News for 01 March 2010

All the news for Monday 1 March 2010

Hero Honda World Cup 2010 Day 1

Day 1 - Sunday 28-02-2010 16:35 South Africa 2 : 4
Spain
Day 1 - Sunday 28-02-2010 18:35 Australia 2: 3 England
Day 1 - Sunday 28-02-2010 20:35 Pakistan 1: 4 India

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




India and England impress on first day in Delhi

At the Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 in Delhi, India pleased the crowd with an impressive win over arch-rivals Pakistan (4-1), England surprised Australia (3-2) and Spain struggled to take the best over South Africa (4-2).

The build-up to the FIH flagship event was marred by the security concerns and by controversies surrounding the accreditations and ticketing. Additional police checks and technical problems delayed the delivery of accreditations to Technical Officials and to the throng of journalists eager to cover the event, while the Delhi Police and the Sport Authority of India, owner of the Stadium, abruptly decided that one of the stands would be closed, leaving hundreds of ticket holders stranded...

Although the organizers are still desperately working to try and finalize the venue, the start of competition on the pitch is a welcomed shift of focus and the opening day matches immediately reminded the hockey fans that the players should be the one in the spotlight.

Game 1 – South Africa v. Spain: 4-2 (half-time: 2-2)


The Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 opened with an encounter between two teams with wildly different experiences of this top competition: Spain is one of five teams that have been present at all 11 previous World Cup tournaments, finishing 2nd in 1971 and 1998, while South Africa only had three modest participations with a best performance of 10th in 1994.

The first chance of the game was for Spain, but Erasmus PIETERSE in the South African goal stood tall to thwart the attempt. The Spaniards had a few more dangerous chances; however the first penalty-corner of the game was at the other end for South Africa. It was saved by Francisco CORTES in the Spanish goal and on the counter-attack Roc OLIVA had a golden opportunities to open the scoring in an open net, but the ball was saved on the line by a retreating defender.

The first injury of the competition was for... an umpire, and the match was temporarily stopped to replace Irishman Colin HUTCHINSON by Amarjit SINGH of Malaysia.

A quick South African counter-attack found Julian HYKES alone deep in Spanish territory and he made no mistake to become the first goal scorer of the 2010 World Cup. The Spanish reaction was brutal, Roc OLIVA then Miquel DELAS scoring in quick succession to switch back the lead to Spain. The game was flowing back and forth, keeping the crowd well entertained, and South Africa managed to tie the score before half-time on a broken penalty-corner, Ian HALEY pouncing on a loose ball in a scrum in front of goal to push it over the line.

The video-umpire was kept busy in second period, first to confirm a penalty-corner awarded to South Africa, then to confirm the go-ahead goal scored by Spaniard Rodrigo GARZA. After a long period of uncertain play, Spain finally increased their lead on a penalty-corner by Pau QUEMADA. The two-goal gap was too much for the African Champion and Spain, although not especially impressive, ended with the three points of the win, remaining  unbeaten in their last  nine World Cup games.

Game 2 – Australia v. England: 2-3 (half-time: 1-2)


The second game of opening day was a classic hockey opposition between Australia and England. The two countries have already met 8 times in previous World Cup, with Australia winning 7 of the 8 encounters, most famously in 1986 when Australia won the World Cup title by beating England 2-1 in the final. Having won 51 of 72 World Cup matches, Australia boast a winning percentage of 71%, higher than any other team. They finished runner-up in the last two editions (2002 and 2006) and have the strong desire to go one step higher this time around.

The two teams unsuccessfully exchanged penalty-corners in the opening minutes and the game flowed end-to-end for a while, under the loud encouragements of the crowd slowly filling in the stadium for the marquis event later in the evening. After wasting a few opportunities with shots high in the stands, Australia were awarded a penalty-corner and Jamie DWYER made no mistake from the spot to open the scoring.

England did not waste time to tie the game, Ashley JACKSON roofing a penalty-corner in spectacular fashion over George BAZELEY in the Australian goal, scoring in the process the first English World Cup goal against Australia since 1986. Neither team could take full control of the game in this first period and the score remained tied until the last minute of the half, when England converted another penalty-corner, this time by James TINDALL with a low shot.

The same player increased the gap early in second half, collecting a rebound, after a shot by Iain MACKAY hit the post, to slot it in goal and give his team a small cushion. England were playing well, putting all the pressure on Australia and preventing them from developing their game.  The Kookaburras wasted a large number of penalty corners, kept at bay by a phenomenal James FAIR in the English goal. They finally scored on their twelfth attempt to close the gap with less than 5 minutes to go.

This set the stage for an intense end of game, with more intervention of the video-umpire. The English team maintained their pressure very high, managing to keep the Australians at bay for a well deserved win.

Match Facts (Australia v. England):

> England collected their first World Cup win over Australia in 35 years by beating them 3-2.
> This ended their 7-match losing streak against Australia in World Cup competition.
> England's only previous WC victory over the Kookaburras came in 1975 (3-1).
> Australia have now lost their last four World Cup matches against European opposition, losing to ENG (2010), GER and ESP (2006) and GER (2002).
> England are now on a 4-match winning streak in World Cup competition. They also won their last three WC matches in 2006 against Pakistan (1-0), New Zealand (4-3) and South Africa (3-1).
> James Tindall (ENG) scored twice to lift his World Cup total to 7 goals in 8 matches.

Game 3 – Pakistan v. India: 1-4 (half-time: 0-2)

The first day of the Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 ended with the much anticipated match between Pakistan and host India, always a treat for hockey lovers. This match was the fifth World Cup encounter between the two countries, the most famous being the 1975 Final when India beat Pakistan (2-1). Ironically for these two hockey giants, the last time they met in a World Cup was 24 years ago for the 11th-12th classification match in 1986 (Pakistan won 3-2).

The opening day clash had the two countries buzzing for days, and legendary Indian player Dhanraj Pillai summed up the mood in his daily column in the Hindustan Times: “Good luck to Team India from one billion Indians”!

The game started after a thundering rendition of the Indian National Anthem by the crowd. The two teams immediately proceeded to offer a superb display of “Asian hockey” with swift attacks and immediate counter-attacks. The players were nevertheless obviously nervous, committing some unforced errors and losing balls in unnecessary dribbles.  The first real chance was for Tushar KHANDKER, inheriting the ball at the tail end of a fast Indian movement that swept the whole field, but his instant shot was well paraded by Salman AKBAR in the Pakistani goal.

India had most of the possession, led by a very active Prabhjot SINGH, but the Green Shirts were absorbing well the pressure, successfully defending the first penalty-corner of the match after twenty minutes of play. They were not as successful on the second penalty-corner, forced in the 27th  minute after yet another run by Prabhjot SINGH; Shivendra SINGH was on hand to collect the rebound and slot it in goal, sending the crowd in wild ecstatic chants.

Pakistan used the video-umpiring referral successfully to be awarded a penalty-corner, but Sohail ABBAS crashed his powerful drag-flick on the cross-bar. India missed a golden opportunity at the other end, the ball rolling in front of the empty net without anybody managing to put a stick on it, but they earned another penalty-corner with no time on the clock, and Sandeep SINGH confirmed his good form to increase the lead at halftime to 2-0.

The match resumed on the same high tempo after the break, and Prabhjot SINGH was immediately rewarded of his efforts with the third goal, poaching from close range a ball that had eluded the Pakistani defenders. Chance was definitely not on Pakistan’s side, Sohail ABBAS driving another missile on the crossbar before failing in his third attempt, and they could not control the forth one. Sandeep SINGH increased India’s lead to 4 goals before Sohail ABBAS finally opened up his tally.

It was nevertheless too little too late, and, with the crowd dancing happily in the stands, India ran away with the win over their arch-rivals, starting their World Cup campaign on a high note and giving hope to a whole country.

Match Facts (Pakistan vs. India):
> India won 4-1 to record their biggest win over Pakistan in World Cup competition.
> This marked India’s first World Cup win over Pakistan in 35 year, since beating them 2-1 in the 1975 final.
> The last time India scored 4 goals in a World Cup match was in 2002, when they beat Cuba 4-0 and Poland 4-1.
> Sohail Abbas (PAK) scored once to equal Floris Jan Bovelander (NED) on 17 World Cup goals. Only three players have scored more World Cup goals: Paul Litjens (NED, 26), Ties Kruize (NED, 21) and Wolfgang Strödter (GER, 18).
> Sandeep Singh scored twice on his World Cup debut for India. He joins James Tindall (ENG) and Jamie Dwyer (AUS) at the top of the goal scorer table after matchday 1.
> India lead Pool B after matchday 1 at the 2010 World Cup, leading ESP on goal difference.

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

For additional information, pictures, video clips, official game sheets, and more, please check the special FIH event site @ http://www.worldhockey.org/worldcup/.

Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 (men) – Delhi, India
Results Day 1 - Sunday 28 February 2010


South Africa v. Spain  4:2 (2:2)
RSA  16mn  Julian HYKES (FG)  1:0
ESP  19mn  Roc OLIVA (FG)  1:1
ESP  20mn  Miquel DELAS (FG)  1:2
RSA  30mn  Ian HALEY (PC)  2:2
ESP  45mn  Rodrigo GARZA (FG)  2:3
ESP  61mn  Pau QUEMADA (PC)  2:4

Australia v. England  2:3 (1:2)
AUS  23mn  Jamie DWYER (PS)  1:0
ENG  24mn  Ashley JACKSON (PC)  1:1
ENG  33mn  James TINDALL (PC)  1:2
ENG  45mn  James TINDALL (FG)  1:3
AUS  64mn  Jamie DWYER (PC)  2:3

Pakistan v. India  1:4 (0:2)
IND  27mn  Shivendra SINGH (PC)  0:1
IND  35+mn  Sandeep SINGH (PC)  0:2
IND  37mn  Prabhjot SINGH (FG)  0:3
IND  56mn  Sandeep SINGH (PC)  0:4
PAK  59mn  Sohail ABBAS (PC)  1:4

Pool Standings:

Pool A: not started yet
Pool B: 1) India 3 pts (+3)  2) Spain 3 pts (+2)  3) England 3 pts (+1)  4) Australia 0 pt (-1)  5) South Africa 0 pt (-2) 6) Pakistan 0 pt (-3)

WorldHockey



Inspired India steamrollers Pakistan

S. Thyagarajan


England stuns Australia while Spain wards off South Africa's challenge

— Photo: R.V. Moorthy


WHAT A FEELING! Sandeep Singh is ecstatic after slotting in India's second goal, as teammates rush in to congratulate, in the Pool B match against Pakistan on Sunday.

NEW DELHI: What a sensational start it turned out to be for India, and earlier for England, in the Hero Honda hockey World Cup at the Dhyan Chand Stadium on Sunday.

Amidst the glorious ambience surcharged with emotion and a packed gathering in full-throated support for the home team, India, displaying a rare show of vibrancy, vigour and variegated patterns, held Pakistan in a thrall to chalk out a 4-1 victory in Pool B.

Cash award

The win brought the team members and support staff a reward of Rs. one lakh from IOA President Suresh Kalmadi.

Earlier, England sunk Aussie hopes in a pulsating tussle for a 3-2 win, while Spain struggled to beat South Africa 4-2.

India's dominance in the first half was absolute. Almost every layer performed with palpable efficiency. Picking one or two could well be taken as invidious.

Total team-work

The link between the layers was impressive as was the individual work. Both the midfielders — Vikram Pillay and Arjun Halappa — proved a tower of strength as did Gurbaj inside the circle. The confidence with which Gurbaj managed to smother the few Pakistani attacks stood out.

Rajpal Singh and Prabhjot Singh burst into attack repeatedly with Sardar Singh and Gurvinder Singh Chandi as able allies. The attack was fluent, ferocious and functional in forcing the rival defenders to slip into errors.

The first thrill came when a brilliant shot by Tushar Khandekar unsettled the usually unflappable Salman Akbar.

A withering penalty corner by Diwakar Ram was stopped well by Akbar but midway through India surged into the lead. A fluent penalty corner drive by Sandeep Singh was stopped by Akbar and Shivendra Singh hit the target.

Sandeep slots in two

Almost near half-time India earned another penalty corner from a referral when only five seconds remained.

Sandeep Singh produced a glorious ground shot to give India the second goal.

Immediately after resumption Chandi wove his way down the line and crossed which prompted a scrimmage that culminated in Prabhjot slotting in the third. Man-of-the-match Sandeep added another to the tally.

Pakistan had one penalty corner in the first half but Sohail's shot hit the crosspiece. In the second half an attempt by Akhtar Ali went over the post. Sohail's second penalty corner hit the crosspiece again. But late in the match, the Pakistani ace pumped in a fluent one leaving Sreejesh, whom coach Brasa preferred for this tie, clueless.

The Pakistani attack built up intense pressure and a penalty corner drive by Sohail was well saved by Sreejesh.

Fairly outstanding

Earlier, England's morale was sustained largely by the outstanding work under the bar by James Fair. Intrepid, imaginative and exceedingly agile, Fair was a picture of confidence, effecting saves from the direct and indirect attempts in penalty corners with beaming nonchalance.

The Aussies, who forced 13 penalty corners, tried everything that coach Charlesworth could conceive but nothing could disturb the composure of the English custodian. The Aussies went ahead first, after being unsuccessful with four penalty corners in 20 minutes, from a stroke. A stick check on Jamie Dwyer resulted in a stroke and he converted without fuss.

But European champion England raised the pace and subdued the Aussie defence. Ashley Jackson flicked in a flawless penalty corner and James Tindall smashed the ball into the boards without a semblance of resistance.

Tindall struck again after a sinuous run. The ball hit the post and rolled back. He tapped it in on the run again.

The Aussies stepped up the pressure in the last quarter and managed to constrict the margin with a goal by Dwyer when four minutes remained.

Laborious

Earlier, Spain had to strive hard, bordering on the laborious, to outsmart a more aggressive and athletic South Africa. The margin gives an exaggerated look of Spain's performance in Pool B.

Notwithstanding the fluent runs by Pol Amat, the most recognizable star in the side, the Spanish sallies carried no element of threat. Added to this was an inaccurate finish.

When South Africa struck through Julian Hykes, whose ball control was commendable, the match reflected the trend — Spain struggling against the more enthusiastic rival bunch.

Julian Hykes's strike injected an element of verve into the Spanish attack. Amat paved the way for the equaliser with a terrific drive which goalkeeper Erasmus saved. But Roc Oliva showed the sense of opportunism to flick the rebound in.

Thereafter, Spain enjoyed a brief spell of territorial dominance and enlarged the lead when David Alagre completed a smart solo run. Ian Hayley made good use of a penalty corner rebound to level 2-2 at half-time.

First referral

The first referral of the championship came when the South Africans questioned the goal by Rodrigo Garza. The third umpire confirmed the goal.

The only enervating moment for Spain came in the final minutes when Pan Quemada produced a stunner of a flick into the net.

Another notable event surfaced in the 20th minute when the Irish umpire, Coil Hutchinson, pulled a muscle and was substituted by the Malaysia's Amartjit Singh.

The results:


Pool B: Spain 4 (Roc Oliva, David Alagre, Rodrigo Grza, Pan Quemada) bt South Africa 2 (Julian Hykes, Ian Hayley). HT 2-2.

England 3 (Ashley Jackson, James Tindall 2) bt Australia 2 (Jaime Dwyer 2). HT 2-1.

India 4 (Shivendra Singh, Sandeep Singh 2, Prabhjot Singh) bt Pakistan 1 (Sohail Abbas). HT 2-0.

Monday's matches:


New Zealand v Canada (4.35 p.m.); Germany v Korea (6.35 p.m.); Netherlands v Argentina (8.35 p.m.).

The Hindu



Recap of all the goals of first day

B.David


The opening day was day of goals. We relive those moments, as senior journalist B. David takes us to each one of them.

It’s a goal

First match - South Africa lost to Spain 2-4

Goal 1: After a barren first quarter, South Africa held their nerves to hold a whiphand. They translated the advantage into a goal through Julian Hykes, who opened the account in the 12th Hero Honda World Cup in the 16th minute scoring from an acute angle beating the goalkeeper after a move on the right flank saw the last pass coming from Thomton Mcdade..

Goal 2: South Africa’s joy was short-lived, as Spain neutralized within three minutes restoring parity in the 19th minute, when baby of the team, 20-year old Roc Oliva showed his presence of mind, tapping in a rebound from close quarters. The first shot was a quick, reverse hit by veteran skipper Pol Amot just inside the circle and it was blocked by South African goalkeeper Erasmus Pieterse, who could not prevent Oliva from sneaking into the right corner.

Goal 3: The third goal of the first match, was the turning point of the match, and provided the lead for Spain. It was a gem of a goal in the 20th minute. A sliding slap shot with the left hand after entering the goalmouth from the left goalline by 25-year old Delas Miquel happened in a flash as he beat South African defender Gareth Carr and even the goalkeeper Pieterse was caught on the wrong foot despite the shot coming from an acute angle.

Goal 4: Equaliser by SAIan Haley scored the first Penalty Corner goal in the World Cup here, scoring the equalizer for South Africa in the 30th minute when he converted a rebound from the goalkeeper.

Goal 5: However, midway through the second session, Spain gained the control once again and it was 34-year Xavier Ribas who hoisted the lead for the second time with a smart field goal in the 45th minute.

Goal 6: With nine minutes to go for the hooter, Spain consolidated and put the issue beyond South Africa earning a penalty corner in the 16th minute. Alex Fabregas executed the push and Pau Quemada made no mistake with his drag flick scoring the match-winner to get the first victory for Spain.

Match No.2 - England upset strong contenders Australia 3-2

Goal 7: After wasting four short corners, Australia took the lead in the 23rd minute with their top player Jamie Dwyer converting a penalty stroke pushing low to the left of England goalkeeper James Fair, who made a valiant attempt but the ball caressed his kickers and sneaked in.

Goal 8: England drew parity in the very next minute with Ashley Jackson converting a penalty corner after a clever dummy. The 24th minute drag-flick was sent into the roof of the net over the goalkeeper George Bazeley’s head.

Goal 9: Nine minutes later, England earned their third penalty corner the indirect variation earned them the lead two minutes before half-time when 26-year old James Tindall made it 2-1.

Goal 10: Tindell, with 128 caps under his belt till today, scored his second goal of the tournament when he knocked in a field goal to increase the lead for England in the 45th minute.

Goal 11: With six minutes to go, Australia, who were disparately trying to draw level, earned their consolation goal by converting an indirect penalty corner through the presence of mind of veteran Jamie Dwyer, who scored the second goal today. With many short corners yielding no result because of England’s solid PC defence, Aussues tried an indirect variation which was blocked and the second try too was moving out when an alert Jaimie Dwyer tapped in from the left.

Third and last match of Day 1: India drub Pakistan 4-1

Goal 12: India began with a bang and the fact that they were playing their arch-rivals in the very first match did not deter their star drag-flicker even in a charged atmosphere. Once acclaimed as the world’s best drag-flicker, Sohail Abbas returning after a `retirement’ had to watch the heroics of his rival with a stunned silence.

Sandeep Singh opened the account with a drag flick for India converting their second short corner in the 27th minute as his flick deflected off an advancing first runner and lost the force to help Pakistani goalkeeper Salman Akbar to block it. But the 28-year old senior goalie with 163-international match experience failed to prevent an alert Shivendra Singh from converting the rebound into a goal from hand-shaking distance near the right post as Shivender’s slap shot brooked no answer from Salman who failed to recover after the first stop.

Goal 13: India’s goal # 2India’s second goal also came through the penalty corner and this time drag-flick artiste Sandeep Singh put his name in the scorers’ list with a powerful low drag flick to Pakistan custodian Salman’s right. The extended short corner was earned with only 5 seconds to go for the half-time and was upheld by the third umpire on an appeal from the players and was taken after the hooter with all 10 Indian players surrounding the circle.

Goal 14: India’s goal # 3Two minutes after the breather, Indian star Prabhjot Singh scored the first field goal for India in this World Cup to make it 3-0.

Goal 15: India’s goal # 4 In the 56th minute India earned another short corner. Skipper Rajpal Singh Singh sent in a fast and perfect `push’ from the backline and Bharat Chikara set it up perfectly for Sandeep Singh, who had Diwakar Ram, the junior drag-flicker in the team, standing by to confuse the rivals. Sandeep took the flick and beat the rival goalkeeper with his speed as he sent in a grounder to the left of goalie Salman and skipper Zeeshan Ashraf manning the goalline behind the custodian, could only get his stick down as the ball zoomed past in a flash. Goal number two for Sandeep Singh.

Goal 16: Consolation goal for PakistanWorld’s acclaimed penalty corner specialist, Sohail Abbas, who was unlucky to hit the cross piece twice on the first day, made up with a brilliant flick displaying glimpses of his old form and sent in a disguised and powerful flick to beat Indian goalkeeper, Sreejesh, who had a wonderful time under the Indian bar today. Sreejesh is the first Keralite to don the Indian colours in the World Cup.

Stick2Hockey.com



South Africa shine Hockey World Cup opener vs Spain in India

JONATHAN COOK


A VERY good national team from the southern tip of Africa did the continent proud  and were most unfortunate to lose 4-2 to third-ranked Spain in the Hockey World Cup opening match in Delhi, India yesterday afternoon.

Spain's David Alegra scoring the second goal against South Africa during the first match of the World Cup Hockey at Maj Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi on Sunday. Photo: R.V. Moorthy (The Hindu)

A fired-up South Africa under captain Austin Smith were 2-2 at half-time against the Beijing Olympics silver medallists before two highly contentious Spanish goals saw head coach Gregg Clark's side lose a crucial point the draw would have given them.

SA had their chances to earn three points from this clash in a much-improved showing from their disappointing Olympic Games, as a win would have been priceless given the cut-throat nature of Pool B's six-team section.

With 24 minutes left in the second half, Smith referred a decision to video umpire Hamish Jamson of England and SA were awarded a penalty corner, which saw Gareth Carr's flick cleared off the line and on the counter-attack Spain scored through Rodrigo Garza.

SA protested vehemently as they felt the ball had floated dangerously into the air, making any contact illegal. Dutch umpire Roel van Eert's decision was referred to Jamson who ruled that the goal stood, much to South Africa's disgust.

Then with 10 minutes to go the SA defence were outraged when what was a legitimate defensive tackle that saw the ball hit a hand on the stick was adjudged otherwise by Van Eert who awarded Spain a penalty corner. Pau Quemada's bullet drag flick from the top of the circle left outstanding goalkeeper Rassie Pieterse with little chance as it almost burst the net to the keeper's right and SA had suffered a cruel injustice.

Spain, including captain Pol Amat (armband) celebrate after scoring their fourth against SA. Gareth Carr's disappointment says it all. Photo: R.V. Moorthy (The Hindu)

Unfortunately SA had used up their referrals so there was no recourse - each team is allowed one per match. If your referral is proved correct, you are entitled to another, but after SA's first successful referral, they had had the second one rejected so they had run out of options.

Midway through the first half, world number 13 SA had shocked the team ranked 10 places higher when in-form striker Ian Haley made an exceptional tackle against the run of play to come away with the ball and engineer a one-two pass for Julian Hykes to net past top-class Spanish keeper Francisco Cortes for the World Cup's opening goal.

Stung by the setback, Spain immediately restored parity when captain and 2009 World Hockey Player of the Year Pol Amat's reverse-stick screamer was saved by Pieterse, only for Roc Oliva to net the rebound. Soon after, SA defensive indecision in the circle saw David Alegre capitalise on the loose ball for the softest of goals.

SA made it 2-2 at the changeover when Thornton McDade forced a PC, Spain lost one of their defenders for breaking too soon and Haley netted the goalmouth melee.

Meanwhile, there was a major shock in the second match in Pool B when sixth-ranked England upset the world's second-ranked Australia 3-2 after leading 2-1 at half-time.

The India versus Pakistan match was set to wrap up the night at the National Stadium on a lovely evening for hockey - and it proved to be an upset result, much to the delight of the delirious home fans piled into the superb 20-000 seater National Hockey Stadium, as the world number 12 Indians beat world number seven arch rivals 4-1 after leading 2-0 at half-time.

Two upset results out of the three Pool B matches sets this 2010 Hero Honda FIH Hockey World Cup up to be a fantastic spectacle of hockey - just a great pity the SA broadcasters SuperSport have only seen fit to televise the South African matches in the preliminary round Pool phase.

What I would give up to see the other matches doesn't bear repeating.

SA Hockey World



Hykes scores but SA lose to Spain

OLYMPIC silver-medallists Spain overcame a sluggish start to defeat a fighting South Africa 4-2 in the opening match of the men’s field hockey World Cup in New Delhi yesterday.

The South Africans, ranked 13th in the world, stunned the number three Spaniards with the first goal in the 16th minute through a lightning strike by Border’s Julian Hykes.

Spain, who lost to Germany in the Beijing Olympics final, hit back with two goals in three minutes through Roc Oliva and David Alegre to take a 2-1 lead by the 21st minute.

The African champions equalised five minutes before the break when Ian Haley pushed in a goal following a rebound off a penalty corner.

Spain returned after the interval to score through Rodrigo Garza, before Pau Quemada made it 4-2 with a stinging penalty corner hit.

Spain and South Africa are drawn in group B alongside favourites Australia, England, India and Pakistan.

Group A comprises defending champions Germany, the Netherlands, Argentina, Canada, South Korea and New Zealand.

The 12-nation tournament began amid heavy security at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium in the Indian capital, with some 19 000 security personnel and 200 commandos on guard inside and outside the venue.

Daily Dispatch



Spain stretched by South Africa in Hockey World Cup opener

Errol D'Cruz


NEW DELHI: Spain duly picked up full points in a rousing opening match of the World Cup but not before South Africa did everything to suggest they were worth far more than the 'wooden spoon' tag they carry.

Spain, ranked third in the world, were forced to come back from a goal down to the 13th ranked African champions and eventually managed to win 4-2 in Pool B.

The pace was relentless but the match was cleanly fought, with the only injury casualty being Irish umpire Colin Hutchinson, who was replaced by the Malaysian Amarjit Singh midway through the first half.

South Africa drew first blood in the 16th minute when Julian Hykes scored after a breakaway but Spain were on level terms in the 19th minute with the young Roc Oliva picking off a rebound off Eramus Pieterses' pads.

A smart reverse hit by Miquel Delas brought Spain the lead but the teams went into the break on level terms with Ian Haley scoring amid frenetic action in the goalmouth after the Spanish failed to clear a penalty corner drag flick, which was smartly saved by Francisco Cortes.

Spain, bronze medallists at the last World Cup in Monchengladbach and silver medalists at the Beijing Olympics two years ago, began to get their act together in the second half but 2009 FIH Player of the Year and captain of the team Pol Amat failed to find the target after two fluid runs involving Pau Quemada.

It fell to Rodrigo Garza to ease Spanish furrows when he ran down the middle to score and it read 3-2 in the 45th minute. The Spanish, looking good on the break, scored again from their fourth penalty corner, Quemada's perfect drag flick going high into the net in the 61st minute.

The Times of India



Spain down South Africa in World Cup opener

NEW DELHI: Olympic silver-medallists Spain overcame a sluggish start to defeat a fighting South Africa 4-2 in the opening match of the men's field hockey World Cup on Sunday.

The South Africans, ranked 13th in the world, stunned the number three Spaniards with the first goal in the 16th minute through a lightning strike by Julian Hykes.

Spain, who lost to Germany in the Beijing Olympics final, hit back with two goals in three minutes through Roc Oliva and David Alegre to take a 2-1 lead by the 21st minute.

The African champions, however, equalised five minutes before the break when Ian Haley pushed in a goal following a rebound off a penalty corner.

Spain returned after the interval to score through Rodrigo Garza, before Pau Quemada made it 4-2 with a stinging penalty corner hit.

Spain and South Africa are drawn in group B alongside favourites Australia, England, India and Pakistan.

Group A comprises defending champions Germany, the Netherlands, Argentina, Canada, South Korea and New Zealand.

The 12-nation tournament began amid heavy security at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium in the Indian capital, with some 19,000 security personnel and 200 commandos on guard inside and outside the venue.

The Times of India



We need to improve to qualify for semi-finals: Spain captain

NEW DELHI: Spain captain Pol Amat on Sunday said they were always in control of their first hockey World Cup match against South Africa despite the half-time score of 2-2 but need to improve their performance in remaining matches if they are to qualify for semi-finals.

Spain were locked 2-2 at the breather before firing in two goals in the second half and Amat said they were always in control of the game.

"We expected South Africa to give us a tough fight and it happened as it was 2-2 at half time. But we were always in control. We played better in the second half and got the two goals," he said at the post-match press conference.

"We need to improve if we want to qualify for the semi-finals. The next match against Pakistan will be a tough one," he added.

Meanwhile, South Africa captain Austin Smith felt the newly introduced video referral system caused some delay in the match and lost of momentum.

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

"Credit to Spain. we fought very well but it was difficult to come back from 2-4 down," Smith said.

Asked about his players protesting a few decisions by the umpire, Smith said, "We are quite a bit eccentric team. There may be some emotions in display by our players. For us every match will be tough as we would be playing higher ranked teams," he said.

The Times of India



Goalkeeper Fair is England's Hero in historic Oz victory

England secured an historic and memorable victory over pre-tournament favourites Australia in their opening match of the Hero Honda FIH World Cup in Delhi on Sunday thanks to the outstanding goalkeeping of Cannock’s James Fair and goals from Surbiton forward James Tindall and set piece specialist Ashley Jackson.

The win was England’s first over Australia in a World Cup match since 1975 and only their fifth in 52 matches between the two nations.

Ric Charlesworth’s Kookaburras will be left ruing their inability to convert numerous penalty corners after they scored just one of 12 compared to England’s ratio of two from three. And it was England’s composed and resolute defence, marshalled by James Fair, which provided the foundations for such an impressive result.

Going into the game Australia were for many observers the team to beat and they began the match with the best of the early pressure. Grant Schubert signalled the Kookaburras’ intent from the off when he flashed a reverse stick shot wide with less than a minute on the clock and Australia were awarded the first of two early penalty corners with just two minutes on the clock. East Grinstead’s Glenn Kirkham cleared the danger of the first in front of James Fair, who then pulled off a good save with his left glove from the second corner in the fifth minute.

With seven minutes on the clock, good work from Loughborough Students’ Richard Smith down the right hand side played in Rob Moore and his cross from the right was dangerously deflected up off an Australian stick for England’s first penalty corner. The ball out from Moore to the top of the circle was set up for HGC’s Ashley Jackson but his low flick flew wide of the bottom of the left post.

On ten minutes, Australia’s Matthew Butturini was suspended for two minutes after receiving a green card but England failed to take advantage and with Australia back to a full complement of players Glenn Turner came close to giving them the advantage. Two fortunate deflections off the sticks of England defenders fell kindly to Turner in front of goal but England breathed a sigh of relief as he missed the target all together.

There then followed a five minute spell that saw James Fair pull of a series of excellent saves to keep England in the game and ultimately set them up for the historic win. First, at full stretch, he tipped a high, looping reverse stick effort from Turner wide with his left glove before coming off his line quickly to block from Eddie Ockenden at point blank range. Following an unconverted Australian corner Fair was called upon again in the 20th minute, keeping out Des Abbot’s strike from a narrow angle on his near post.

There was little the Cannock goalkeeper could do to stop the awarding of a penalty stroke to Australia, ranked second in the world, when Richard Mantell committed a foul on Eddie Ockenden with the goal gaping. Up stepped three times World Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer whose powerful low penalty squeezed under the left glove of Fair and into the goal to give the Kookaburras the lead.

England had struggled to impose their attacking game on the Australians but having gone behind they rallied and a probing run from Loughborough Students’ Nick Catlin won England their second corner of the match. From the set piece Jackson flicked the ball powerfully high above goalkeeper George Bazeley and into the roof of the net for an immediate equaliser. 1-1 the score and Jackson’s goal was England’s first against Australia in a World Cup since the 1986 Final in London, which the Kookaburras won 2-1.

Inside the last five minutes of the first half Rob Moore conceded a penalty corner wide inside the English 23 metre area but again Australia failed to convert and it was to cost them as the half came to an exciting conclusion.

Having been under pressure for most of the opening 35 minutes, England surprised everyone inside the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium by taking the lead with fewer than two minutes of the half remaining. Ali Brogdon had fired a warning to the Australians a minute earlier when Reading midfielder Iain Mackay put the faintest deflection on the Bowdon player’s shot and George Bazeley had to react well to save with his right leg.

In the 33rd minute Korean umpire Hong Lae Kim awarded England their third penalty corner for the ball hitting Luke Doerner’s foot. With Ashley Jackson sitting on the bench it was left to Richard Mantell and James Tindall to mastermind the set piece. The slip left from the top to Tindall gave the Surbiton man the space to fire a shot across Bazeley that nestled in the far bottom corner to give England a 2-1 lead at the break.

The goal was all the sweeter for 26 year old Tindall given that his participation in the World Cup was only confirmed a week ago after recovering from a broken foot sustained in the Champions Trophy in Melbourne in December.

The second half began at pace and in the opening spell both sides enjoyed possession. Patient Australian build up play was matched by patient English defending and Beeston defender Ali Wilson was unlucky to have a corner awarded against him after 43 minutes. Glenn Turner’s break along the left baseline saw the Australian lift the ball into the arm of Wilson and the corner was awarded. More strong defending kept the Kookaburras out.

Moments later James Tindall sparked a counter attack that led to his second goal as England extended their lead to 3-1. Cutting in from the left wing, Tindall played a pass to Surbiton teammate Rob Moore on the penalty spot. Moore’s touch ahead of the advancing Australian goalkeeper diverted the ball towards goal but with the ball rebounding off the post it looked as if Australia had survived. Tindall though had other ideas and followed up to knock the ball into the empty goal to make it 3-1.

At the other end, Australia thought they had their second penalty corner of the half when James Fair raised a clearance to head height after cutting out a cross from the wing. However, as soon as the corner was awarded Glenn Kirkham appealed the decision using England’s team referral to the video umpire. A lengthy delay followed as the replay was reviewed, Kirkham arguing that the initial decision to awarded Australia a sideline pass was incorrect. Ultimately, the appeal was successful and the decision reversed.

Australia used their appeal to win a penalty corner midway through the half after the ball hit the foot of Ben Hawes but the deflected effort flew wide of Fair’s right hand post. Fair was then called into action as the Kookaburras split the English back line but he was equal to the task, saving on his post.

Ashley Jackson came close to putting England 4-1 up in a goalmouth scramble but George Bazeley and his defence just managed to clear the danger.

Two more green cards followed; one each for Simon Orchard and Ben Hawes, the latter conceding a penalty corner that Australia tried, unsuccessfully, to have upgraded to a penalty stroke. Fair got down well to his right to save Mark Knowles’ straight strike and Richard Mantell followed up to turn the ball onto the foot of a waiting Australian forward.

With just over five minutes remaining Australia halved the deficit with their first goal from 13 penalty corners. James Fair’s block of the initial effort fell back into the danger area and Jamie Dywer was in the right place at the right time to lift the ball into the net to pull a goal back; 3-2 going into the final minutes.

With Australia pushing for an equaliser Richard Mantell successfully appealed a decision to give the Kookaburras another corner after he had tackled Des Abbot with the ball rolling onto the foot of the young forward. Umpire Kim initially gave the corner for a follow up foul against the Reading defender but Mantell’s original tackle was the vital one and the decision was reversed.

Entering the final two minutes England sat deep, soaking up intense Australian pressure and with the vocal Indian crowd counting down the clock they held on to secure a memorable and valuable 3-2 victory over the pre-tournament favourites.

Afterwards, England manager Andy Halliday praised the efforts of James Fair and the penalty corner defence team but admitted England were second best throughout: “It was a fantastic result but the performance could have been so much better. I think it’s a measure of how much this team has progressed that we can play poorly and beat Australia.

“James [Fair] and the penalty corner defence were outstanding today. We’ll certainly not get carried away just because we have won game one.”

England’s next match is against South Africa at 11:05GMT on Tuesday. Elsewhere in Pool B, Spain beat South Africa 4-2 in the opening game of the tournament. Hosts India meet rivals Pakistan in the final match of the opening day.

AUSTRALIA 2 (1)

Jamie Dwyer 23, 64 (PS, PC)

ENGLAND 3 (2)

Ashley Jackson 24 (PC)
James Tindall 33, 45 (PC, F)

Squad v Australia

Started


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

Substitutes Used

Richard Alexander (Surbiton)
Alasdair Brogdon (Bowdon)
Nick Catlin (Loughborough Students)
Jonty Clarke (Reading)
Adam Dixon (Beeston)

Did Not Play

Nick Brothers (Reading)
Dan Fox (Hampstead & Westminster)

England Hockey Board Media release



Wasted opportunities cost Kookaburras at World Cup


The Kookaburras have wasted a golden opportunity in their first game at the 2010 World Cup, going down 3-2 to England over night in New Delhi, India.

Despite going down on the scoreboard, the Kookaburras were simply dominate everywhere else on the pitch, recording 11 shots on goal to five, controlling 65% of the possession and producing 21 more circle penetrations than their opposition.

However despite controlling the play, the Kookaburras were wasteful in front of goal, making their defeat extremely disappointing after converting only 1 from 12 penalty corner attempts.

The Kookaburras emerged as the more dominate team in the first half, however were unable to make the most of their early scoring opportunities, a trend that would continue throughout the match.

The majority of the opening ten minutes was played within the Kookaburras half as they applied huge amounts of pressure onto the English defence.

As the half continued England began to gain some momentum, looking dangerous on their rare few circle penetrations. However the Kookaburras defence was up to the challenge, getting many players back within the defensive circle to make it virtually impossible for England to score.

Strikers Glenn Turner and Grant Schubert became focal points near the goals for the Kookaburras, but Australia’s inability to convert their opportunities continued.

Eventually Australia gained some reward for their effort when Eddie Ockenden was stick checked in front of goal, with the penalty stroke converted by three time world player of the year Jamie Dwyer.

Australia’s celebration was short lived, with England’s young gun Ashley Jackson converting the first penalty corner of the match to level the score at the 26 minute mark.

The Kookaburras were given an opportunity to regain the lead only minutes later, but their fifth penalty corner of the half followed the same pattern as those before it, going wide of the goal in another wasted opportunity.

England made the Kookaburras pay the ultimate price shortly after, converting their second penalty corner from only their third attempt to gain the lead with only minutes remaining in the first half.

Australia looked likely to draw level early in the second half when awarded yet another penalty corner. However once again the shot on goal was unsuccessful.

Again the Kookaburras were made to pay for their inability to convert, forced to watch England score their third goal from a fast break in the early stages of the second half to gain a 3-1 lead.

Throughout the remainder of the half the Kookaburras were awarded five more penalty corners however all proved unsuccessful as the Kookaburras began to run out of time.

Finally the Kookaburras found a way onto the scoreboard, with Jamie Dwyer scoring from a rebound off the goalkeeper from the Kookaburras 12th penalty corner to give the Kookaburras some chance with four minutes remaining.

When the Kookaburras were awarded their 13th penalty corner only a minute later a draw seemed a real possibility.

However a video referral from England showed that the ball actually came off the foot of Australia’s Des Abbott, giving England the ball and virtually ending Australia’s hopes of scoring again.

The surprise loss has undoubtedly made the Kookaburras path to the semi finals more difficult however the team will look to regroup when they play tournament hosts India in their second game of the tournament on Tuesday 2 March.

England 3 Kookaburras 2 (2-1 half time)

Hockey Australia media release



England forget security fears to claim famous win over Australia

Cathy Harris in Delhi


http://www.timesonline.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00691/hockey-585_691021a.jpg
Adam Dixon, Iain Mackay, James Tindall, Rob Moore and Alastair Brogdon celebrate after the third goal

The security fears that have haunted the build-up to the World Cup finally gave way to an exhilarating opening day at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium here yesterday.

On a day filled with passion and emotion, India thrilled their devoted fans with an emphatic 4-1 victory over their traditional rivals, Pakistan, while England stunned the pre-tournament favourites, Australia, winning 3-2. Spain, the Olympic silver medalwinners, defeated South Africa 4-2 in the third match.

The World Cup is the biggest sporting event staged on Indian soil since the 1982 Asian Games and G. K. Pillai, the Indian Home Secretary, said last week it was very much a trial run for the Commonwealth Games in October.

Yesterday’s clash between India and Pakistan, the two former giants of the game, and genuine concerns after a threat by al-Qaeda left the authorities with no alternative but to prove they can run a safe event. Several countries organised their own private security arrangements and the official team hotel in central Delhi is like a fortress.


Pakistan have been confined to the hotel and, for the rest of the players, it has been a test of unwavering commitment and concentration in the countdown to their first matches.

Ashley Jackson, the England midfield player, said: “For the last few weeks it has been a very worrying situation and even discussions about whether we would come. But we didn’t want to miss this chance and we’ve all come to terms with the security. Playing in front of such huge, vibrant crowds was what we all wanted.”

The International Hockey Federation has clearly been frustrated in its efforts to stage the sport’s showpiece event with security requirements and breathtaking inefficiency by the local organising committee dogging them at every turn.

The consensus among officials is that with the India-Pakistan contest safely negotiated there will be less cause for such an overwhelming display of force, although two armed guards are stationed on every floor of the official hotel and armed commando escorts ride alongside teams to and from the stadium.

José Brasa, the genial Spaniard who is head coach of the India team, has seen his patience sorely tried in all departments. “It has all been worse than terrible,” he said.

Nevertheless, he will have been delighted with his squad’s dominant performance against a Pakistan team curiously bereft of any attacking tactics. Leading 2-0 at the interval, India cruised 4-0 ahead before a late consolation goal by the four-time former World Cup winners.

It was England who produced the upset of the day, though, registering their first win over Australia in 25 years and their first in a World Cup since 1975.

Jackson described the win as “magic”, saying they had been lifted by an incredible atmosphere. “We had some shaky moments and it was only when we stood up and took the game by the scruff of the neck that we put pressure on them,” he said. “What we definitely don’t want to do is waste the three precious points.”

It was not a vintage display from the European champions and they rode their luck against surprisingly profligate opponents who squandered several great chances, scoring only once from 12 penalty corners.

James Fair, the goalkeeper, brilliantly marshalled England’s defence with James Tindall, 26, who only confirmed his place in the side a week ago after recovering from a broken foot, finding the net either side of half-time to set up the triumph.

Jackson powered in an equaliser from a penalty corner after Jamie Dwyer was on the target from the penalty spot and Tindall hammered in a clever double-switch penalty corner to put England 2-1 up at half-time.

He made it 3-1 ten minutes after the restart, reacting sharply after Iain Mackay’s shot rebounded off the post. Australia surged back and reduced the deficit with six minutes remaining but failed to breach a resolute defence.

Barry Middleton, the England captain, confessed his side had done superbly to beat Australia without playing their best. “We defended well but we’ll have to improve a lot before we play South Africa [tomorrow],” he said.

Delhi’s security ring

19,000 Delhi police within a 3km radius of the stadium 200 Paramilitary commandos 6 Black Labrador sniffer dogs 1 India Air Force helicopter circling the stadium

The Times



England secure historic win over Australia

By Patrick Rowley in New Delhi


England rode their luck and achieved a result to dream of by beating Australia, the favourites, 3-2 on the opening day of the 12th World Cup.

It was England’s first win over the Kookaburras for 25 years and came after seven successive hockey World Cup defeats against their old rivals.

It was not a result that seemed possible after the early play. England looked as if they had just got off the plane while Australia made their usual lightening fast start.

England had big outletting problems but appeared to have weathered the storm only to leave Ed Ockennden unmarked in the circle and concede a penalty stroke. This was duly despatched by Australia’s oldest player Jamie Dwyer.

England’s youngest, Nick Catlin, immediately responded by forcing a corner and Ashley Jackson’s speedy hands drag flicked into a top corner to level. Game on.

If it was more than England deserved, Australia were no longer quite so ascendant and England were rising. Australia wasted more chances, England struck again, opportunely just before half time.

James Tindall whose selection was in doubt because of injury until a week ago, set up and put the finishing touch to a well worked corner.

And it was Tindall who gave England a two goal lead 10 minutes into the second half. His break led to Ian Mackay shooting against an upright and Tindall latchedonto the rebound.

Australia had time and opportunity to save the game but their shooting was never up to standard and England’s goalkeeper James Fair was. Australia had eight second half corners to England’s zero but only their last was converted, by Dwyer, after Fair had made the first save.

So the tournament’s dogged dark horses defeated the sprightly favourites. England coach Jason Lee said it was "a poor performance, a great result”, before adding, “I’m off to buy a lottery ticket”.

By the time England’s match was finishing, the atmosphere in the 16,000 stadium, was electric before the meeting of hosts India and Pakistan. To the huge delight of the crowd India were comfortable 4-1 winners.

The other winners in England’s group were Spain who beat South Africa, England’s next opponents tomorrow (Tuesday), 4-2 in the opening game.

The Telegraph



Brit grit stuns mighty Aussies in Hockey World Cup

V Narayan Swamy


NEW DELHI: After 14 penalty corners and innumerable video referrals, favourites Australia lay beaten by a determined England 3-2 in a major upset in the second game of the Hockey World Cup on Sunday.

It was a memorable day for England hockey as they posted their fifth-ever victory against Australia. In fact, the last time they beat their archrivals was 25 years ago in a friendly in Melbourne.

James Tindall scored a brace in the 33rd and 45th minutes after England replied superbly to Australia's 23rd-minute goal with a thundering penalty corner conversion by Ashley Jackson.

Skipper Jamie Dwyer put his team ahead with a penalty stroke before returning in the second half to find the other off a penalty corner.

It was a story of missed chances for the Australians. Up against a determined England that had jam-packed its defence, they were clueless. England were too resolute, pushing and prodding but getting their reflexes and edges right.

The first few minutes did provide the foretaste but the pendulum swung inexorably towards Australia. There were penalty corners that were close and there were others which brought the best out of goalkeeper James Fair. However, a stickcheck on Edward Ockenden saw England fall back in arrears when Dwyer converted the penalty stroke.

Then came the Jackson stunner. Dragging the ball with all his might, he relayed it home in a mighty heave, leaving the Kookaburras gasping and the Englishmen celebrating. In the 33rd minute, an indirect conversion of a penalty corner by Tindall had them sense victory for the first time as they went into the break.

The reasons for the optimism were plenty. For one, Australia were hopelessly off target. For another, they were mysteriously tense in the striking circle, either letting go of chances or making a hash of penalty corners.

The trend was pretty much the same in the second half. England pushed their luck with referrals too, winning a few of them and quite naturally breaking the Aussie rhythm.

The Times of India



England pull off first upset of World Cup, beat Australia 3-2

NEW DELHI: European champion England registered the first upset of the FIH World Cup, stunning Olympic silver medallist Australia 3-1 in second Pool B match of the quadrennial event at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Sunday.

Ashley Jackson (25th minute) and James Tindall (34th, 45th) were sounded the board for England, while captain Jamie Dwyer (24th, 66th) scored both the goals for the World number two Australia.

The Australians might consider themselves unlucky today as they earned as many as 12 penalty corners but wasted all of them, whereas English side scored from two of their three short corners.

Contrary to the result, Australia was the dominant side in the first half earning as many as five penalty corners but failed to convert a single one, which definitely did not go down well with their coach Ric Charlesworth.

The Aussies applied pressure on the English from the start and earned their two short corners within first five minutes of the match but on both occasions Like Doerner was off target.

But as expectedly, it was the Aussies who opened the scoring in the 24th minute through their inspirational skipper Dwyer from a penalty stroke after England goalie James Fair made a stick check foul inside the Dee.

However, the lead lasted just a minute as Jackson made it 1-1, converting England's second penalty corner with aplomb.

To the much disappointment of the Aussies, nine minutes later, James Tindall scored from England's third penalty corner to go into the breather with a 2-1 lead.

Down by a goal, Australia came out firing in the second half and made repeated inroads into their opponent citadel but each time the English defence stood firm to deny the equaliser to the Aussies.

Ten minutes into the second half England doubled their lead when Tindall scored his second goal of the day and seventh of the World Cup from eight outings.

The English centre-forward gently tapped the ball inside the Australian goal from an Iain Mackay pass to hand his team a 3-1 lead.

From thereon, Australia exerted immense pressure on the English defence and earned penalty corners at will but their efforts went in vain till the 66th minute of the match.

Dwyer again came to his side's rescue and reduced the margin in the 66th minute after a combination with Matthew Butturini from a penalty corner.

Four minutes from the hooter, Australia got a chance to draw parity when they were awarded their 13th penalty corner.

But the on-field umpires' decision was overruled by video umpire after England appealed for a referral, which virtually summed up the day for the reigning Champions Trophy winners.

The Times of India



England defeat Australia 3-2 in hockey World Cup opener

England's first World Cup win over the Kookaburras since 1975 gave a dramatic start to the latest edition in New Delhi after Olympic silver-medallists Spain beat South Africa 4-2 in the opening match.

Australia captain Jamie Dwyer scored twice, including a penalty stroke, but Jason Lee's European champions played outstanding hockey to rattle their fancied opponents.

England had last beaten Australia at the 1975 World Cup in Malaysia, before losing seven straight games in the sport's showpiece tournament.

Dwyer's stroke in the 23rd minute put Australia ahead, but England drew level two minutes later through a penalty corner by Ashley Jackson.

Tindall then scored on either side of the break as England led 3-1 until four minutes before the final whistle when Dwyer narrowed the margin with a field goal.

Australia's Glenn Turner wasted two good chances near the end, while England's protest against a penalty corner being awarded to the Kookaburras in the last minute was upheld by the video umpire.

Australia paid dearly for converting just one of their 13 penalty corners in the match.

Australia and England are drawn in group B alongside Spain, South Korea, India and Pakistan, with two teams advancing to the semi-finals.

Group A comprises defending champions Germany, the Netherlands, Argentina, Canada, South Korea and New Zealand.

South Africa, ranked No.13 in the world, stunned No.3 Spain with the first goal in the 16th minute through a lightning strike by Julian Hykes.

Spain, who lost to Germany in the Beijing Olympics final, hit back with two goals in three minutes through Roc Oliva and David Alegre to take a 2-1 lead by the 21st minute.

The African champions, however, equalised five minutes before the break when Ian Haley pushed in a goal following a rebound off a penalty corner.

Spain returned after the interval to score through Rodrigo Garza, before Pau Quemada made it 4-2 with a stinging penalty corner hit.

The 12-nation tournament began amid heavy security at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium in the Indian capital, with some 19,000 security personnel and 200 commandos on guard inside and outside the venue.

Fox Sports



Charlesworth angry at video referral

NEW DELHI: Australian coach Ric Charlesworth on Sunday said the video referral system had made his side's life difficult with many wrong decisions against them during the 2-3 loss to England in their first match of the hockey World Cup.

"The umpires made lots of decisions against us and the video referral decisions went against us. It happened in the Champions Trophy in Australia last year also. But it is the system here, what can we do," he said at the post-match press conference.

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

Charlesworth said his boys were to blame themselves for the defeat as they missed chances galore, including 12 penalty corners of which they converted only one.

"We missed at least 28 chances and how can win if you missed like that. We did not do well in penalty corner conversion. We are disappointed. Now our next match against India on Tuesday has become a must-win match," he said.

"But this is not the first time we are in such a situation and it is a long way to go in the tournament," said Charlesworth who had coached India earlier.

Australia captain Jamie Dwyer was also a disappointed man and said his side will have to put up a good performance against India on Tuesday in front of their home crowd.

"We are disappointed and it was frustrating that you have lots of chances and you don't convert them. We have to recover and regroup before the India match.

"The crowd was fantastic today and they would be cheering the Indians on Tuesday. We have to come up with a much improved performance against India," he said.

England captain Barry Middleton said that they were happy to have a winning start in the tournament but add that his side would have to improve their performance.

"It is a great start in the tournament, especially a win against Australia. But we would not wanted that Australia had so many chances though they did not capitalise on them.

"We think we can beat any top side of the world on our day. The win has not changed our target of reaching the semifinal but we have to improve in the next matches," he said.

The Times of India



Happy Holi! India rout Pakistan 4-1 in Hockey World Cup

Alok Sinha


NEW DELHI: Who says Indian hockey is dead? If you were inside the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Sunday night and heard the crowd roar as a band of fighting, swinging, diving, rocking Indians raced to victory over arch-rivals Pakistan, you would have vowed to return again.

And to learn to love the forgotten boys of Indian sport once again. It was a night of redemption for the Blue Shirts. India had been demolished 7-1 by Pakistan inside this very stadium in 1982 in the Asian Games final.

They never recovered from there, losing the fans' interest and slipping into oblivion. The 4-1 win in their opening match of the World Cup on Sunday washed away the bitterness of that humiliation. Yes, it was goosebumps night, a match to savour and cherish and one to take home with you, to stay with you forever.

The signs were all there in the evening. Fans were trooping in, draped in the Tricolour, restless to see magic on the turf. The crowd of 16,000 was mesmerized and went home more than satiated. Holi will certainly acquire a new flavour on Monday.

A lot of credit for this win goes to the Indian coaching team. It was a great tactical move to rest first goalkeeper Adrian D'Souza and play PR Sreejesh. The idea was to surprise Pakistan's main weapon Sohail Abbas, the drag flick king of the world.

Abbas was floored completely and walked away with a lost look in his eyes. Pakistan earned six penalty corners and Abbas could convert only one. That settled it, nice and proper. However, two of his rasping hits came back from the post as even luck deserted Pakistan.

Beyond that, there were many heroes in the Indian camp. The defenders and midfielders were simply awesome as they kept the ball in possession in the first half, which helped India dictate terms. And when the time to drive the point home came, Sandeep Singh showed why he is feared by most goalkeepers in the world.

He slammed home two through penalty corners, his scorching flicks giving Pakistan goalkeeper Salman Akbar no chance. But before that he set the tempo when India earned their second penalty corner.

Sandeep's flick crashed into Akbar's pads and Shivendra Singh did the rest, slotting the rebound home with glee. What struck most was the manner in which Indians went for the ball.

They were relentless in their bid to keep the Pakistanis away from the ball. They dived, they lunged, endlessly, tirelessly. It was fascinating to watch India play possession hockey. No wonder, they were 2-0 up at the end of the first half as Pakistan hardly got a good look at India's goal.

The second half began with a bang as Prabhjot Singh scored in a counter-attack. It was simply too big a task for Pakistan from there. They did wake up and tried to attack but were foiled well by Sreejesh and the Indian defenders. Sandeep's second and India's fourth goal in the 55th minute left nobody with any doubts.

The fans became noisier, the pace of the game picked up and Pakistan slipped into desperation mode. It did yield them a goal but that was that.

A word for India's Spanish coach Jose Brasa. His use of the rotational substitution was terrific. Rarely has one seen players come in and go out with such frequency. This also speaks for India's bench strength. All 16 are good enough to battle with the best.

As for the players, there was no lack of effort on any count. Sardara Singh, captain Rajpal Singh, Shivendra Singh were all very good. Midfielder Bharat had a great game.

It is still early days in the tournament but it is not the time to look ahead now. Its a time to celebrate. Bring out the colours!

The Times of India



India beat Pakistan 4-1 in Hockey World Cup

NEW DELHI: Ace drag-flicker Sandeep Singh rose to the occasion and converted two penalty corners as hosts India outplayed Pakistan 4-1 in a thrilling Pool B match of the Hero Honda FIH World Cup at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Sunday.

With this victory India had avenged their 3-6 Champions Challenge defeat at the hands of the sub-continental rivals in Salta, Argentina last December.

The victory not only gave India a 3-2 head-to-head record against Pakistan in the quadrennial event but also one lakh purse each to the players and support staff of the team.

Sandeep (35th minute, 57th), Shivendra Singh (27th) and Prabhjot Singh (37th) were the scorers for India, while Sohail Abbas (59th) scored Pakistan's lone goal.

Both India and Pakistan earned five penalty corners each, out of which the home team converted two while their opponent found the net once.

The match was also of huge significance for India and Pakistan on diplomatic front as both the countries are meeting in the sporting arena in India for the first time after 26/11 Mumbai carnage.

Sensing the pressure and stake associated with the high-profile encounter, India applied pressure on their next door neighbours from the onset and used both the flanks effectively.

If not for Salman Akbar, Pakistan would have been down by a bigger margin in the half time. The Pakistani goalkeeper came to his side's rescue on more than one occasion.

First Akbar denied Tushar Khandekar a chance to register his name in the scoreboard by stopping the Indian forwards' powerful strike as early as in the seventh minute of the match and then gloved away Diwakar Ram's flick from the hosts' first penalty corner in the 16th minute.

India's domination can be gauged from the fact that they thoroughly outrolled the mid-field with Pakistan hardly making inroads into their rival's goal in the first half.

India's constant pressure eventually resulted in the first goal of the match through hardworking Shivendra, who scored from a rebound after Sandeep's grounded flick was saved by Akbar off the hosts' second penalty corner in the 25th minute.

If that was not enough for Pakistan, India doubled their lead just five second from the interval from a set-piece.

India earned their third penalty corner after the home team appealed for a foot foul and the video umpire upheld their appeal. Sandeep made no mistake this time and sounded the board to the much delight of the capacity crowd to go into the breather with a 2-0 lead.

Playing before their home crowd, the motivated Indians started from where they left in the first half and made it 3-0 two minutes into the second half when veteran forward Prabhjot Singh scored from a goal-mouth melee.

The Times of India



Pak caught in Indian fourtress

India trounce Pak in opener

Prabhjot Singh

Playing their hearts out, Indian hockey players could not have given the nation a bigger Holi gift than a mesmerizing 4-1 win over Pakistan to make a winning start in the 12th World Cup here tonight.

The win, their third in World Cup games against Pakistan, got the team a standing ovation from a nearly three-fourth filled Major Dhyan Chand National Hockey Stadium. And there were many in the stands who had witnessed as members of the 1982 Asian Games team had suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Pakistan. They had tears, for Rajpal Singh, and his men had taken sweet revenge on what was India’s day.

While the hero of home team’s triumph was definitely drag flicker Sandeep Singh, but to be honest none could be singled out as everyone played the game of their lives. Goalkeeper Sreejesh did a wonderful job under the bar while Sardar Singh, Sandeep Singh, Gurbaj, Vikram Pillay, Prabhjot Singh, Shivendra Singh, Deepak Thakur and skipper Rajpal Singh, for example, peaked at the right moment.

Best hockey by the home team was in the first 20 minutes. It was perhaps the best ever show by the Indian team in past two decades.

IOA president Suresh Kalmadi was on hand to announce a cash award of Rs 1 lakh to each member of the team as well as its supporting staff. And the Union Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs, MS Gill, again proved to be lucky for India. It was after he took over that India won its first ever individual Olympic gold at Beijing. And today, he was here to watch the game.

If Pakistan were outplayed, it was partially because luck did not side with them. Sohail Abbas, the most dreaded drag flicker from penalty corners in contemporary hockey, had two of his powerful flicks hitting the crosspiece and bouncing back into play. He could score only once from six penalty corners. Their other star performer Rehan Butt, too, could not make any dent in the solid Indian defence where man-to-man marking was seen to be believed.

Though Pakistan had made attempts to stage a comeback in the second half after Shivendra Singh and Sandeep had given India a 2-0 lead at the breather, yet they could not do much against an inspired Indian defence.

But Prabhjot’s brilliant opportunist goal after Arjun Halappa’s attempt had been blocked by Pakistani custodian Salman Akbar had given the home team a 3-0 lead with 31 minutes of the game remaining.

And when Sandeep struck from the fifth penalty corner, the issue had been safely clinched with Pakistanis, leg weary, as they looked, could not get past Indian defence. And Sohail, too, did not help them much.

Neither in 1982, when India played host to the World Cup for the first time, nor in 1992 when Pakistan became the host, the two traditional rivals did get a chance to play each other. Though Pakistan won the title in Mumbai in 1982, they had to contend themselves with runners-up slot while playing host to the 1992 edition in Lahore.

India did not name its skipper Rajpal Singh and main goaltender Adrian D’ Souza in the starting XI. Even Deepak Thakur was also excluded.

Excitement in the stands was understandable as it was after along gap that any Pakistani national team was playing in India. Last time was the 2006 Test series. With an enthusiastic and supportive crowd at its back, the home team started on an impressive note. Dishing out immaculate hockey, Indians not only excelled in their skillful bursts, precision and perfect coordination and understanding, but also had the Pakistanis tied in a knot for the first 20 minutes.

The Tribune



Bharat Chikara towers over Rehan Butt, relentlessly

G Rajaraman

The 23-year-old Bharat Chikara may concede many inches to the gangling Rehan Butt but the dapper Indian towered over Pakistan’s star in the teams’ inaugural match in the Hero Honda FIH World Cup on a heady Sunday night when you could have reached out and felt the electricity that charged the Maj. Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

The man of the match Sandeep Singh scored once in each half while Shivendra Singh and Prabhjot Singh pumped in one each as India piled immense pressure on the Pakistan defence. Yet, it was really the Indian midfield that won the day and helped India win 4-1. And none shone brighter than Bharat Chikara who gave Rehan Butt little elbow room to showcase his magical skills.

In a sport in which the focus is usually on the strikers and, less frequently, the goalkeepers, it needs a command performance from a midfielder to steal the thunder from under everyone else’s nose. And Bharat Chhikara did just that – and to make things so much better, the Haryana player with just over 50 caps did it without much ado.

To say that he shadowed Rehan Butt would be taking away the sheen from Bharat Chikara’s efforts. For shadowing entails being in the slipstream of the rival player. On the contrary, the tough left-half was half a step ahead of the Pakistan spearhead and almost intuitively anticipated his every twist, every feint right through the game.

It is another matter that the midfielder thought his performance was quite average. “I gave Rehan Butt some room early on and I think I could have been better,” he told me after the match when the media largely ignored him and pursued the scorers. “I got a fair idea of how he thinks and moves from the match in the Champions Challenge I in Argentina in December last.”

But he can draw heart from the fact that coach Jose Brasa picked him and Sardara Singh as the Indian players of the night. “We were better than Pakistan in all our lines – be it defence, midfield or forwards – but I know that we could have played better,” he said. “Having said that, I believe Bharat and Sardara led the team’s collective effort.”

Truth to tell, the others in the Indian midfield played their hearts out as well, falling back deep to defend but showing no hesitation in pressing forward and forcing Pakistan to be on the backfoot much of the time, ensuring that goalkeeper P R Sreejesh was rarely tested. On a night when the woodwork favoured India by blocking two of Sohail Abbas’s penalty corner strikes, the intensity that Bharat Chikara displayed was matched by his team-mates.

Sardara Singh, for example, showed nerves of steel and a large heart as he played the pivotal role in ensuring that many Pakistan moves did not assume dangerous proportions and the Indian attack was well fed. Arjun Halappa and Dhananjay Mahadik had their moments as well on a night when India’s collective effort – and this included the pressure exerted from the stands -- outweighed the Pakistan.

Stick2Hockey.com



India rout Pakistan in hot start to World Cup


Get in: India's Shivendra Singh and Tushar Khandker celebrate Photo: REUTERS


New Delhi - India outplayed arch-rivals Pakistan 4-1 in the men's field hockey World Cup on Sunday as England stunned hot favourites Australia 3-2 on a dramatic opening day.

Sandeep Singh banged in two penalty corners to help India record their first win in the last four matches against Pakistan before some 19,000 delirious home fans at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

Shivendra Singh and Prabjot Singh chipped in with a goal each as India wiped off memories of a 1-7 humiliation at Pakistan's hands in the Asian Games final at the same venue in New Delhi in 1982.

India led 4-0 before Sohail Abbas, the world's only player to score more than 300 international goals, narrowed the margin for Pakistan by converting just one of his six penalty corners.

England's win in another group B match, highlighted by two goals from James Tindall, was their first over Australia in a World Cup match since the 3-1 scoreline in the 1975 edition in Malaysia.

Australian captain Jamie Dwyer scored twice, including a penalty stroke, but Jason Lee's European champions played outstanding hockey to rattle their fancied opponents.

Dwyer's stroke in the 23rd minute put Australia ahead, but England drew level two minutes later through a penalty corner by Ashley Jackson.

Tindall then scored on either side of the break as England led 3-1 till four minutes before the final whistle when Dwyer narrowed the margin with a field goal.

Australia's Glenn Turner wasted two good chances near the end, while England's protest against a penalty corner being awarded to the Kookaburras in the last minute was upheld by the video umpire.

Australia paid dearly for converting just one of their 13 penalty corners in the match.

"Records are meant to be broken, so doing it after 35 years was pleasing, but not any different because we are also one of the top sides in the game," said England captain Barry Middleton.

"We are looking to reach the semi-finals, and this win will definitely help. But we gave Australia a lot of chances today and must avoid that in future."

Australian coach Ric Charlesworth said he was disappointed to lose the first match in the tournament.

"We had enough chances, I think we had at least 28 shots at the goal and if we did not take them, the blame is on us," he said.

"England defended well. We have been in such situations before and come out of it. We just need to play better."

In the day's first match, Olympic silver-medallists Spain came back from a 0-1 deficit to defeat a fighting South Africa 4-2.

All six teams that featured on the opening day are drawn in group B from where the top two advance to the semi-finals.

Group A comprises defending champions Germany, the Netherlands, Argentina, Canada, South Korea and New Zealand.

The 12-nation tournament began amid heavy security in the Indian capital, with some 19,000 security personnel and 200 commandos on guard inside and outside the venue.

Independent Online



Faster and Fitter India 4-1

s2h Team


There could not have been a better start the orgnizers would have thought for the home edition of world cup to unfold. Indian hockey, on this day, the opening day of the 12th World Cup outplayed Pakistan 4-1 to garner full three points.

Playing againt the packed stadium, India scored through Shivender Singh, Prabhjot Singh and inbetween Sandeep Singh made a grand brace of goals.

On a day, England defeated highly rated Australia in a thrilling contest, India lived upto the expectations with precise passes, nice traps and faster foot.

Though it appeared a one way traffic for India, a huge credit should go to young PR Sreejesh, who singlehandledly thwarted two penalty corners of dreaded Sohail Abbas.

Jose Brasa deserves credit for the bold step of fielding PR Sreejesh, a step that would have come in for criticism had the result gone the other way

Within two minutes after the change of sides, Prabhot Singh bounced on a short rebound from Salman Akber, Pak goalie, and put it above the head of him who was by now on the ground in a desparate attempt to block the ball. The stadium was nearly packed despite heavy security, and they have gone satisfied.

The match started on a brisk note, with India on the ball for most part in the first half.

It was Shivender, trapping a rebound sent home the ball in a melee for the India's opener. This score of course came after many near misse.

India pressed at the fag end of the first half, and a near penalty corner was in the asking, but it had come only after the team registered a TV referal. With just second remaining and after the hooter, Sandeep Singh dragfliced to consolidate the score at lemon time.

Stick2Hockey.com



India wins against Pakistan by 4-1 in opening match

NEW DELHI: India won against Pakistan by 4-1 in pool match of  12th Hockey World Cup at Dhyan Chand National Stadium here tonight. Enjoying advantage of the home ground and crowed, Indian team played attacking hockey in first half and scored two goals while in the second Half, particularly during the last twenty minutes Pakistan was dominating the game but remained unlucky as it missed golden opportunities to equalize the game.

Sandeep (35th minute, 57th), Shivendra Singh (27th) and Prabhjot Singh (37th) were the scorers for India, while Pakistan’s Penalty corner specialist Sohail Abbas scored Pakistan’s lone goal in 59th minute.

Both India and Pakistan earned five penalty corners each, out of which the Indian team converted two while Pakistan only one. Sohail Abbas remained unlucky as his shots missed the goal post.  India used both its flanks effectively. Pakistani goal keeper Salman saved some sure goals.

Family members of officers and staff of Pakistan High Commission were present in the ground with Pakistani flags. They encouraged the Pakistan team by raising slogans.

Owing to tight security, some of the pavilions of the stadium were empty.

Pakistan will play its second Pool B match against Spain on March 2 at 6.30 pm (local time)

Associated Press of Pakistan



It’s not all over yet- Shahid Ali Khan

ISLAMABAD: India Beat Pakistan 4-1 in Hockey World Cup in their World Cup 2010 match at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium in New Delhi on February 28, 2010.  It was India’s first victory against Pakistan at a World Cup since 1975.

It was the same venue where India had tasted one of their biggest defeats against Pakistan when they lost 7-1 in the Asian Games in 1982.

Pakistan’s ace penalty corner expert Sohail Abbas, the world’s only player to score more than 300 international goals pulled one back late in the game (59th), converting their fifth penalty corner, but by then the writing was already clear on the wall in the first World Cup encounter between the two sides in 24 years.

However, two of his rasping hits came back from the post as even luck deserted Pakistan.

It could well be called that luck was on Indian player’s side and went all out against their opponents.

“It’s just a normal win and three points for us, we must keep our feet on the ground,” India coach Jose Brasa was quoted in a statement saying at sify.com.

“We dominated the first half, but we were not up to mark in second half and still managed to score two lucky goals.”

“After falling behind by three goals, it was always going to be difficult to bounce back,” Pakistan coach Shahid Ali Khan said.

“But this isn’t the end of the tournament.”

“It was difficult to come back after being down 3-0,” he said.

“The Indians played really well. The players are obviously very disappointed, but we must not lose heart.

“We can still do well in the tournament. It’s not all over yet.”

Associated Press of Pakistan



Tactical reading of India-Pakistan match

V Narayan Swamy


A rousing win for a tactically and physically superior India. The penalty corner conversions by Sandeep Singh, the versatility of India's midfield and the workhorse like qualities of the defence all put India on the pedestal against Pakistan.

Where India won it: A strong midfield which saw Sardar Singh emerge a clear winner, an imaginative linkman in Arjun Halappa saw the forwardline kept busy. India's penalty corners were all results of quickfire forays that had the Pakistanis groping for answers. The option of swift switch in the line of end, India's defence had commissioned enough men to keep them safe. Leading them was Vikram Pillay.

Where Pakistan won it: Not in many areas. The midfield control was fleeting but that was where Waseem Ahmed tried his best to keep his flock together. Sohail Abbas looked dangerous in two penalty corners.

Sparklers: Vikram Pillay who spanned the entire area from defence to attack, Arjun Halappa, Sardar Singh and the forwardline comprising skipper Rajpal Singh, Prabhjot Singh, Tushar Khandekar, Deepak Thakur and Gurvinder Chandi.

Duds: Rehan Butt and Shakeel Abbasi. Sohail to an extent, as he was not at his lethal best.

In the final analysis: Pakistan were beaten by a superior team. India's gameplan was to set the pace and maintain it. Superior fitness came to their aid. Midfield supremacy and the space Pakistan provided in the last 30 metres saw India push for the kill. Perhaps, they could have done well to slacken the pace, conserve energy before swinging into action again. That perhaps would have made them more complete. Winning penalty corners have become an art now.

The Times of India



Brasa satisfied with showing

Y.B. Sarangi


NEW DELHI: India coach Jose Brasa was satisfied that the team kept its emotions under control to register a thumping 4-1 win over Pakistan and start its campaign in the Hero Honda World Cup on a positive note.

Brasa said the side jelled well and deserved to celebrate the win. “We played very well in the first half, we created a lot of chances. In the second half, we lost a little bit of control,” he said.

Brasa played down the emotional part of the highly charged-up match. “We should not forget that it was just a match and we got three points. That is important. It was a normal match. We have to keep our feet on the ground and continue to play well,” he said.

“I am happy that the players were not emotional,” he added.

The Spaniard said good mid-field play and solid marking were the key factors in keeping Pakistan subdued. He denied that fielding young goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh ahead of the experienced Adrian D'Souza was part of any strategy.

Brasa showered praise on Sandeep Singh for his effective drag-flicks and Dhananjay Mahadik for his impressive work in the deep defence.

India captain Rajpal Singh said the aim was to create more penalty corners and bank on Sandeep.

Pakistan coach Shahid Ali Khan appreciated India's effort.

“India was better than us,” he said.

He said drag-flicker Sohail Abbas was unlucky to miss a few goals.

After England's stunning victory over Australia, Ashley Jackson, who scored the first goal for England, said his team was boosted by the support of the vociferous Indian crowd.

“The crowd support behind a team is a great experience,” he said.

Jackson said being pushed hard by Australia would help his team in coming matches.

Australian skipper Jamie Dwyer took the defeat in a sporting manner.

“We have two days before the match against India, that will give us time to prepare well,” he said.

The Hindu



We played with brain and not emotions: Brasa

NEW DELHI: India coach Jose Brasa hailed his men for "playing with the brain and not emotions" in the 4-1 outplaying of Pakistan in their thrilling hockey World Cup opening match here but advised them not to get carried away by Sunday's result.

"It was great we won 4-1. The boys played really well and they deserved to win. They played with brain and not with emotions," said Brasa, who had before the match advised his players to cut off emotions against Pakistan.

"But it was just a match and we got three points and nothing else. We should keep our feet on the ground as we have a long way to go with very tough matches coming up," said Brasa at the post-match press conference.

"But no doubt the boys played to the plan. We played really well in the first half. We played as a team. We had a lot of control in the first half. Our midfield played well, cutting off the passes by Pakistan. In the second half we lost some concentration," he added.

He said Sandeep Singh played very well in the match but also added that he can do better in remaining matches.

"Sandeep played really well but he can do better and I think he will do better in the coming matches," Brasa said.

Asked why Sreejesh Raveendran manned the Indian goal instead of Adrian D'Souza, he said, "There is no injury or anything on Adrian. We have two very good goalkeepers and we thought Sreejesh would do well today."

Captain Rajpal Singh said his side had a plan to play attacking game and earned a lot of penalty corners and the strategy clicked.

"We had a plan to play an attacking game and get lots of penalty corners, we did that. We played really well in the first half but Pakistan tried to bounce back in the second half," he said.

Asked whether India really outplayed Pakistan, he said, "We played better than them. But now we have some tough matches coming up and we hope to play even better."

Meanwhile, Pakistan coach Shahid Ali Khan conceded that India played much better than Pakistan but promised that his side will bounce back in the tournament.

"Full credit to India, they played really well. They dominated the first half and our forwardline did not click. Indian defence marked our forwards really well. We had some control in the second half. But it was difficult to come back from 0-2 down after the first half," he said.

"We were also unlucky that we missed two chances as Sohail Abbas' two drag flicks hit the cross bar. Had his first penalty corner was converted it might been a different thing. But it is a long way to go in the tournament and we will bounce back in the remaining matches," he said.

Shahid said the Indian midfield domination made all the difference.

"We used to control midfield against them but it was different today. The Indians controlled the midfield that made all the difference," he said.

"We planned to build attacks through short passes but it never really happened. At times our players were just trying to release the ball from the striking circle and sent down long passes," Shahid said.

The Pakistan coach was happy with the performance of drag-flicker Sohail.

"He scored a goal and then missed two chances with the ball hitting the crossbar twice. What more would I want," he said.

Pakistan captain Zeshan Ashraf said after the first half deficit his side could not come back.

"India controlled the first half and we tried to control the game in the second half. But the first half 0-2 made the difference," he said.

The Times of India



Kalmadi announces Rs 1 lakh each for players, support staff

NEW DELHI: The Indian players and the support staff would be rewarded with Rs one lakh each for the superb 4-1 win over Pakistan in their hockey World Cup opening match, Indian Olympic Association President Suresh Kalmadi announced on Sunday.

A delighted Kalmadi patted the players and coach Jose Brasa for the thrilling win against Pakistan.

"The players played really well. It is a great start in the tournament. What (former coach) Ric Charlesworth could not not do Brasa has done. Full credit to Brasa and the players. They will be given Rs 1 lakh each," Kalmadi said after the match.

Experienced forward Prabhjot Singh, who scored a goal, said it was like celebrating 'Holi' a day in advance.

"We were delighted to win the match, we played as a team. It is like celebrating "Holi' in advance," Prabhjot said after the match.

Drag-flicker Sandeep Singh, who scored two goals, was happy to have contributed to the team's cause and said his side will have to now think of playing Australia.

"I am happy to have scored twice and helped the team win. It is great feeling but we have a tough match against Australia on Tuesday. Australia are a very strong side though they lost to England today. We have a job at hand," said Sandeep, whose birthday fell on Saturday.

Pakistan striker Rehan Butt, who scored thrice in his side's 6-3 win against India when the two sides met last time in Argentina last December, said he was a bit surprised by the Indian domination.

"Yes, I would say I was a bit surprised. India played really well. If India maintain this form they will surely reach the semifinals," he said.

"We are still in the tournament. We can bounce back still. We have to improve our performance and we can beat any side on our day. If we also reach semifinal it will be great for Asian hockey," said Rehan, who is known as 'rat' for his goal-poaching abilities especially against India.

Meanwhile, Sahara India Pariwar also announced a reward of Rs 2 lakh for every player, coach and assistant coach of the Indian hockey team.

"The way Indian hockey players have played is fantastic. Sahara India Pariwar chairman Subrata Roy had earlier promised that if the Indian team come out with good performance in the World Cup, he will reward the players," Abhijit Sarkar, chief corporate communication officer of Sahara, said.

"We are very proud that India has won their opening match against Pakistan in a grand and convincing manner. Sahara India Pariwar is announcing Rs 2 lakh for each player, coach and assistance coach as a token of appreciation and love," Sarkar added.

The Times of India



School Children are the first to cheer up the air

s2h Team


School children from four reputed schools are the first to reach the stadium today on the eve of the ball being put on the turf in the first match of the World Cup.

SAIL, the presenting partner of the world cup -- that has come home India after a hiatus of 28 years -- brought Salwan School, Rajinder Nagar, boys and girls for the inaugural day.

S2h interacted with them, and posed a question.

Name a hockey player? Sandeep, (and ubiquitous), Dhanraj Pillay. Pat came these two names.

Have you seen any hockey matches before?. None of them have ever but a smart student is an exception, said, yes. undefined What match was it?

India-pakistan, he replied.

India – Pakistan? How it can be. That match will be played only tonight, still six hours are left for that? How could you see in advance.

The School PET came for the rescue. That must some old repeat telecast.

So, the show goes on here.

These children are specifically brought by the SAIL to accompany teams on the turf, and involve them with hockey.

An officials said that daily a new school will be brought to feel, interact and mingle with the great hockey environment here.

This is a great happening in our city, our children are enjoying, said Chetan Mallick, the who is accompanying the Salwan school.

Stick2Hockey.com



Crowd frenzy marks India-Pak match

NEW DELHI: Typical of any India-Pakistan encounter, it was a humdinger of a match with a near-capacity crowd cheering every home team move in their hockey World Cup opening match at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium on Sunday.

Deafening sounds of cheer reverberated the stadium whenever an Indian player won the ball or the home team made a good move. The crowd was on feet with unrestrained joy when India scored the four goals in the match to win it 4-1.

There were collective deep sigh of relief when Pakistan missed a chance just like Sohail Abbas' drag-flick in the two penalty corners he took -- one on either side of the breather -- which hit the crossbar after beating Indian goalkeeper Sreejesh Raveendran.

Among the crowd, many carried Indian flags. A few Pakistani flags were also seen in the crowd.

The stadium, which can have at least 16,000 spectators, was, however, not full to the brim or choc-a-bloc as was anticipated earlier even though the match was played on a Sunday. Some empty seats were seen at a few blocks of the stadium.

Moreover, a large posse of policemen were also seen at the stands due to the stringent security measures.

Even the second match of the day between Australia and England saw a large crowd as more than half of the stadium was full, apparently due to the India-Pakistan clash.

Many spectators were seen dancing when the Indian players ran lap of honour around the ground after the match.

The Times of India



Black marketeers cash in on craze for hockey

NEW DELHI: The stifling security arrangements for the Hockey World Cup may have allayed fears but keeping black marketeers at bay, it seems, is a different proposition altogether.

On Sunday, hours before the start of the much-awaited World Cup match between India and Pakistan, black marketers got their act together and did brisk business in the very presence of policemen.

The mismanagement in ticket sales, which led to several genuine hockey lovers being deprived of a ticket for the much-sought-after India-Pakistan game, provided the perfect opportunity for a few to earn some quick bucks.

In a cricket-like frenzy, people were seen buying tickets at twice the price.

"I had got two tickets for the Rs 100 stand, but while entering I was approached by people who asked me if I needed any," said Mayank, a college student. Added another: "I was looking for a ticket for so many days but didn't know where to buy. So when one man offered me two tickets, I could not resist paying a few more rupees. I cannot afford to miss the excitement of the match."

Interestingly, a constable who was not very far from the scene where tickets were exchanging hands, did not seem to mind. "Let them do it," he said, "It shows hockey is not dead. It's good for the game that its demand has let people buy tickets in black."

The Times of India



Disorder continues to dog Hockey World Cup

The chaos and the confusion continues. If one thought things would improve once the event started, he was grossly mistaken. If it was bad outside, it was worse inside.

It took an hour of struggle to enter the stadium. The cops hadn't been informed of the time to let the media in. Once you enter, you are not allowed to come out; you can't even move out to make a phone call.

To add to it, there was no power in the enclosure for the major part of the evening, not even in the media centre. The passing-the-buck trend continued unabated, with one group blaming the other. And when the problem could not be solved, the people concerned made a vanishing act. One can only pray for sanity to prevail in the days to come.

The faux pas was not confined off the field; things happened on-field too. The sprinkler was the first to malfunction, with water falling everywhere except where it needed to.

The poor cameramen, sitting beside the pitch, were at the receiving end of the water canon, particularly their cameras. The technical officials even had to take the help of the good old water pipe to wet the dry areas of the pitch.

Hurt umpire holds up play

We have heard of matches being stopped when players get injured. But ever heard of a match being stopped because of umpire getting injured? That rare thing happened during the first match between Spain and South Africa.

The play had to be stopped for nearly 10 minutes when umpire Colin Hutchinson reacted late to a rasping shot and was struck on his leg. When the painkilling sprays failed to work, reserve umpire Amarjit Singh of Malaysia had to step in to complete the match.

The Times of India



World Cup Diary

Off colour off the field

Prabhjot Singh writes from New Delhi


Hockey by chalaki (hockey by intrigues) had been an adage that lost its relevance long time ago. Rather, those who tried to fox their opponents by finer intricacies of the game were punished not only with free hits against their sides but were at times given even green or yellow cards. But now this trait associated with the game has travelled from players to the organisers, including the International Hockey Federation, Hockey India, the Indian Olympic Association and the Organising Committee of the 12th World Cup.

From entry to the Major Dhyan Chand National Hockey Stadium, the venue of the competition, to free interaction with participating teams, team officials, technical officials and even access to the media centre was delayed till last day. Interestingly, it was all blame game. FIH, HI and the IOA putting the entire blame on the security forces, including the police for all chaos that gave this mega event, second time in India since 1982, a foul start. The FIH chief even tried to get away with it by saying he had problems in getting into the stadium.

None was ready to talk about tickets. The online portal gave no indication about VIP tickets that many of overseas Indian hockey fans wanted to buy. Many of them landed here to be frustrated further. Tickets are no more available. Further availability of tickets, they feel, would depend upon the outcome of India-Pakistan match. If India wins, tickets will remain available only at a premium. Otherwise, there would be no takers. It is why they say that final is being played on the opening day of the fortnight long tournament.

Among those unable to get pass, invite or tickets has been German-based orthopaedician Joginder Singh. He has come here with his German wife, daughter and son-in-law with the fond hope that his long association with the team as a doctor would be recognised. In spite of his best of efforts and contacts, both in HI and the IOA, he felt disappointed and started considering returning to Germany even before the tournament got a day old.

Equally disappointed was MS Binepal and his son, Yitender who came all the way from Kenya to watch the World Cup. They had been trying for a month to get VIP tickets of Rs 1,000 each for initial matches and Rs 1,500 tickets for the final. So far they have got none.

Stan and Margaret Salazar from Australia, too, have a similar story to tell. They had been following Indian team in World Cups and Olympics. But home ground experience had been too ‘awful’ for them to remember any longer.

The venue has been converted into a security forces citadel. Entrance for media has a single x-ray machine. Imagine a couple of hundreds of journalists, including cameramen going through long waits for getting their equipment screened. Even coins had to be left in a bucket at the security check counter.

The Tribune



Top honours for SA U17 hockey girls

By DOMINIC PEEL

FLYING THE FLAG: The unbeaten South African U17 hockey team celebrate after winning the African Youth Olympic qualifier in East London on Saturday. They beat Namibia 5-0 in the final to qualify for the Youth Olympics in Singapore in August. Picture: MLONDOLOZI MBOLO


THE South African U17 girls’ hockey team on Saturday qualified for the 2010 Olympic Youth Games with a comprehensive 5-0 win over a game but outplayed Namibia at Kat Leisure Park astroturf in East London.

Ghana’s boys’ team, who won their final on penalties against South Africa, and SA’s girls will thus represent the continent at the 2010 Youth Olympics in Singapore in August.

The girls were dominant from the onset, with the impressive Jacinta Jubb coming close to scoring on a number of occasions.

But some dogged defending from the visitors kept the game goalless until the 22nd minute, when Jubb powered her way into the box and fired low and hard past Namibian goalkeeper Isa Steenkamp.

The Namibians found themselves two goals down eight minutes later, when Stephanie Baxter atoned after missing a glorious opportunity earlier on, by scoring South Africa’s second.

South Africa started the second half like the first, and it came as no surprise, when vice-captain Sarah Ive added her name to the score-sheet.

It was soon 4-0 as the Namibian side started to fold. And, somewhat fittingly, it was left to captain Jenna-Leigh du Preez to have the final say when scoring her country’s fifth goal a minute before time.

The scene was then set for a memorable South African double as the boys took to the astro surface to lock horns with the physically intimidating Ghanaians. And it was the visitors who drew first blood, when Johnny Botsio scored as early as the second minute.

The goal put the hosts on the back foot and it looked like Ghana would run away with the match when captain Alfred Ntiamoah made it 2-0 from a short corner after only 14 minutes.

But to their credit, the hosts hit back almost immediately when Grant Glutz slotted home from a short-corner.

The goal galvanised the home team and buoyed by the large crowd, they came out of their shell and started to take the game to the visitors.

Ghana went into the break with a slender 2-1 lead but it was South Africa who started the second half the brighter.

Glutz scored a deserved equaliser for the hosts in the 56th minute and the teams then went at each other in aggressive fashion to force victory.

Ghana had the best chances to seal the win, first with a penalty stroke, before Botsio failed to connect with the goal at his mercy in the last minute.

Even 20 minutes of extra time failed to separate the two African powerhouses and it was then left to the lottery of a penalty shoot-out to decide the winner.

South Africa got off to the worst possible start when missing their opening flick before Ghana eventually ran out 3-2 victors in the shoot-out.

The two countries also dominated the individual awards, with Botsio named player of the tournament in the boys’ section and Bronwynne Kretzmann of South Africa winning in the girls’ category.

Botsio also shared the top goal-scorer accolade with South Africa’s Glutz, while Hudson Park High School starlet Tiffany Jones reigned supreme among the girls.

Earlier, the Egyptian boys beat Kenya 2-1 to finish third while in the girls’ section, a weary Zimbabwe were put to the sword by the ultra fit Ghanaians who ran out easy 3-0 winners.

There was, however, some relief for the loyal travelling Zimbabwean supporters as the boys’ team avoided the ignominy of being the only team in the boy’s section without a win to their name, when they beat Namibia 2-0 in the play-off for fifth place. A brace from Warwick Ullrich was enough to settle an entertaining Southern African derby.

Daily Dispatch



World Cup of clubs in December

Sports Reporter


NEW DELHI: The International Hockey Federation (FIH) is all set to hold the inaugural World Cup of clubs in India in December this year.

FIH President Leandro Negre said the international federation had found out an Indian sponsor for the event. “We are in the final stages of the plan. If the proposal is passed by the FIH Executive Committee, then we will have the tournament by December this year,” said Negre on the opening day of the Hero Honda World Cup at the Major Dhyan Chand National stadium here on Sunday.

“We have got an Indian sponsor and according to the deal the tournament will be held in India for the next five years. Eight top teams from five continents will take part in the tournament and it will be held over the weekend from the quarterfinal stage,” he added.

Negre did not commit whether the World Cup of clubs would be a single-venue affair.

Negre said he had a discussion on the subject with Sahara Group Chairman Subrata Roy, who assured of his support to hockey. However, the FIH chief did not go into the details of the discussion.

The Spaniard stressed on the revival of the Premier Hockey League (PHL) in India. “It is more important to revive PHL to promote Indian hockey.”

He said after five years the FIH would like to hold the event around the world.

Asked about the Hockey India (HI) elections, Negre said it was one of the top priorities for FIH before the start of the new event.

“For such a big event we need to have an elected and an efficient HI soon. The World Cup will be a big boost for the development of the sport in the country,” he added.

The Hindu



India to host World Cup of hockey clubs


NEW DELHI: The inaugural World Cup for clubs will be held in India later this year, International Hockey Federation (FIH) president Leandro Negre said on Sunday.

Negre said the deal has been finalised with an Indian sponsor and the tournament will be held in India for the next five years.

"We are in the final stages of the plan. If the proposal is passed by FIH's executive committee, then we will have the tournament later this year by December," said Negre on the sidelines of the World Cup at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

"We have got an Indian sponsor and according to the deal the tournament will be held in India for the next five years. Eight top teams from five continents will take part in the tournament and it will be held over the weekend from the quarter-final stage."

The former Spanish goalkeeper, however, said that for the World Cup to start it is very important to have an elected Hockey India (HI) soon.

"To hold such an event, we need to have an elected and an efficient HI soon. The World Cup will be a big boost for the development of the sport in the country," he said.

The Times of India



Oltmans saga to continue until he signs

Jugjet Singh


MALAYSIAN Hockey Federation (MHF) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said yesterday that he can't comment on the Roelant Oltmans saga, as nothing is confirmed until the Dutchman signs his contract.

Former Netherlands coach Oltmans has been courted by the MHF since the Asia Cup in Kuantan last year, where he flew down for a meeting with the top-brass.

However, a day after National Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Zolkples Embong said the coach is almost in the bag, Larensche Mixed Hockey Club (LMHC) threw a spanner with a posting on their website www.lmhc.nl.

The posting read: "The board of LMHC would like to clarify the situation with our technical director and coach Roelant Oltmans.

"Despite media reports, Oltmans will remain attached with Laren for the next two seasons."

Oltmans has a two-year contract with Laren, but the MHF had offered him a lucrative package, with E10,000 (RM50,000) as his monthly pay if he jumps over.

"I can't comment on Oltmans, as nothing is confirmed until we sign the agreement," said Tengku Abdullah.

When asked if the MHF will still look for a foreign coach if the Oltmans deal falls through: "Yes, we will keep hunting for a foreign coach," said Tengku Abdullah.

Oltmans has experience coaching the Dutch national side as well as Pakistan.

Oltmans also has a part-time position at the Dutch National Olympic Council.

Currently, locals Tai Beng Hai and Stephen van Huizen are coaching the national team, with the Asia Champions Trophy in April as their first assignment.

The most important tournament this year is the Asian Games, which offers the champions a direct ticket to the 2012 London Olympics.

New Straits Times



ACT pair to debut for the Hockeyroos

ACT pair Anna Flanagan and Catriona Bailey-Price will make their international debuts for the Hockeyroos after being selected in the Australian squad for a three test series against Korea.

The matches will be played in Perth from March 2-5 as part of the Hockeyroos preparation for their World Cup Qualifier event which will be played in Santiago, Chile from April 24 – May 2.

Flanagan and Bailey-Price’s selection comes after the pair impressed recently during matches between the SIS/SAS and New Zealand’s senior national team in Perth.

Fiona Boyce, Emily Hurtz and Shelly Liddelow have also forced their way back into the Hockeyroos line up after also competing in the SIS/SAS matches against New Zealand.

Hockeyroos v Korea 3 test squad
Nicole Arrold (ACT), Teneal Attard (QLD), Catriona Bailey-Price (ACT), Madonna Blyth (QLD), Fiona Boyce (WA), Toni Cronk (NSW), Anna Flanagan (ACT), Kate Hollywood (NSW), Emily Hurtz (NSW), Fiona Johnson (NSW), Stacia Joseph (VIC), Amy Korner (QLD), Shelly Liddelow (WA), Rachael Lynch (VIC), Hope Munro (WA), Ashleigh Nelson (WA), Sarah O’Connor (VIC), Kim Walker (WA)

Hockey Australia media release