring a few flashes of brilliance, the team played no better than it had in the previous games. The umpiring blunders added to India's misery.

It was imperative that India at least qualified for the Champions Trophy as it would have provided an opportunity to measure themselves against the best in world hockey. As Brasa rightly pointed out, it is of more relevance to constantly play against the top teams rather than undertaking inconsequential tours to say Canada or Argentina or Malaysia. Rather, Europe is the place to play.

But then, Indian hockey administrators are not known for such meticulous planning and vision. There is a lot of hard work ahead for Indian hockey and of more importance is to be patient, for success cannot be achieved overnight. It is debatable whether country's administrators are willing for the long haul, for the journey has only just begun.

Malaysian Hockey blogspot

Back to basics for Indian hockey team

C Rajshekhar Rao

New Delhi: Chief coach Jose Brasa does not have the luxury of looking at other options when it comes to preparing for the two big hockey championships — Commonwealth Games and Asian Games — that India will figure in this year.

Though the Spaniard has been dismissive of the Commonwealth Games in the past, doing well in the Asian Games has been his main aim. The intervening period of around eight months would seem sufficient to develop a team vis-a-vis strategising, but Brasa has also to deal with working on the basics.

Teaching a defender how to tackle neatly and develop solidity in penalty-corners or a forward how to make the most of opportunities are ideally better left for those who coach players to bring them to this level. A national coach should be working out how to deliver the knockout punches against different teams.

“Yes, there are some areas of concern, including our defence. But these players are talented and have been improving,” says Brasa in support of players, but hastens to add that he presumes these are the best players in the country.

That the Indian players have a lot to learn has been evident with the display in the FIH Hero Honda World Cup here, where they are fighting for the seventh and eighth place, and it is not only about the results. Though one win, a draw and a couple of close matches may not seem good enough for a country that has won eight Olympic gold medals in the past, it is high time we reconciled to harsher realities.

In the modern era, we are talking of the astro turf and the past few decades here, India have been left playing catch quite literally and keeping on blaming the faster game serves no purpose. The top teams are much faster in the field, which means that Indians have to either match them or outplay them with brilliant use of flair and strategy.

Pakistan’s ace drag-flicker Sohail Abbas is the first to admit that sub-continental teams now need to learn from others and advocates a foreign coach for his own national team. “We still need to stick to our style of play but now need a European or Australian coach to show us how to use our own strong points,” he says.

There is also the matter of consistency and taking on more than one role. If Sandeep Singh is our ace drag-clicker, he also has the role of a defender which he has to don with more confidence. If Prabhjot Singh is one of the better forwards, he should be looking to grab more opportunities. If Dhananjay Mahadik has done well in defence as well as in supplementing others’ efforts, he has to do it in almost every match.

But is that a possibility? When your players struggle to trap the ball, fail to clear the ball in the ‘D’ and are unable to convert chances upfront, there is not much the coach can do. To give Brasa his due, the team’s approach has been refreshingly different as players have been comfortable in swapping roles and managing man-to-man marking.

They can beat a team like Pakistan thus, but to do it against top-notch teams will never be easy. The Asian Games may not be that difficult a test even taking account our failure to finish on the medals podium last time, but that would be just the beginning of the road to recovery.


India have to learn the art of winning

Alok Sinha

NEW DELHI: The group stage is over, India are in line to finish seventh and there is little excitement about that. Hockey has come home after years and that surely has got something to do about this despondency.

Well, fans are fans and they were probably hoping for a miracle but even the critics are itching to dip their pens in vitriol. Is it fair to pan this Indian hockey team? Was the team really good enough to have made the top six?

Well, the reality is they are not as good as the top European teams. They can match them at times, even play with more flair, but the Indians have yet to learn the art of winning games. They still have to learn some nuances of modern hockey, which is constantly changing with new rules and interpretations.

The expectations arose after the Pakistan game. The Indians moved like a team and like a dream. The obvious edge to the rivalry added to the excitement. After that it was a ride through a difficult, at times uncharted, terrain. In almost all the other games, India woke up late. First, Australia punctured their bubble of enthusiasm with a ruthless display and after that the team was always playing catch-up with ground reality.

They were below par against Spain and were then surprised by England's clinical, workmanlike approach. From there, their story of the World Cup became a story of fightbacks. They fought with their backs to the wall against England and almost held them. And then, they managed to hold South Africa in a game which was theirs. But that was a very valuable draw - which brings us to the key point - Has it gone so wrong for India?

Not really. The No. 12 team has already made the top-eight grade. India has not done that since Sydney 1994 when they finished fifth. Sure, they had the home advantage and fans packed the stands in support. But the resolve to move up was there. The team has rarely shown the mental strength that it has here. And that can make a lot of difference in the future.

Coach Jose Brasa was in fact happy about the fighting spirit when he said on Monday night: "We have conceded early goals but not late goals, which was a problem in the past."

Beyond this, many problems do exist. The biggest disappointment for India has been the defensive errors and their inability to score through penalty corners. Packed with three drag flickers, India were hoping to surprise the rivals. They were forced to look for field goals midway through the match against England. A lot of work needs to be done on the defence, more so with the game becoming faster due to the new self-pass rule. You blink and you are dead.

The midfielders, led by playmaker Sardar Singh, one of the very few world class players in the team, have not fared badly, though one wishes they could learn to attack through the middle more often. They kept running into walls and were forced to open up flanks. The forwards have been good only in patches. But more on the players later as India still have a match to go.

And yes, a word on the controversy over TV referrals during the match against South Africa: It's a grey area and has to be sorted out. Brasa decided not to attack the technical officials on this. "I don't think the Indian team has been victimized. Nothing has been done on purpose. Our boys are nice players... nobody would have anything against them."

Surely, nobody would but what Brasa did not say was that his players need to be meaner and smarter on the field. Nice guys don't always win.

The Times of India

Raise fitness levels or perish: Hockey experts to India

NEW DELHI: After India failed yet again to finish in the top bracket at the Hockey World Cup, the experts have a simple panacea: Raise fitness levels or perish. They feel only a fit side that can play total hockey can survive internationally.

Master coaches Horst Wein, Roelant Oltmans and March Lammers and Olympian Ashok Kumar agree that the eight-time Olympic champions have a long way to go before they can match top teams Australia, Germany and the Netherlands.

They all accept that Indians are skillful, but to play on synthetic turf, they feel, the players need more than skills to succeed.

India's chief hockey coach Jose Brasa, who led the Spanish women's team to gold in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, has conceded that India are not in the league of of world's top teams yet.

"We are not yet ready to take on world's top teams. For us to rise to their level, we need to raise our fitness and then play them frequently," said Brasa.

Since taking over as chief coach last May, Brasa has tried to make the team adapt to the European style of play and to do that, Dutch drag-flicker Taeke Taekema feels, fitness is the key as only a fit team can play total hockey.

"Today European hockey means total hockey, there is no positional play there. A defender should also be able to go up and score goals. That is how the European teams have been confusing the Asians," said the Dutch star.

"If fitness levels are high, it is easy to swap positions quickly. When we play India or Pakistan, we know their positions and it is easy for us," he said.

Dutch legend Oltmans says a European coach with an Indian to assist can work wonders for Indian hockey.

"Brasa is a good coach and he should stay here till the next Olympics with a competent Indian assisting him. Brasa is well aware of how things work in the European structure and given time, I am confident that he can surely improve the fitness levels of his players," he said.

German hockey and football guru Wein wants India to concentrate on a system that develops the youngsters mentally at the grassroots level.

"Modern hockey is no more a physical game. Today teams have different plans for a given situation. Hockey is now a thinking game," he added.

Ashok, son of legendary Dhyan Chand, thinks that Indian players should practice 8-10 hours daily on synthetic turf to improve their fitness.

"We need more synthetic turfs in the country, if Indian hockey has to develop to be truly international," he said.

The Times of India

Vijender lauds hockey team

The Indian hockey team has found support in Olympic and World Championship bronze medalist boxer Vijender Singh.

Although his training schedule for the Commonwealth Championships leave him with little time for anything else, the world number one middle weight boxer has been following the hockey team's World Cup campaign on television.

"Though I have not been able to go to the stadium, I have been watching the matches on TV an it was fun. We must support the team when it is going through a tough time. No athlete plays to lose and we should respect the effort they put in," the 24-year-old said.

The Indian hockey team finished fourth in its group after winning one, drawing one and losing three matches.

The team will take on Argentina in a seventh-eighth place play off tomorrow.

"Only an athlete knows what he goes through while training. We should appreciate that," said Vijender.

"Our defence should have been stable"

In an exclusive interview, Pakistan’s most capped hockey star, Waseem Ahmed talks to about his team’s failure at the World Cup.

By Rajarshi Gupta

After 324 matches for a mercurial and talented Pakistani side, Waseem Ahmed has little to prove. However, there was not much his team could do to justify his place as perhaps the most consistent mid-fielder in the world.

India's arch-rivals, who finished last in Pool B in the 12th Hockey World Cup, presented a sorry sight to the state of the game in the sub-continent.

Ahmed believes the defence did not do their bit in negating rampant charges by the opposition: "We ended up conceding far too many goals without scoring many. Our defence should have been far more stable than it was.

The forward line did not attack enough and that added pressure on the mid-field and defence."

Ahmed, who had come out of retirement four years back to help his struggling national side would have been pained to see them making so many errors on the field and he did not mince words after the loss to Australia in their last league game.

"We could not change our game when we had to and kept repeating our mistakes. Though the team tried hard, it was all a case of too little too late."

The man, credited with changing the perception of the left-half from a mere defensive to aggressive, counter-attacking position, however, said he would leave India with happy memories.

"We did not do well but were treated very well by the people of India. They were well behaved and our stay here has been a pleasure."

Ahmed felt Indian hockey was on the road to improvement despite the side failing to make it to the last-four.

"The Indians have shown a lot of promise. They were very good against us in the first match and I thought that would have set the tone for the hosts through the tournament but overall, they played good hockey."

This might well have been Ahmed's last tour to India but he can bid farewell to the country knowing his legend will live on, years after he hung up his boots.

Pakistan deserved better: Charlesworth

NEW DELHI: Australia’s national coach Ric Charlesworth was surprised to see Pakistan adopting the European style of play against them in the last Pool B match of the Hockey World Cup here on Monday. “It’s a bit of a paradox. Pakistan was defending and counter-attacking just like the European teams do and we were defending,” said Charlesworth. “Pakistan were a better lot compared to others teams in the group, but were just unlucky.”

The News International

Coach rejects match-fixing rumours

By our correspondent

KARACHI: Adding insult to injury, Pakistan’s hockey players were on Tuesday accused of throwing away their big World Cup match against old rivals India in New Delhi on February 28. Media reports have suggested that at least two national team players were involved in match-fixing and deliberately under-performed in the match against India which Pakistan surprisingly lost 4-1. However, team officials rubbished such allegations, saying that Pakistan lost that match because they played badly in it. “It’s all rubbish,” Shahid Ali Khan, the Pakistan coach, told ‘The News’ from New Delhi on Tuesday. “There is no truth in reports that the boys threw away the match. It’s just that we played badly and lost,” added the former Olympian. Pakistan never really overcame the morale-shattering defeat against the Indians and went on to finish at the bottom of Pool B after suffering four defeats from five games.

The News International

Ex-captains call for Bajwa’s sacking over debacle

By Khalid Hussain

KARACHI: Asif Bajwa was on Tuesday singled out as the man responsible for Pakistan’s disastrous campaign in the ongoing Hockey World Cup.

Former Pakistan captains lambasted Bajwa, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary who also wore the hat of national team manager, saying the former Olympian should resign over the debacle in New Delhi.

Islahuddin Siddiqui, the former Pakistan captain, criticised Bajwa for running a “one-man show” and asked him to resign both as team manager and PHF secretary in the aftermath of Pakistan’s poor showing in the World Cup.

“Our team has flopped miserably in the World Cup and I believe that the main culprit for the debacle is Asif Bajwa,” Islah told ‘The News’ in an interview. “He has been running a one-man show in the PHF for the last two years. Even TV commentators at the World Cup have been talking about the roles he’s been playing as PHF secretary, team manager and at times our chief coach. And now that our team has given its worst performance in history I believe its time that he takes responsibility and resigns from all those positions,” stressed Islah.

Islah said that if Bajwa refuses to quit then the PHF president Qasim Zia should sack him.

“Personally, I think he should resign but if for some reason he decides against it then the PHF president should sack him,” said Islah. “Pakistan hockey has suffered a huge blow in New Delhi and if he (Qasim) wants to save it from total destruction he should remove Bajwa and form a better team to run the PHF.”

Pakistan lost four of their five Pool B matches in the World Cup to finish last in their group. They will now have to suffer the ignominy of playing against minnows Canada for the 11th position in the 12-nation spectacle.

Islah said that Qasim Zia gave Bajwa a free hand but the PHF secretary has failed to deliver. “Qasim has done his job by brining in the funds but Bajwa has failed miserably.”

He underlined the fact that Bajwa has been serving as the PHF secretary even before the 2008 Olympic Games but still failed to raise a strong team for the World Cup.

Islah urged President Asif Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to look into the national hockey affairs and help save the game.

“Its time that a thorough inquiry is conducted to find the reasons behind our poor performance,” he said.

“We have a major event like the Asian Games and need to move forward by taking some bold steps.”

He believes that one bold step would be to conduct a “major surgery” in the national team.

“Our team needs a major surgery because it’s apparent that it is not good enough for major events like the World Cup.”

Muhammad Saqlain, another former captain, echoed Islah’s comments and said that Bajwa and company are trying to shift the blame on the players.

“The team management and not players is responsible for failure in World Cup,” said Saqlain. “The PHF president should take appropriate steps otherwise our national game will become part of history.”

The News International

Hockey management has to review team’s performance and take decisions accordingly: Shahid

NEW DELHI: Pakistan hockey team coach, Shahid Ali Khan while terming hockey team’s performance in 12th world cup here as “the worst” said team management has to review the situation and take decisions accordingly on return.Talking to APP, Shahid Ali Khan said he also takes responsibility for team’s poor performance where senior players could not deliver.

The leaders of Pakistan hockey management also witnessed the performance of the players here where Pakistan lost four league matches out of five, finishing last in pool B.

To a question, Shahid said he was not expecting such a poor performance of players, particular the senior players. 

Pakistan will play for 11th position now in the tournament on March 11.

Associated Press of Pakistan

Our team played like a unit and we played well- Shahid Ali Khan

ISLAMABAD, Mar 9 (APP): Pakistan lost their last Pool B encounter to Australia 1-2 and finished as the bottom placed team in the group. Pakistan Coach Shahid Ali Khan called for the sacking of senior players following his team’s ruinous Hockey World Cup campaign.

“I think four-five players who were called back in the team for the World Cup should be sacked first.”

“Much was expected from them, but they let us down badly,” Shahid, without picking any name, was quoted in a statement saying at

Pakistan had recalled senior players like Sohail Abbas, Rehan Butt, Waseem Ahmad, Shakeel Abbasi and goalkeeper Salman Akbar for the World Cup.

The coach said,”Performance of ace drag-flicker Sohail has been very surprising in this tournament. We expected some 8-10 goals from him but he could score only two. People back home will not see whether he was unlucky to hit the bar. They will only see how much he scored.”

“We have many youngsters in our side, who are doing well and should be selected so that the side could be prepared for the Asian Games in China but seniors will have to be more consistent,” he said.

Despite the loss, the coach was happy with the performance of his team.

“Today, our team played like a unit and we played well. In fact we had more chances than the Australians but we couldn’t convert them,” he added.

Associated Press of Pakistan

NA committee to summon PHF, hockey team: Dasti

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Sport (NASCS) will grill the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) officials and members of the national team following the Pakistan’s poor performance at the FIH Hockey World Cup in New Delhi.

“We will summon PHF officials and players later this month to grill them on the World Cup debacle,” NASCS Chairman Jamshed Dasti told a local television channel on Tuesday.

“We are very disappointed with the team's performance at the World Cup and believe that some major changes should be made.”

Meanwhile, former Pakistan hockey captains criticised PHF Secretary Asif Bajwa, calling him the reason behind the team's lacklustre performance.

Pakistan ended their group matches with a loss against Australia on Monday.


Pakistan parliament to question hockey bosses, players

KARACHI: The National Assembly (NA) Sports Standing Committee will grill Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) officials and national players following the team's disastrous showing in the Hockey World Cup in New Delhi.

"We would summon the PHF officials and players later this month to grill them on the World Cup debacle," chairman NA Sports Standing Committee, Jamshed Dasti said.

"We are very disappointed on the team's performance in the World Cup and believe that some major changes should be made in the team."

Meanwhile, former Pakistan captains on Tuesday lambasted PHF secretary Asif Bajwa, calling him the reason behind the team's poor showing.

"PHF secretary Asif Bajwa himself opted to become the manager, he was also posing as chief coach during matches, now he should take responsibility of failure too," said former captain Islahuddin Siddiqui.

"When you take all the praise for victory, you should also be taking the responsibility of defeat," Siddiqui said.

"PHF should probe reasons for the team's poor show in the World Cup," said Islahuddin, who led Pakistan World Cup triumph in the 1978 event.

Muhammad Saqlain, another Pakistan captain blamed the team management for the pathetic showing. Pakistan lost four of its five Pool B matches and will now be playing for the 11th-12 place in the 12-nation spectacle.

"The team management and not players is responsible for failure in World Cup," said Saqlain. PHF president should take steps otherwise our national game will become part of history."

The Times of India

Pakistan hockey captain offers to retire

KARACHI: Pakistan's hockey captain Zeeshan Ashraf on Tuesday offered to retire from international hockey following his team's poor performance in the World Cup.

Four times champions Pakistan, with just one win the group stage, finished last in their pool and now face the ignominy of playing for the 11th-12th position playoff against Canada.

"I am ready to quit and take the responsibility for the team's dismal show in the World Cup," said Zeeshan, a seasoned defender. "I am ready to retire but it's the PHF (Pakistan Hockey Federation) which will decide my future."

According to a report on Tuesday, Pakistan's hockey chiefs will sit down in Lahore soon after the World Cup to take a decision on the future of under-performing senior players.

A Pakistan daily, The News, has reported that the national hockey think-tank will meet at the PHF headquarters next week to look into the reasons behind their team's poor showing.

The team's performance sparked scathing criticism from all quarters, especially for the performance of senior players Sohail Abbas, Zeeshan, midfielder Waseem Ahmed, striker Rehan Butt and goalie Salman Akber.

"The Pakistan hockey think-tank, which will meet in Lahore soon after the World Cup, will analyse the team's performance. It is expected to be a marathon meeting," said a PHF source.

"It will focus on the performance of the senior players, who have failed to do well in the World Cup. There are indications that some of them might be ignored for future assignments."

"Whenever our team loses in a major international event, its management is always shown the door," said another source. "But the players who are equally responsible for the loss are spared. They always come back and fail. There is a chance this time the axe will fall on them."

However, there could also be a disagreement on sidelining the senior players from the national team. It will be a busy year for the Pakistan team which will be featuring in three international events before competing in the Asian Games in China in November.

Pakistan will take part in the Asian Champions Trophy in Ipoh in April before participating in the Sultan Azlan Shah Trophy, also to be staged in the Malaysian city early this summer.

In October, Pakistan will feature in the Commonwealth Games to be held in New Delhi before the all-important Asian Games.

"It is true that Pakistan didn't play well in the World Cup," said a PHF official on condition of anonymity. "But the problem is that you can't just destroy the team by kicking out all the experienced players because there isn't enough bench strength."

The Times of India

Hykes’ journey from cricket to hockey


New Delhi, March. 9: The blistering speed with Julian Hykes enters the striking circle is a treat to watch. The tall and sturdy, the South African was the first goal scorer of the 12th edition of the hockey World Cup, but few would have imagined the the same player also slams fours and sixes for the Border province team team back home.

The 27-year-old is a first class cricketer and now a World Cupper.

After being one of the bright sparks, in South Africa’s otherwise dull World Cup, Hykes is all set to put his cricket career on the backburner to concentrate on hockey, which he feels will realise his family’s dream of seeing him as an Olympian.

“I always loved cricket more than hockey. I played rugby too. But ours is essentially a hockey-playing family. Both my parents and my siblings have been hockey players.

“So they didn’t show too much interest in my cricket career although I’ve been playing cricket from the time I was 10. I was a late bloomer in hockey starting at 16, due to pressure at home,” said the cricket all-rounder.

His journey from being a club hockey player to donning the national colours began in 2007.

“In 2007 I made my national team debut in a home series against Belgium, Scotland, Spain and Ireland.”

Since then there has been no looking back for Hykes, who considers missing the 2008 Beijing Olympics as the low point of his career.

“I was heart-broken, but at the same time determined. After missing the Olympics I was determined to make it for the World Cup.”

Also, playing for Border, he knew it would never be easy to make it to the side.

“I always knew it would be tough making it to the World Cup squad because as Border players, we play in the B section of the inter- provincial which is not the top-notch league.”

But Hykes wasn’t among those who give up easily.

“It was a lot of hard work, sweat and blood. It is every player’s dream to play a World Cup. So what if it’s cricket or hockey.”

It the success in hockey his cricket ambitions have taken a back seat.

“I ought to accept the fact that I may never play international cricket. So for now my focus is on hockey. I take heart from the fact that the size of the ball is the same,” said the multi-talented South African.

Once back at home, Hykes will first start to work towards repaying a loan he took to travel in Argentina for a series last year.

“We don’t receive much support back home. I had to take a loan of 10,000 rands. I’ve saved 2,000 and have been promised some funds from a few organisations.”

With an eye on making fine-tuning his skills and earning a living Hykes is looking forward to a stint in the European League.\

The Asian Age

FIH to review controversial referral system

V Narayan Swamy

NEW DELHI: Team referrals in hockey will be reviewed soon, with the contentious instances at the Hero Honda World Cup likely to shape future opinion about such appeals and the course they would take.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) admitted that Monday's incident in the match between India and South Africa was not the "ideal way to present the game or the referral system" and promised a review in the coming months.

"Like all new experiments, team referrals have thrown up a few grey areas. We need to get the feedback from all sources, study the electronic evidence before we think of using them in the next FIH tournament," said FIH technical manager Roger Webb.

On Monday, a 45th-minute goal that put India ahead in the second half was overruled after the South Africans pointed to a foul that had occurred in the Indian circle a minute or two earlier.

Perhaps, theoretically the procedure could have been correct but what left those at the Dhyan Chand stadium confused was the way the team referral was accepted by the same umpire who had penalised South Africa for dangerous play, awarding a free hit to India.

While it is perfectly possible that umpire Ged Curran of Scotland couldn't have seen the ball strike Vikram Pillay - that was the bone of contention - the fact that he was forced to rake it up many seconds later, that too after India added a goal to their kitty, irked many.

Coach Jose Brasa was dismayed by the incident. "I cannot understand how a referral can cut the flow of the game. We were told in the coaches' meeting that team referrals would have to be immediate. By any yardstick, Monday's appeal was too late."

South African captain Austin Smith said the system was not perfect. "The ball had come off an Indian player's stick on to the body. We were trying to defend a counterattack as well as go for the referral, not sure if the umpire had heard us. There is a flaw and it needs to be ironed out," Smith said.

"There is also a need to be clear how long the play can go on after a team asks for a referral. The umpire could have refused us the referral as the game had gone on long enough for him to do so."

Webb admitted the timing of the appeal was indeed the nub of the argument. "We do agree appeals which come in late interrupt the game and has a say on the outcome. Both the players and the umpires need to understand this well. It is how quickly you appeal and how promptly you accept it. That is something that needs to be tidied up."

When asked whether the FIH felt a time limit had to be fixed for referrals, Webb said: "We will go into the entire gamut of things. Umpires are empowered to turn down appeals if they are late. They need to implement it. It is indeed a grey area."

Another factor which the world body will study is whether captains alone should have the right to appeal, like it was in last year's Champions Trophy. "That too may be part of our discussions," Webb said.

The Times of India

Complicating the already complex sport, hockey

s2h Team

Hockey is already a complex game to understand and enjoy. Ninety percent of spectators, officials, media and everyone connected with the sports will have no clue whatsoever on umpires’ decisions on the field.

Nine out of ten times the ball goes into the net is not a goal. Crowd often don’t know why a goal is not given, why it is not there despite the ball going into the net and the players enjoying it. Still the show goes on.

Both the sponsors of the world cup, Hero Honda and SAIL bring 20 boys and girls from a school. These kids don’t understand most of the rules, often their claps go waste. They are confused, one kid asked this writer to give one rule book copy to their class!

Now that the video refereeing, though a good step, adds another dimension to never ending saga of complexity.

Even the other side umpire does not know what the other umpire is doing.

The classic example to this was India – South Africa match played on Monday.

Even as South African team was demanding a penalty corner, the game went on, Indians scored a goal too. Umpire whistled for the goal. Crowd was on cloud nine. Because, India took the lead first time the match. The giant score board read, 3-2.

Then the other umpire called his colleague, they conferred, a video referral was made. We thought it’s about the goal just being scored. No, it was about what happened couple of minutes ago.

So, South Africa got a penalty corner, and they converted. So now the same score but in favour other team!

Now, tell me, how the crowd will understand the game?

Codification of Referrals is an urgent need if the good idea of referral is to be saved from disgrace

Video referral good for hockey, but needs fine-tuning

NEW DELHI: The video referral system at the hockey World Cup may have disappointed many but New Zealand coach Shane McLeod and his German counterpart Markus Weise feel the newly-introduced system is a valuable addition to the game and only needs some fine-tuning.

The referral system, introduced in an international competition for the first time, has been under the scanner right from the start of the tournament.

Not only India coach Jose Brasa and his Australian counterpart Ric Charlesworth were the strong protesters of the system, it also irked South African captain Austin Smith who termed it "bizarre and imperfect".

However, Germany coach Weise seemed happy with the new rule but said some fine-tuning would make it better.

"I am happy with the referral system. I think it can be of great help to the onfield umpires as the speed of the game makes it very difficult for the umpires to judge each and everything correctly," Weise told reporters after Germany beat New Zealand 5-2 to enter the semi-finals of the megaevent.

"I think it should be used more frequently to get things right but I am of the opinion that the umpires should themselves refer a decision if they have a doubt," he said.

The Black Sticks coach McLeod was of the view that video umpire should be called into action straight away when there is a doubt.

"In my mind the decisions need to be challenge right away, otherwise it makes a lot of difference in the game. At the moment there is huge variation in the system," McLeod said.

The young German side is well on course for their third consecutive World Cup title here but Weise said he does not have any preference when it comes to the semi-final opponent.

"I don't really care. If you want to win a tournament you should be prepared to beat anyone. If you come into the tournament looking for some particular team would like to face, I feel this is not the right approach," he said.

German captain Maximillian Muller added, "Australia are the favourites for the title. They have better strikers but England too is playing their best hockey. So both the teams will be tough opponents."

The Times of India

A split verdict on referral system


New Delhi: With the Indian camp still fuming over the video referral system that cost the home team a “genuine” goal against South Africa on Monday, the hockey fraternity here is divided over the effectiveness of the rule that has been introduced in the World Cup for the first time.

The Indian coach Jose Brasa is not the only one to criticise the rule that allows teams one referral per match on the decision of the umpires to award or disallow goals, penalty corners and strokes. As per the International Hockey Federation (FIH) rule, the team captain must request the review as soon as the incident takes place.

The Australia coach, Ric Charlesworth, who also led his nation to their only World Cup triumph in 1986 made no secret of his lack of faith in the system. Calling it a “disgrace”, Charlesworth alleged that under the pretext of referral, the umpires made a lot decisions against the Aussies even in the Champions Trophy, where this system was introduced for the first time. “It was very upsetting,” he said.

On the first day of the World Cup here, the video replays were not played on the giant screen when a referral was asked for. However, the replays were made public from the next day after the tournament director Ken Read said he wanted it for everyone to see. “The primary purpose of the video umpire is to reduce major errors which may impact upon the result of a match,” said Read.

Interestingly, Kuku Walia, the former international umpire and an umpires’ manager in the FIH welcomed the system on the first day saying “It is a good system and even though it slows down the pace of the game, it helps in delivering the right decisions.” On Monday, after India were at the receiving end, Kuku Walia pointed out there should be a time frame to appeal for referral. “The South Africans took too much time to refer. That is absolutely unfair. They referred to the umpire two minutes after the breach, which is too long. You cannot take away someone’s goal like that,” said Walia.

All teams, including India, took advantage of the rule on the inaugural day. “I think it is a good rule. If we have the technology, then why not go for it? I am completely in favour of it,” Smith said. Senior Spanish player Pol Amat found the system too mechanical and said it slowed down the game.

The Telegraph, India

Water water everywhere, not for the Indians!

s2h Team

Indian coaching staff yesterday found to their dismay the pitch is not sufficiently watered before the start of the South Africa match.

They wanted watering. The Technical table turned down.

National chief coach Jose Brasa later explained the event in his characteristic style, “Indian pitch, Indian water, Indians did not water!”

He was of the view that two penalty corners that India wasted due to their inability to stop the pushed ball at the Coastal Guard end of the main pitch, was due to lack of adequate water on the pitch.

Whether it was due to water problem or lack of co-ordination between the pusher and stopper is another issue.

The issue is, can the technical table turn down watering request by teams?

Our officials are always there to deny you something, refuse you something and nobody was amused when they said no to team in this small matter.

Host countries in cricket have the right to choose the pitch of their choice. Here in hockey even watering, genuine or contrived, is a thing some officials have to decide!

In hockey, since synthetic surface surfaced the turf condition is universally same, though coaches have the habit of finding fault with that also – bumpy rumpy type of stuff.

One thing that prompted the idea of hockey having synthetic turf is to avoid nature’s vagaries.

For example, if it had rained yesterday before the match, what would have happened? The turf would have been flooded with water, still the match would have played.

Champions Trophy final in 2005 was resumed after 30 minutes of heavy down pour.

When things are like this, and when the turf has the drainage system, why to say no to a team’s request.

Saying is no is not a virtue, bad distaste thing.

State-of-the-art Stadium with antiquated facilities

Prabhjot Singh writes from New Delhi

Major Dhyan Chand National Hockey Stadium, the venue of the ongoing 12th World Cup Hockey Tournament, has been a mute spectator to India’s emergence and growth as a host of major sporting events. When India offered to host the inaugural Asian Games in 1951, this Stadium was formally inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru and dedicated to the nation.

Since hockey was not a part of the 1951 Asian Games, national Stadium was used for both opening and closing ceremonies and holding of track and field events. It had been a venue of many an international events, including the 1982 Asian Games and Indira Gandhi Gold Cup Hockey Tournament, both for men and women.

Renovated and upgraded at a whopping cost of Rs 266 crore, it retains the front portion as “Heritage Building”. Stands have come closer to the playfield. Seating has been reduced from 30,000 to less than 20,000. Besides, three new synthetic pitches have been laid to meet FIH norms. The second pitch is a competition pitch while the third is a practice or warm up pitch. For the ongoing World Cup only the central pitch has been put to use. It has been fitted with a huge plasma screen and two electronic scoreboards on either side of the playfield.

Formally dedicated to the nation on January 24 this year, complaints of poor workmanship, inadequate facilities and complaints of use of substandard material in the construction have already started coming in. Authorities may be claiming it to be state-of-the-art complex, but in reality it does not even meet standards of antiquated complexes.

The media box, for example, has no permanent electrical fittings for scribes to use their computers, laptops and other electronic gadgets. Loose wires and temporary connections provided to energise their machines can be dangerous. Even lighting of the media box is inadequate.

Movement of journalists inside the media box is cumbersome and difficult with hardly any leg space. Antiquated wooden tables, unsafe for keeping and using costly electronic gadgets, have been provided. There are no television sets in the media box and scribes cannot view a replay of an action in case they had missed noticing finer points of a move or a close finish of a goal.

So what is the state-of-art innovation in the media box, only SAI people can tell. The media centre and the media lounge located in the basement of the heritage portion of the stadium has no signal for mobile telephones to remain functional there.

The media lounge can at best seat about 30 people. There is no TV in the media lounge also. Two plasma screens have been provided in the media centre. Toilets in the media block have already started stinking. Because of some technical problem in fixing the sanitary fittings, one has virtually to stand over one’s own excreta while urinating here. Lockers in the media centre are antiquated steel boxes that need external locks. Perhaps the planners and builders mixed antiquity with modernity to call it a state-of-art complex. Facilities do not reflect the huge amount of money spent on its renovation and upgradation.

The Tribune

Attitude makes the difference between winning and losing

Shubhodeep Chakravarty

Over the years, opinion has been divided on whether the artificial turf has caused standards to plunge in the sub-continent. Astroturf, self-pass, short corners are changes that have favoured the Europeans and Australians more, hence their success in recent years.

Attitude, a key element in any sport, is something that critics of modern hockey seldom speak on. Yet, it is the crucial divide between defeat and victory.

Ties Kruize, the Dutch manager, had told HT on how victory, regardless of defeat, should be a team’s main focus. “We have just one strategy. It is to win. We are a professional side and the right attitude and spirit is expected of us.”

On Monday, the Pakistanis did the opposite. Despite coming up with a decent performance that saw them restricting Australia’s win to 2-1, drooping shoulders and exhausted faces was all that one could notice.

Instead of pondering over their shortcomings and taking solace from the few positives, the players chose to blame the schedule for the lacklustre performance. “We have been practicing for a long time now. Several camps coming into the World Cup and the alternate day schedule has fatigued the team,” said Rehan Butt.

Perhaps, he forgot that the other teams too have the same schedule. Mid-fielder Waseem Ahmed, who is appearing in his fourth World Cup, reiterated Butt’s views. He felt the best way to return to form was to get some rest. “A break once we return home will be an apt way to identify and deal with our weaknesses,” he said.

Australia mid-fielder Rob Hammond highlighted the difference in attitude when he said a berth in the semifinals did not mean slackening the pace.

“It is a huge stage and we would like to finish on a winning note. We are a professional side and cannot point to fatigue as a handicap,” he said after the game against Pakistan.

Hindustan Times