News for 08 March 2010

All the news for Monday 8 March 2010


Hero Honda World Cup

 

Day 8 - Sunday 07-03-2010 16:35 Korea 9 : 2 Canada
Day 8 - Sunday 07-03-2010 18:35 New Zealand 0 : 1 Argentina
Day 8 - Sunday 07-03-2010 20:35 Germany 2 : 2 Netherlands
Pool A
Rank Teams Played Wins Draw Lost GF - GA GD Points
1 Netherlands 4 3 1 0 14 - 3 11 10
2 Germany 4 2 2 0 14 - 7 7 8
3 Korea 4 2 1 1 14 - 7 7 7
4 New Zealand 4 2 0 2 6 - 7 -1 6
5 Argentina 4 1 0 3 5 - 9 -4 3
6

 



Germany and The Netherlands on par in Delhi

At the Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 in Delhi, Germany and The Netherlands played to a 2-2 tie that puts them at the top of Pool A, while Korea dominated Canada (9-2) and Argentina earned their first win of the competition over New Zealand (1-0).

Game 22 – Korea v. Canada: 9-2 (half-time: 2-0)

Canada and Korea have only met twice in World Cup history and, oddly, in the same year (1998) when they drew in the round-robin and Korea beat Canada for the 7-8 classification. Here in Delhi, Korea, semi-finalists in the last two World Cups, beat Argentina and tied with Germany, but lost to New Zealand, while Canada have still not collected a point after losing to New Zealand, Germany and The Netherlands.

Korea were quicker in action, but the Canadian defense, with a solid Matthew PECK in goal, was tight and did not leave then an inch in the circle. Canada were only dangerous on counter-attacks and Myung Ho LEE in the Korean goal was called for the first time in action in the 18th minute on a deflection from close range by Connor GRIMES.

Korea had a penalty-corner in the 23rd minute and Hyun Woo NAM’s flick shaved the inside of the post for the first goal. They had another chance soon after but the Canadian defense read well the option and managed to clear. The Canadians could not outrun the speedy Koreans but were successful at progressing with crisp long passes; however they could not arrive close enough to the circle to be dangerous and it is Korea that increased their lead in the final seconds of the period on a penalty-corner that evolved in a penalty-stroke powerfully converted by Jong Hyun JANG.

Korea scored early in second period by Nam Yong LEE with a reverse-stick shot in a close angle; the ball was unfortunately deflected over the keeper by a Canadian defender, hit the far post then went in goal. They then added two quick goals by Sung Hoon YOON and Hyo Sik YOU, splitting through a Canadian defense suddenly looking dangerously porous.

Philip WRIGHT temporarily narrowed the gap in the 42nd minute but Jong Hyun JANG immediately restored the 5-goal gap on another penalty-corner. The game was now completely open and Philip WRIGHT added his second goal of the day in the 51st minute, deflecting a shot by Mark PEARSON. The fit Koreans were running wild all over the field and Hye Sung HYUN earned a penalty-corner at the end of a long run, dutifully converted by Jong Hyun JANG, his third of the game. The Canadian players had a brave final push but could not prevent a last penalty-corner by Hyun Woo NAM for a severe final score of 9-2.

Match Facts (Korea v. Canada):

> Korea beat Canada 9-2 to break the Korean WC record for scoring most goals in a match.
> Korea’s previous highest score in a World Cup match was 7 goals against Belgium (7-2) in 1994.
> Today’s defeat by 7 goals is the biggest defeat for Canada in World Cup history.
> Canada have now conceded at least 6 goals in three successive World Cup matches after losing 6-0 to both Germany and Netherlands.
> Today’s 11-goal match is the second highest scoring match at Delhi 2010, following AUS-RSA 12-0.
> Jang Jong-Hyun scored a hat-trick to become the first Korean player since Song Seung-Tae in 1998 (4-2 vs CAN) to score a hat-trick in a World Cup match.
> Jang Jong-Hyun was Korea’s top goal scorer at the 2006 World Cup scoring 5 goals.
> Lee Nam-Yong has now scored in all 4 matches for Korea at Delhi 2010.
> Philip Wright (CAN) scored twice in this match to become the first Canadian player since Rob Short in 1998 (vs GER 4-4) to score twice in a World Cup match. Wright is now on three goals in total at Delhi 2010.

Game 23 – New Zealand v. Argentina: 0-1 (half-time: 0-0)

New Zealand came into the match with two wins against Canada and Korea and a loss against The Netherlands, while Argentina were still pointless after 3 games, a situation that did not reflect their excellent level of play in this competition, especially in their narrow losses against Korea (1-2) and Germany (3-4). The Kiwis were unfortunately lining up without their injured Captain Phillip BURROWS.

Argentina dominated the early stages of the game. They earned a penalty-corner but Pedro IBARRA’s flick was saved by Kyle PONTIFEX, always a force in goal for New Zealand. Argentina had the control of play, with a clear chance for Matias PAREDES and Lucas Martin VILA alone in front of PONTIFEX but unable to control the bouncing ball. The Kiwis however were weathering the storm efficiently and started to push up field in the last ten minutes of the period; Priyesh BHANA forced a penalty-corner in the 32nd minute that evolved in a penalty-stroke but Juan Tomas ESPINOSA in the Argentinean goal stopped Ryan ARCHIBALD’s attempt and half-time was reached without any goal.

The two teams played attractive hockey in second half, but the defences were not giving up much space. New Zealand had a chance on penalty-corner and Argentina had a golden opportunity on the ensuing counter-attack but the final pass to Mario ALMADA, alone in front of the goal, was imprecise. Kyle PONTIFEX stopped two penalty-corners in a row but could not do much on a deflection from close range by Facundo CALLIONI in the 55th minute to finally break the up the deadlock.

The goal took some wind out of the Kiwis’ sails. They survived another penalty-corner, shot wide by Pedro IBARRA, but seemed to have trouble reacting to the situation. They had a shooting chance for Priyesh BHANA but were running out of option against an Argentinean team packing up the circle and determined to earn the three points of the win.

Match Facts (New Zealand v. Argentina):

> Argentina collected their first WC victory since beating India 3-2 in the Qualification Match 9-12 in 2006.
> Today’s win ended Argentina’s 4-match losing streak in World Cup competition.
> Argentina are now one 3 points, leaving Canada as the only team that is yet to win their first points at Delhi 2010.
> Today’s 1-0 score marks the lowest scoring WC match at Delhi 2010.
> Facundo Callioni (ARG) opened the score as he did in Argentina’s match against Korea which they eventually lost (1-2).
> Ryan Archibald (NZL) joined Jamie Dwyer (AUS) as players to have missed a penalty stroke at Delhi 2010.

Game 24 – Germany v. Netherlands: 2-2 (half-time: 0-1)

The Netherlands entered the last match of the day unbeaten in the competition while Germany, the current World Champions, had to concede a draw to Korea in their opening game.  The match was played in front of large contingents of German and Dutch fans, making up for the absence of local crowd.

The Netherlands had a penalty-corner in the opening minute, and Germany forced one immediately after at the other end but neither could use them. The game settled down in a tactical chess game played mostly in midfield for a while, with tight marking, crisp passes and running off the ball rather than with it, as is often the case with these two European teams.

The fans were enjoying this classical opposition between the two teams. Play was rich in action, but scarce in scoring chances. The Netherlands had a second penalty-corner in the 15th minute, could not control it but scored on the next one by Wouter JOLIE, with a straight hit deflected by a defender in front of the keeper.

The game opened up in the final stages of the period, with some decisive accelerations and passes by Teun DE NOOIJER, but the Dutch forwards were inprecise in their final passes and Tim JESSULAT in the German goal was not in real danger. The young German team immediately pushed forward when play resumed and were dangerous twice by Philip WITTE before Oliver KORN concluded a period of intense domination with a deflection in goal in the 44th minute.

They maintained their pressure and the Dutch defense, pushed on their heels, needed all their experience to weather the storm. The Germans monopolized the ball and ran havoc in the Dutch midfield with long runs by Moritz FÜRSTE and Benjamin WESS but seldom arrived in shooting position. The Netherlands managed to force a penalty-corner but scrambled it. Shortly after, while The Netherlands were playing short after a green card to Teun DE NOOIJER, Germany took the lead by Jan-Marco MONTAG well positioned to pick up the ball rebounding from the crossbar.

The Dutch reaction was immediate and they regain control of play, with Teun DE NOOIJER, just back on the field, on hand on the post to push in goal a ball that had eluded a German defender. With this goal, the mercurial #14 has now scored in the last five World Cups since his first participation in 1994!

In a dramatic turn of event, Germany forced a penalty-corner with no time on the clock; however they could not score and the two teams left on par, a result that position them in the top two spots in pool A.

Match facts (Germany vs. Netherlands):

> The Netherland and Germany drew to lift their points total to 10 and 8 points respectively.
>This marked only the second draw at Delhi 2010 following Germany – Korea (2-2).
> On Tuesday Germany play New Zealand and Netherlands play Korea for a semi-final berth.
> Dutch captain Teun de Nooijer has now scored in five successive World Cup editions (i.e. every World Cup since 1994).
> Ties Kruize (NED) is the only other player to have scored in five World Cup editions (1973-1986).
> Oliver Korn (GER) became the 8th Germany player to score at Delhi 2010. The only other team to have seen so many different players score is England (8).
> After 24 matches at Delhi 2010, a total of 133 goals have been scored, an average of 5.54 goals per match.
> The World Cup tournament with the highest average is 1994, when 4.98 goals per match were scored.

The Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 continues on Monday in Delhi with the conclusion of Pool B, when Spain face England, Australia meet Pakistan and South Africa conclude the day against host India.

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 8 - Sunday 7 March 2010

Korea v. Canada  9:2 (2:0)

KOR  23mn  Hyun Woo NAM (PC)  1:0
KOR  35+mn  Jong Hyun JANG (PS)  2:0
KOR  38mn  Nam Yong LEE (FG)  3:0
KOR  40mn  Sung Hoon YOON (FG)  4:0
KOR  41mn  Hyo Sik YOU (FG)  5:0
CAN  42mn  Philip WRIGHT (FG)  5:1
KOR  45mn  Jong Hyun JANG (PC)  6:1
CAN  51mn  Philip WRIGHT (FG)  6:2
KOR  61mn  Jong Hyun JANG (PC)  7:2
KOR  63mn  Hyo Sik YOU (FG)  8:2
KOR  67mn  Hyun Woo NAM (PC)  9:2

New Zealand v. Argentina  0:1 (0:0)
ARG  55mn  Facundo CALLIONI (FG)  0:1

Germany v. The Netherlands  2:2 (0:1)
NED  23mn  Wouter JOLIE (PC)  0:1
GER  44mn  Oliver KORN (FG)  1:1
GER  63mn  Jan-Marco MONTAG (FG)  2:1
NED  65mn  Teun DE NOOIJER (FG)  2:2

Pool Standings:
Pool A: 1) Netherlands 10 pts  2) Germany 8 pts  3) Korea 7pts  4) New Zealand 6 pts  5) Argentina 3 pts  6)  Canada 0 pt
Pool B: 1) England 12 pts  2) Australia 9 pts  3) Spain 6 pts  4) India 3 pts (-4)  5) Pakistan 3 pts (-6)  6) South Africa 3 pts (-15)

WorldHockey



Germany and Netherlands share points

Argentina puts it across New Zealand; Korea wallops Canada

S. Thyagarajan


— Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

CELEBRATIONS:Argentina's Facundo Callioni is ecstatic after scoring against New Zealand on Sunday.


New Delhi: The duel between the two super powers of Europe, the defending champion, Germany, and the Netherlands produced an exhilarating fare of attacking hockey in the Hero Honda World Cup on Sunday. The teams shared four goals.

With 10 points and a match remaining with Korea, the Dutchmen lead the table while Germany has eight points from the same number of matches.

The needle match was commendable more for the technical excellence.

The youthful German squad had to contend with the experience of Dutch stars like Teun di Nooijer, Floris Evers, Geert Dericx and goal-keeper Guus Vogles.

Effective wing play

If the Dutch team had the edge it was largely on account of the effective wing play by Evers, Joeren Hearzburger led by their commander in the zone, di Nooijer.

The Dutchmen forced three penalty corners. The two taken by Taeke Taekema were challenged well by the defenders but it was left to the colt, Jolie Wouter, to hit the target beating Tim Jessulat close on half-time.

The Germans threaded a few dangerous forays too thanks to the nippy runs in by Matthias Witthaus and Mortiz Furste.

The Dutch defenders came under some pressure but managed to keep the score board blank for Germany.

But Gemany roared back in the second half when Oliver Korn deflected in a cross from Christoph Menke.

Within a minute came another surge but Vogels came up with a splendid save to stop a shot by Benjamin Wess.

Montag shines

Germany struck what looked the match winner seven minutes before the hooter.

A powerful drive by Martin Haner split the defence and even as the goal-keeper rushed out to save, the ball popped up. Jan-Marco Montag smashed the ball in.

The spontaneous cheers from the German supporters proved evanescent. di Nooijer who missed a chance a few seconds before made amends for the lapse flicking a cross from the right.

Earlier, Argentina inflicted a 1-0 defeat on New Zealand in the Hero Honda hockey World Cup on Sunday. This was Argentina's first win in four matches.

The Koreans should welcome this outcome as New Zealand's reverse has pushed the Kiwis to the fourth spot in the table in Pool A giving the third to Korea which recorded a huge victory over Canada earlier to take its tally to seven points.

Argentina played tough, as always, producing some stunning shots and overpowering the Kiwi defenders during a few spells.

In Juan Tomas, the Argentines had an intrepid goal-keeper who brought off good saves.

Penalty saved

He even saved a penalty stroke by Ryan Archibald late in the first half. A penalty corner hit by Shea Macleese struck Oscar Fernando's leg.

Umpire Christian Blasch had no hesitation in showing the dreaded spot.

The all important goal for Argentina emerged midway in the second half from a fierce free hit by Padro Ibarra.

Awaiting the cross near the New Zealand goal was Facundo Callioni, who directed the speeding ball into the net, dodging the usually dependable goal-keeper Pontifex. In fact, just a minute before he had brought off a splendid save from a penalty corner shot by Ibarra.

Korea needed a big win and wake up from the slumber of an insipid show against the Kiwis. The 9-2 victory over Canada came as a breath of fresh air for a combination looking for a route to the place, at least in the top three of Pool A. The Canadians held on gamely for the major part of the first half. The defenders with the veteran Rob Short as the fulcrum kept the quick moving Koreans under check. In the second half, the Koreans demolished whatever challenge that the Canadians could fork up. They slugged in seven goals during this phase despite conceding two goals to Philip Wright.

This was Korea's biggest win in World Cup.

The results: Pool A: Korea 9 (Hyun Nam 2, Jang Jong 3, Young Nam, Seung Lee 2, Yung Soon Woon, You Hyo Sik ) beat Canada 2 (Philip Wright 2). HT 2-0.

Argentina 1 (Facundo Callioni) beat New Zealand 0. HT 0-0.

Germany 2 (Oliver Korn, Jan-Marco Montag) drew with the Netherlands 2 (Jolie Wouter, Teun di Nooijer). HT 0-1.

Monday's matches: Spain v England (4.35 p.m.); Australia v Pakistan (6.35 p.m.); South Africa v India (8.35 p.m.) .

The Hindu



Germ-Neth draw, Arg and Korea merry

s2h Team


As often occurred in the pool matches of major tournaments, Germany and Netherlands enacted another draw, this time at Delhi in the ongoing Hero Honda World Cup.

Each team took the lead once, and the last goal coming through the blade of vetern Teun de Nooijer in the 65th minute.

The match ended in an exciting 2-2 draw, the fate of the match remained undecided even after the hooter. After Netherlands took the lead in the 23rd minute, Oliver Korn and Jan-Marco Montag replied in style.

Germany got a penalty corner just 20 seconds left for the hooter, courtesy Matthias Witthaus's surge from the right flank; the whole German team assembled for the fianl assault, but the Dutch goalie, veteran Guus Vogels, came up with trumps to thwart the last minute sudden death, this led to one more draw from the giants. Its fourth draw between the neighbours in 8 World Cup matches they played till date.

In the process, Germany kept up its record of not losing to Netherlands at this summit.

Hitherto winless Argentina, posted its maiden win, hanging on to their lone goal of Facundo Callioni till the end.

Korea's nine goals blitzkreig against Canada Canada had to undergo a nightmare, as Korea pumped seven goals in the second half alone to post an impressive 9-2 victory over Canada.

In yet another of one-sided match, Korea's Jang Jong Hyun led the onslaught with three goals followed by a brace each by Nam Hyun Woo and You Hyo Sik. Other scorers for Korea are Lee Nam Yong and Yoon Sung Hoon.

Canada replied thro' Philip Wright who struck in 42nd and 51st minutes.

This is Korea's second win and Canada's fourth successive loss

Stick2Hockey.com



Knotty boys at hockey World Cup

C Rajshekhar Rao


New Delhi: Defending champions Germany got a penalty corner at the stroke of full time, their best chance of avoiding a second draw in the league stage of the FIH Hero Honda World Cup. But veteran Dutch goalkeeper Guus Vogels made a fine save and the pool B match ended 2-2.

The result of the match between two top sides — billed as the best tie of the league stage — has kept the interest alive till the last set of matches on Tuesday.

The Netherlands lead the points table at 10 points, followed by Germany (eight), South Korea (seven) and New Zealand (six), all of whom have a chance of advancing.

Germany are due to face the Black Sticks next while The Netherlands are set to take on Korea. Canada and Argentina were ruled out after the penultimate set of matches in the pool.

The Netherlands, three-time champions, had started well and looked good for their fourth consecutive victory but a superb second-half rally by the Germans put paid to their hopes.

Trailing by a goal, the Germans got the equaliser through Oliver Korn who put in a cross from Christoph Menke that also touched a defender’s leg during the action. Australian umpire David Gentles asked for a referral before confirming the goal.

The Germans then took the lead when Jan-Marco Montag put the ball in following a hit from Martin Haner that hit the framework off a deflection.

The Dutch equalised through captain Teun de Nooijer, who connected a cross from the right after missing a similar one just a minute before the strike.

The Netherlands held sway in the first session in which they earned three penalty corners to Germany’s two. Wouter Jolie slammed in a first-timer in the 22nd minute off the third one, much to the joy of a goodly crowd of supporters.

Wouter also did a fine job in defence during the first session, especially taking care of the veteran Witthaus, who has been a consistent performer in this championship by making full use of his over 300 international matches.

In a surprise result, Argentina pipped New Zealand by a solitary goal in a keenly contested encounter that saw both teams lacking in finishing.

A 55th-minute strike by Facundo Callioni off a cross from the right from Andrew Hayward clinched the issue for Argentina, who are the lowest placed team in the competition at 14th.

It was the first win in the championship for the South Americans who are due to meet Canada in the last round of the pool matches on Tuesday.

New Zealand, for whom Ryan Archibald missed a penalty stroke in the first half, were left making desperate attempts after conceding the goal.

In the first match of the day, South Korea played a splendid second-half to complete a 9-2 drubbing of Canada, who have been the whipping boys of the championship with identical 0-6 losses to Germany and The Netherlands earlier in the league.

The Koreans took control of the game steadily, a 23rd-minute strike by Hyun Woo Nam remaining the only scoring occasion virtually through the first session.

That was before Jong Hun Jang’s penalty stroke at the stroke of half-time, the first of his three goals in the match.

Jang converted two penalty corners after the breather while Nam did so once to take his personal tally to two. Hyun Woo Nam (2), Nam Yong Lee and Sung Hoon Yoon scored field goals for the winning side while Philip Wright shot in twice for Canada.

DNA



Jang's hat-trick keeps South Korea afloat in hockey World Cup

NEW DELHI: Jang Jong-Hyun scored three goals as South Korea routed lowly Canada 9-2 on Sunday to keep their semi-final hopes alive the men's field hockey World Cup.

Nam Hyun-Woo and You Hyo-Sik chipped in with two goals apiece as the Asian champions ran circles around the hapless Canadian defence in a group A match.

The second half produced nine goals, two of them to Canada's Philip Wright, after the Koreans led 2-0 at the interval.

South Korea, who have seven points from four games, may still need to defeat the Netherlands in their last match on Tuesday to ensure a place in the semi-finals.

The Dutch lead the group with nine points, followed by defending champions Germany and South Korea on seven each.

The Netherlands will qualify for the semi-finals if they do not lose to Germany later on Sunday.

New Zealand (six points) play Argentina (zero) in their fourth match, also on Sunday.

"We needed this win badly and I am happy it all came together today," said Korean coach Shin Seok-Kyo.

"It will take a lot from our side, and also our rivals, to ensure we make it to the semi-finals. We can only control what we do and that is to beat the Dutch."

Canada have lost all four matches so far, scoring four goals and conceding 24.

The Times of India



Korea on cloud 9

Vaibhav Sharma


Hockey indeed is a game played in two halves, but sadly for Canada both the sessions were heavily dominated by the South Korea as the Asian giants romped home with a massive 9-2 win at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium during the ongoing Hero Honda FIH World Cup.

As if the burden of starting as underdogs was not enough, Canada’s agony was further compounded by their heaviest defeat in a World Cup game. The scoring was opened in the 23rd minute when Nam Hyun Woo scored from a penalty corner. In the 35th minute, Korea furthered their advantage when Jang Jong Hyun scored after Canada conceded a penalty stroke.

Both teams went in for the breather at 2-0, albeit feeling that they could have made more of the first 35 minutes. The second half started in a blaze and in the first 10 minutes saw five goals being scored. Korea struck again with Lee Nam Yong in the 38th, which was followed by two goals in quick succession in the 40th and 41st minutes by Yoon Sung Hoon and You Hyo Sik, respectively.

Reeling under constant attacks and leaking goals, Canada found some solace when Phillip Wright hit the back of the net to make it 5-1. But Korea were far from done and with a full half hour’s play still to go, Jang Jong Hyoon made it 6-1 from a penalty corner in the 45th minute.

A comeback was out of the question, but Canada kept going and made it 6-2 Phillip Wright scored his second goal in the 51st minute. But that was as much lee way as they could have expected and the Koreans went berserk in the final 20 minutes to make the final score read an emphatic 9-2. The last three goals came from hat-trick hero Jang Jong Hyun (61), You Hyo Sik (63) and Nam Hyon Woo (67). The win gives a boost to Korea’s chances ahead and for Canada, well the Koreans had too much pace, skill, character and goals for them, and one doubts that other teams would be any different.

The Tribune



‘Disorganised’ Korea upsets coach

Despite their 9-2 win against Canada, Korean coach Kyo Seok Shin thought his team was disorganised on Sunday.

By Rajarshi Gupta


Joining a growing list of international coaches, who are just not happy with massive margins, Kyo Seok Shin urged his boys to up the ante if they were to stand a chance against the Dutch in their next encounter.

“We were a little disorganised to begin with. Canada did not do too badly. In fact, they played well against us today. However, we won and that’s what matters.”

The Koreans looked lacklustre in the first 22 minutes of the match before Woo Hyun Nam helped the Asians take the lead. Gone was their fast, aggressive style of play that had seen them beat Argentina three nights back.

Skipper Ho Jong Seo refused to read too much into the team’s victory, saying the Netherlands will be a bigger problem.

Looking rather despondent, Seo wondered what his boys might need to do against Orange brigade, if Canada could expose so many weaknesses, a 9-2 landslide notwithstanding.

Shin admitted his team’s chances of a semi-final berth now looked bleak and said he would wait to see what the remaining two matches between Argentina and New Zealand and Germany and Holland had in store.

“We have to wait for other results now as it is a difficult position for us. The World Cup has generally been dominated by European countries but we will do the best we can with the opportunities we have.”

Meanwhile, Canada coach Alan Brahmst confessed being blown away by Korea’s speed on the field.

“The Koreans are generally a much fitter side. We were unable to match their speed and were completely outplayed in the second half.

“However, I am happy that the boys fought hard. I don’t know what happened to our goal-tending and the defence ended up making some grave mistakes. Those are a few areas we need to work on.”

Canada have now lost all their four games and face certain elimination before playing Argentina to restore some pride from the 12th Hockey World Cup.

ESPNStar.com



Argentina register first win in hockey World Cup

NEW DELHI: Bottom placed Argentina scored their first win of the tournament, edging past New Zealand with a solitary goal in their penultimate Pool A match of the Hero Honda Hockey World Cup on Sunday.

Facundo Callioni scored the all-important goal in the 55th minute of the match for Argentina, who are already out of semifinal race after losing their first three matches.

New Zealand, who have six points from four matches, will have to beat defending champions Germany in their last match on March 9 for any hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals.

Both sides could create very few scoring chances in the first half though Argentina were slightly better in ball possession.

In the 25th minute, Argentine Matias Enrique Paredes got a chance from very close range, but his shot was blocked by the Kiwi goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex and Lucas Martin Vila missed the rebound.

New Zealand could have taken lead in the 32nd minute but for Ryan Archibald wasted a penalty stroke.

From his side's first and only penalty corner of the first half New Zealand defender Andrew Hayward earned a penalty stroke but Archibald's effort was saved by Argentine goalkeeper Juan Tomas Espinosa who dived to his right.

The second half saw all out attack from both sides to get a goal which did not happen till the 55th minute.

Argentina forced three penalty corners -- out of four in the match -- in the second half but could not score.

Facundo Callioni scored the only goal of the match after he deflected a cross from Pedro Ibarra from the right.

New Zealand made last-ditched efforts but failed to find the equaliser.

The Times of India



Argentina beat New Zealand

M.S.Unnikrishnan


Argentina played a spirited game to take full points off New Zealand with a 1-0 victory in a Group A contest of the 12th Hero Honda FIH World Cup Hockey Championship at the National Stadium here tonight. The winless Argentina thus posted their first win, and have a match on hand against another bottom-scrapers Canada.

A victory against Canada will help Argentina fight for a better placing while the defeat has pushed New Zealand, who had beaten Canada and Korea, on the road to regression as their next match is against the formidable Netherlands, who have won all the three matches they have played, and meet Germany in the third match tonight.

New Zealand will rue their failure to convert a penalty stroke as Ryan Archibald's hit was saved by custodian Tomas Juan Espinosa. The stroke was the result of a penalty corner as the ball had hit the foot of a defender. Twice, Blair Hilton threatened to sink the Argentine goal, with his blistering moves but both the times, the defence crowed to foil his attempt.

After Korea gave a 9-2 pasting to Canada in the first match of the day, New Zealand could have hoped for a better placing in the championship had they beaten Argentina, or even played a draw. But that was not to be as the Latin Americans pulled all stops to get that elusive goal which they eventually struck through their crafty forward Facundo Callioni in the 20th minute of the second half. Off a free hit, the irrepressible Pedro Ibarra relayed the ball to the well positioned Facundo, who streched his stick to deflect the ball in. Argentina attacked with venom in the second half after being at the receivind end in most part of the first half.

Ibarra played his heart out to fashion moves, though most of which were nipped by the Kiwi defenders.

New Zealand tried to put pressure on the Argentine goal late in the second half, but the Latin American team came out of the ordeal unscathed. Argentina forced three penalty corners in the second half, but specialist Pedro could not get his sweep right.

This was Argentina's third victory in five meetings against New Zealand in the World Cup. They had lost one and drew one against the Antipodeans who had beaten the Latin Americans for their only victory in the 2006 edition in Germany.

Argentina had also beaten the Kiwis in the Azlan Shah Cup in 2008, and therefore, their win today came as no surprise.

The Tribune



Kiwis blame it on lack of experience

Y.B. Sarangi


NEW DELHI: New Zealand missed some of its key players as it lost to Argentina on Sunday and spoilt its chances of making the semifinals of the hockey World Cup here.

Black Sticks goalkeeper Kyle Pontiflex said his team lacked on experience. “It is very disappointing to lose. It was a bad performance by New Zealand.

“We were low on experience due to the absence of some players — Hayden Shaw, Brad Shaw, Simon Child and Philip Burrows,” Pontiflex said.

The Kiwi custodian, who had a good showing, said, “Our penalty corner defence worked well. There were a lot of chances for the strikers, but they could not score today.”

Argentine skipper Matias Vila heaved a sigh of relief after his team registered the first points. “Our main aim was to win the match. We had some good performances, but we had empty pockets,” he said.

Vila lauded goalkeeper Juan Tomas Espinosa's effort. “He had a good match. He was feeling guilty (after the defeats). He had a big contribution in the win,” Vila said. Korean Hyo Sik You said he team was still hopeful for a berth in the last four. “It is difficult for us to reach the semifinals. The loss to New Zealand made things tougher for us. But we have not given up as yet and are still hopeful,” said You, who scored twice in his side's 9-2 win over Canada.

Mark Pearson of Canada blamed the big defeat on his team's poor showing in the second half, during which time the side had conceded as many as seven goals.

“One of our key players (Ranjeev Deol) has broken his finger. So, our bench strength is not very strong,” said Pearson.

The Hindu



New Zealand bomb in crucial tie

New Zealand’s semifinal chances lessen a great deal after loss to Argentina.

By Prateek Srivastava


Argentina scrambled to a 1-0 victory against New Zealand in a Pool A match at the National Stadium in New Delhi on Sunday.

It was the Antipodeans’ third defeat to Argentina in five World Cup matches.

Facundo Callioni scored the lone goal of the match in the second half to cheer up the South Americans, who were on the losing side in their first three matches.

With their second defeat in the tournament, the Kiwis’ hopes of a semifinal berth have been dealt a massive blow.

They were at their dullest best in the first half and not for one moment looked like a team eyeing a semifinal berth. Argentina, to the surprise of many, was the better of the two teams and created a couple of very good chances but poor execution came in their way. In the 32nd minute of the match, New Zealand could have turned their fortunes around but Ryan Archibald failed to convert a penalty stroke against Argentine goalie Juan Tomas Espinosa.

After the break nothing changed except that Argentina got the winner. Pedro Ibarra provided a beautiful pass to Callioni from the right wing and the latter skillfully slid the ball into the goal in the 55th minute.

New Zealand play their last league match against world champions Germany on Tuesday while Argentina face Canada, so far the weakest team of the

ESPNStar.com



Black Sticks dealt blow by Argentina

New Zealand's hopes of playing their first men's hockey World Cup semifinal live on, but it is a big ask after they were upset 1-0 by lower-ranked Argentina in nerve-jangling fourth round action last night.

To reach the top four, Shane McLeod's Black Sticks must down unbeaten defending champions and world No 1 Germany in their final pool match and then hope the Netherlands, already assured of topping group A, do not lose to Korea.

Against the no-frills Argentines, the Black Sticks' lack of strike power in front of goal was again cruelly exposed. None of the handful of reasonable half chances they created ever seriously threatened the Argentina goal.

"We are definitely lacking firepower up front," said McLeod, reflecting on his team's second loss in four outings at the World Cup. "There was a lot of turnover ball and, in the end, we did not play enough hockey."

The Black Sticks are missing Brad and Hayden Shaw, and have also been robbed of influential captain and attacking lynchpin Phil Burrows through injury, while Simon Childs' decision to stay away has also hit the team hard.

Too often the Black Sticks were punished in turning the ball over or, worse, for mis-trapping on the sometimes uncertain surface.

"It wasn't a case of nerves. Argentina are always tough and on most occasions there is only a goal either way in it," said McLeod. "Even when we are full strength they are a hard side for us to handle.

"It is back to the drawing board. The Germans play a pretty structured game which suits us but to take on the No 1 team in the world with key players out will be a big ask."

The teams were scoreless at halftime, Black Sticks goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex twice denying Argentina early penalty corners.

New Zealand's first real chance came on the half hour when Ryan Archibald played a great ball to Blair Hilton, but he failed to covert.

Priyesh Bhana won New Zealand's first penalty corner in the 33rd minute. Andy Hayward drag-flicked goalwards but his attempt was blocked by an errant Argentine foot. Archibald stepped forward to take the resultant stroke but was denied by goalkeeper Juan Thomas Espinosa.

The second half was more of the same, with some tantalising half chances but no reward.

Argentina scored the only goal of the match in the 55th minute when Pedro Ibarra charged deep on the right before whipping in a super cross to Facundo Callioni at the far post.

Pontifex was left with no chance as Callioni deflected high into the New Zealand goal.

There were late opportunities, the best falling to Hugo Inglis, but again the Black Sticks could not convert and were left contemplating what might have been.

Stuff



"Happy to get off the mark"

Argentina coach Pablo Lombi was pleased after his team registered its first win in the tournament.

By Anshul Baijal


Argentina coach Pablo Lombi was a happy man after his team got off the mark at the hockey World Cup after edging New Zealand 1-0 in a Pool A match on Sunday.

The Argentines, who lost their previous two games by one-goal margins, have been unlucky so far and Lombi was happy that the rub of the green finally went their way. "We should have secured points earlier as well. But things did not go our way. I am happy with the way we played and glad that we got three points," he said.

Ranked 14th in the world, the South Americans were not looking beyond the group stage before the start of the 12-nation tournament and Lombi believes a top-eight finish would be a good result for them. "Our aim was to finish in the top-eight. If we win our next match against Canada then we will be on track to achieve our target," said Lombi.

Argentina Goalkeeper Juan Tomas Espinosa was in great form throughout the game and captain Matias Damian Vila admitted that the scoreline could have read differently had it not been for the keeper. "He had a very good game and played a key role in helping us win our first points of the tournament," he said.

New Zealand coach Shane McLeod, meanwhile, was upset after their semifinal dreams were dealt a massive blow. "These guys have been training very hard for this tournament. They have made many sacrifices and it is very sad when all these efforts come to nothing," said McLeod.

ESPNStar.com



Win over Kiwis a morale booster ahead of Canada match: Lombi


NEW DELHI: High on confidence after their first win in the hockey World Cup, Argentina coach Pablo Lombi said the victory would boost his team's morale ahead of the last pool A match against traditional rivals Canada, who has always been a thorn in the flesh for his side.

Argentina pipped New Zealand 1-0 in a Pool match at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium and jeopardised the Black Sticks chances of qualifying for the semi-finals.

Lombi said the Argentines would hope to carry on the momentum on March 9 against Canada, who defeated them in the Pan American Championship, the Pan American Games as well as the Champions Challenge tournament in Salta last year.

"I am very happy with our performance today. We played well and have secured our first three points in the tournament. Finally we have a win under our belt," Lombi told reporters on Sunday.

"Our focus now would be on Canada and we will try our best to win against them because Argentina-Canada shares great rivalry in the field of hockey," he said.

Lombi also said the lowly Argentines came into the tournament eyeing a top-eight finish and victory against Canada on Tuesday would definitely help them in achieving their target.

"We came here with an expectation to finish in the first eight. We knew before this match that we had three tough games against the Netherlands, Germany and Korea," Lombi said.

"It's a World Cup and every team is here to win," Lombi said.

His sentiments were echoed by captain Damian Matias Vila, who said the three points against New Zealand would do world of good for the side ahead of the Canada encounter.

"The win was very important for us. We played very well in the last two matches. We would try to maintain the same momentum against Canada," Vila said.

Meanwhile, New Zealand captain Dean Couzins was a disappointed man after the shocking defeat that virtually dashed their semifinal hopes.

"We are very disappointed today. It was a very poor performance from us but we can't sit on it. We have to get over it and prepare our best for the next match against Germany," Couzins said.

"A win tonight would have held us in good position for a semi-final place," he added.

The Black Sticks, who have six points in their kitty from four matches, now face double defending champions Germany in their last match on March 9.

A win against the Germans alone won't be sufficient for them to secure a place in the last-four stage as their fate also rests on results of the other games of the pool.

The Times of India

 



Germany draw with Dutch to open semis race

NEW DELHI: Defending champions Germany played out a thrilling 2-2 draw with the Netherlands on Sunday to throw open the semi-final race in the men's field hockey World Cup.

Dutch skipper Teun de Nooijer scored the equaliser four minutes before the final whistle to help his team share the points in a crucial group A match at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

With the last round of league matches on Tuesday, the Netherlands lead the group with 10 points, followed by Germany on eight, South Korea on seven and New Zealand on six.

The Dutch need a draw against the Koreans to take one of the two semi-final spots from the group. A Korean win could see the Asian champions advance.

Germany must secure full points from New Zealand to confirm their place, while the Black Sticks also need to win and hope the other results go their way.

European champions England have already taken a semi-final place from group B with Australia the favourites to grab the second spot.

The Netherlands led Germany 1-0 at half-time after Wouter Jolie deflected in his team's third penalty corner in the 23rd minute.

The Germans, seeking a hat-trick of World Cup titles to add to their Olympic gold medal won at Beijing, hit back with goals from Oliver Korn in the 43rd minute and Jan-Marco Montag in the 63rd.

As the minutes ticked away, de Nooijer pounced on a pass from the right and pushed the ball in past a stunned German goalkeeper Tim Jessulat.

"Its always good to get one point, rather than lose three," said de Nooijer. "We were lucky to get that chance and took it. But we have to play well against the Koreans to make the semis."

German captain Max Muller said he was disappointed to share points.

"Great game, but wish we had won," he said. "We now have to wait till our last match to see how it goes.

"Australia are still the favourites to win the title. Winning a third time is not on our minds. Its a young team and I am glad we are playing good hockey."

Earlier, Jang Jong-Hyun scored three goals as South Korea routed lowly Canada 9-2 to keep their semi-final hopes alive.

Nam Hyun-Woo and You Hyo-Sik chipped in with two goals apiece for South Korea as the Asian champions ran circles around the hapless Canadian defence in the high-scoring match.

The second half produced nine goals, two of them to Canada's Philip Wright, after the Koreans led 2-0 at the interval.

"We needed this win badly and I am happy it all came together today," said Korean coach Shin Seok-Kyo.

"It will take a lot from our side, and also our rivals, to ensure we make it to the semi-finals. We can only control what we do and that is to beat the Dutch."

New Zealand's chances of making the knock-out round suffered a setback when they lost 1-0 to Argentina in another group A match.

New Zealand, who would have moved to nine points had they beaten Argentina, paid dearly for a missed penalty stroke by Ryan Archibald three minutes before the interval.

Argentina, beaten in their three previous games, earned the winner in the 55th minute through Facundo Callioni, who diverted in a pass from the right by Pedro Ibarra.

"Its disappointing to lose such a crucial game," said New Zealand captain Dean Couzins.

"We knew this could be a vital match and that is how it turned out. We tried our best in the end to get the equaliser, but missed a few chances.

"It now all boils down to other games, but we still need to overcome the Germans."

The Times of India



Late De nooijer strike rescues Dutch

Manuja Veerappa


New Delhi: When the two European giants clash, nothing but a cracker of a match is expected of them. In the most eagerly-awaited match in Pool A of the 12th Hockey World Cup here on Sunday, the Netherlands, who have remained unbeaten in this pool, went dutch with Germany in a 2-2 split.

Sunday’s result threw the pool wide open with four teams vying for the two semi-finals spots. It was a classic display of European hockey dished out by defending champions Germany and pool toppers Netherlands to enthral the motley crowd at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

Competitive and fierce, yet sporting, the teams kept the high and ensured that there was never a dull moment on and off the field.

Four minutes into the match, the Dutch looked poised to take the lead with their first penalty corner, but the German defence did well to thwart the attempt by dangerman Taeke Taekema.

A minute later Germany earned a penalty corner which was effectively put away by keeper Guus Vogels.

Needing a win to close in on the semifinals, Germany put their heart into the match. The Netherlands too, did not falter in their tactics, as they packed the defence and the game was played mostly in the mid-field while the attack, led by skipper de Nooijer tried to force themselves into the striking circle.

The first to put a number on the giant scoreboard were the Dutch with Jolie Woulter striking off a penalty corner after the ball hit German goalkeeper Tim Jessulat’s pads in the 23rd minute.

Going into the break with a 1-0 lead, the Netherlands tried to keep up the pressure, but the Germans broke even with Oliver Korn effecting an impressive deflection off a cross pass from Christoph Menkle in the 44th minute.

Jan-Marco Montag gave the Germans the advantage after he volleyed a rebound off the cross bar in the 63rd minute.

Not wanting to lose their winning streak, the Dutch pressed hard to break even, with de Nooijer leading from the front. In the 65th minute, he collected the ball at close range after it beat the goalkeeper and a defender and he made no mistake in putting it in.

The Asian Age



Germany, Netherlands share honours

Prabhjot Singh


The clash between two giants - defending champions Germany and the Netherlands — that ended in a pulsating 2-2 draw has extended the fight for two semifinal berths from pool A till the last game on Tuesday. Though technically both Germany and the Netherlands remain unbeaten at the end of Day Eight proceedings in the 12th Hero Honda World Cup Hockey Tournament at Major Dhyan Chand National Hockey Stadium here, it was a day of some good vintage hockey that saw Argentina stunning New Zealand by a goal while Korea made mince meat of Canada 9-2 in the other pool A games.

Korea is now keeping Asian hopes alive as it still stands a chance of getting into the semifinals. The Koreans play the Netherlands on Tuesday. In perhaps one of the best match of the tournament so far, both Germany and the Netherlands played their hearts out before a nearly empty stadium as many of the hockey players and officials of yesteryears were away attending reception of the wedding of a son of a former Indian skipper.

It was a treat to watch some of the top stalwarts of the game playing crisp and vantage hockey that exhibited not only nearly perfected skills in stopping, trapping, intercepting and utilising open spaces to make room for intelligent moves but also had the small but knowledgeable Sunday audience spellbound in a rare feast that had no video referrals.

Starting with exchange of penalty corners in the first five minutes, both Germany and the Netherlands did not take long to settle down on this bumpy new Poligras. Surprisingly, the only penalty corner goal of the match that gave the Netherlands the lead in the 22nd minute came from the stick of Joulie Wouter and not Taeke Taekema.

Incidentally, Taeke had been substituted minutes before the award came and Joulie made up for his absence well with a superb flick. As the game was four minutes into the second half, Germany almost equalised when Philip Witte, while getting into the opponents striking circle, essayed a shot that went wider of the target. But the Germans did not have to wait for long.

Defending champions got the equaliser following a perfect understanding between Christoph Menne and Oliver Corn that saw them getting the better of the Dutch defence. Equaliser that came in the 43rd minute had added extra punch to the offence of the Germans who worked out their moves more efficiently, penetrating deep into the territory of their opponents only to end up with either off mark shooting or getting their moves terminated by their opponents manning defence. Germany did get a penalty corner in the last minute but it could not break the 2-2 deadlock.

The Tribune



Germans fail to cross the Dutch hurdle

OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


New Delhi: Connoisseurs in the capital had a delightful evening at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium on Sunday as defending champions Germany and the Netherlands played top quality hockey to share points with a 2-2 draw.

In what could easily be described the best match of the meet so far, the Netherlands held the upper hand in the first session and took the lead through a penalty corner conversion by Wouter Jolie in the 23rd minute.

Stung by the reverse, Germany, aiming to win their third title in a row, launched an all out attack in the second half and almost took the match away from the three-time champions with two consecutive strikes in the 43rd and 63rd minute. It was finally left to veteran Dutch skipper Teun de Nooijer to level the score in the 66th minute when he managed to push in from close ranges.

For Germany, the scorers were Oilver Korn, who darted in from the right to slam the equaliser and Joan Marco Montag, whose neat swing caught the Netherlands defence completely off-guard.

“It was a great match,” said Nooijer, the three-time FIH player of the Year, later. “We are traditional rivals in Europe and know each other’s game well. Despite this draw, we shouldn’t face any problem in reaching the semi-finals,” he said.

The draw also left the race for the two semi-final spots from Pool A wide open as four teams have the chance to make the grade. While the Netherlands (10 points) and Germany (8) stand at the top of the pool at the end of the fourth round, South Korea, who routed Canada 9-2 in the day’s first match, are back in contention with seven points.

In another match, New Zealand went down to Argentina by a solitary goal but with six points so far, they have an outside chance to give it a final try on the concluding day of the group league matches, on Tuesday, when the Black Sticks play Germany and the Netherlands take on South Korea.

For Argentina, Facundo Callioni scored the all important goal in the second half. The Koreans were a revelation in the day’s first match. Beaten unexpectedly by New Zealand in the previous outing, the Asian champions were faced with the danger of elimination and needed a big win to stay in the race. The Koreans did it in style, especially in the second half, when they stepped up the pace to slam seven goals.

The true form of the Koreans, the only Asian team to reach the semi-finals in the last two editions of the World Cup, was evident between 35th an 51st minute. In 16 dazzling minutes, the Koreans tore open the Canada defence to score six goals. So aggressive were the Koreans that they did not mind conceding two goals from counter attacks during this period.

South Korea’s main aim was to improve their goal difference at the expense of the hapless Canadians. They have now seven points and a good goal difference of plus seven. Jong Hyun Jang scored three goals followed by Hyo Sik You and Hyun Woo Nam with two each. Nam Yong Lee and Sung Hoon Yoon hit one apiece. Philip Wright got both the goals for Canada.

The Telegraph, India



Netherlands, Germany go dutch

Errol D'Cruz


NEW DELHI: Giants Germany and the Netherlands played out a 2-2 draw in the Hero Honda hockey World Cup on Sunday.

Germany, the defending champions, took their tally to eight points with a match against New Zealand left. The Dutch who could have picked up their 12th point with a win but inched closer to a semifinal berth, are on 10 and must play their hoodoo team South Korea in the last round of Pool A matches on Tuesday.

The Dutch came into the game with three straight wins, scoring 12 and conceding just one goal. Taeke Taekema, their master drag-flicker had six goals under his belt scoring in each match.

But it was Wouter Jolie who scored in the 23rd minute after Taekema failed with two penalty corners, doing the job with an old fashioned hit that took the Germans by surprise, not least goalkeeper Tim Jessulat who let the ball go high into the net off his pads.

Chances fell at either end in a feisty encounter. Rob Reckers, put through by the talismanic veteran Teun de Nooijer, was thwarted by a maze of Dutch sticks and Matthias Witthaus, aiming for his third World Cup gold medal, had a chance to level but shot wide when well placed.

however, German pressure paid. Oliver Korn deflected in Christoph Menkes cross from the right and the scores were level. Then, Jan-Marco Montag put the Germans ahead volleying in a rebound off the crosspiece with just seven minutes to go but Teun de Nooijer slotted home on the run to restore parity with four minutes to go.

The Times of India



One point could be crucial, says Muller

Age Correspondent


New Delhi: “It was an expected draw as most matches between Germany and Holland end up with a 2-2 scoreline,” said Dutch skipper Teun de Nooijer after the European giants played out a 2-2 draw in their Pool A game of the Hockey World Cup here on Sunday.

Just as the young German side threatened looked to walk away with three points, De Nooijer struck in the dying minutes to eke out a draw.

Said Holland coach Michel van den Heuvel, “I would say we had the flexibility and the power to come from 1-2 down to make it 2-2.”

Holland now lead Pool A with 10 points. Germany, Korea and New Zealand are close behind with eight, seven and six points each.

Said German skipper Maximillian Muller, “It was a very close game today, and may be we should have won it in the end.

“But to get a result was very crucial today. I am glad we could earn point from the match, and are now ahead of Korea on a solitary point.”

“This one point can turn out to be crucial in the end,” added Muller.

Germany face New Zealand next in a must-win tie as the race for the last-four berth goes to the wire. Added coach Markus Weise, “I am quite happy with the game today. New Zealand are up next and we are ready.”

The Asian Age



Draw against Germany is not surprising: Tuen de Nooijer

NEW DELHI: For the Netherlands captain Tuen de Nooijer the 2-2 draw against arch-rivals Germany in a crucial pool A match of the hockey World Cup was an expected result since the history of the clashes between the two hockey powerhouses has more often produced same result.

Nooijer said as expected the encounter was a hard-fought and there was hardly any difference between the two sides.

"It was an expected draw for me because all our matches against Germany happen to end on 2-2," he told reporters at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium after the game.

"In the first half we played well but in the second half they were the better side," Nooijer said.

Even coach Michel van den Heuvel agreed with his skipper, saying, "It was a tough battle. 80 per cent of our matches against Germany end in draws.

"Both the teams played well in phases but I am happy with my team's fighting spirit. Down 2-1, they did not give up and scored the all-important equaliser in the final minutes," Huevel said.

Some of the Dutch players belonging to Rotterdam on Sunday wore a black armband to pay respect to former president of H C Rotterdam Jan Hagendijh, who passed away two days back.

Meanwhile, German captain Maximillian Muller said irrespective of the draw, his side is in a better position to qualify for the semifinals from the keenly contested Pool A.

"We played very well today. We are looking forward to playing same good hockey against Korea on Tuesday. Although, New Zealand, Korea are still there, I think we are in a good position to make it to the semi-finals," he said.

"It was a close match. I think may be we finally deserved to be on the winning side," Muller added.

German coach Markus Weise said his young team has displayed their best hockey of the World Cup against the formidable Dutch.

"I am very happy with the performance. It was our best game of the tournament so far but I am not sure whether we deserve to win or not," he said.

"Our goal is to reach the semi-finals which is not certain. We will have to win against New Zealand. But if it comes to goal difference, Korea would be lucky as they have scored more goals than us," Weise added.

The Times of India



All to play for in the next match

Germany coach Markus Weise believes his team will have to do well to win the next game versus New Zealand.

By Anshul Baijal


Weise, meanwhile, is happy with Germany's performance against The Netherlands as they kept themselves in the contention for a berth in the last-four of the hockey World Cup after drawing their game against the Netherlands.

The Germans, who have looked a bit off-colour throughout the tournament, played a very good game on Sunday night.

Weise believes this is their best performance so far. "I am very happy with the performance. It was our best game of the tournament so far," he said.

The defending champions need a win in their last game against New Zealand and Weise believes his team will do well.

"Our goal is to reach the semi-finals. We have to beat the Kiwis and I am sure if we play as well as we did today we can beat them," said Weise.

The German captain Maximillian Muller believes his side's next game against the Black Sticks will be a keenly contested game.

"We are looking forward to playing some good hockey against New Zealand on Tuesday. Although, New Zealand, Korea are still there, I think we are in a good position to make it to the semi-finals," he said.

The Netherlands coach Michel van den Heuvel, meanwhile, said that he was expecting the two sides to play out a 2-2 draw. "It was a tough battle. 80 per cent of our matches against Germany end with a similar scoreline, I was expecting this result" he said

He added "Both the teams played well in phases but I am happy with my team's fighting spirit. Down 2-1, they did not give up and scored the all-important equaliser in the final minutes."

The draw takes Holland to 10 points from four games to currently place them on top of Pool A ahead of Germany who have eight.

The Dutch next face Korea in their last match of the league stage and anything other than a defeat in that match will seal their semi-final spot.

ESPNStar.com



England's Iain Mackay to face Spain despite broken nose

By Pat Rowley in New Delhi


Digging deep: England hockey player Iain Mackay is likely to face Spain despite suffering a broken nose in his last World Cup outing Photo: REUTERS

Iain Mackay will take to the field despite having a broken nose as England look to maintain their perfect record at the World Cup against Spain on Monday.

The Reading player sustained the injury in a collision with India's Sandeep Singh in Saturday's 3-2 win, but he has vowed to play on, which is just as well as the only other possibility if another England player is injured is for second goalkeeper Nic Brothers to play left wing.

England have already booked their place in the semi-finals but there are some old scores to settle in New Dellhi.

England lost 4-2 to Spain as recently as January and have not tasted victory against them at a World Cup for 35 years. But this England team is formidable and growing in stature every game while Spain have seem strangely lethargic.

For England top place in the group is at stake while Spain are fighting to finish third in their group to stay in the world's top six. It would need an astonishing turn of events for them to make the semi-finals at high scoring Australia's expense.

In Sunday's games, South Korea crushed Canada 9-2, while Argentina edged out New Zealand 1-0. Holland dropped their first points in a 2-2 draw with great rivals Germany, the holders, leaving England the only side with maximum points.

The Telegraph



Downbeat Pakistan in tough Aussie test

NEW DELHI: Four-time champions Pakistan’s World Cup campaign has gone horribly wrong, and call it fate that they have to stand up to the toughest opponents in Pool B — Australia — in their last league encounter on Monday (today).

It appears to be a tough ask for the crestfallen Pakistani team against the title favourites after their shocking loss to South Africa, with the 3-4 scoreline belying the domination of the African side.

In other pool matches, England will take on Olympic silver medallists Spain while India face South Africa. European champions England have already booked a semifinal berth after four victories on the trot.

Out of contention for a top-five finish after three consecutive defeats, India would be desperate to end their losing streak when they take on lowly but spirited South Africa. A win for India will secure their place in the seventh-eighth place play-off match, which would be a considerable improvement from their 11th place finish in the 2006 World Cup in Monchengladbach, Germany.

Collecting nine points from four outings, Australia also look more or less certain to make the semis, with a 21-5 goal difference. Theoretically, however, their nearest rivals Spain — on six points — have an outside chance to make the grade if they can spank England by a huge margin and Pakistan beat the Kookaburras.

But even if the Aussies lose, it could be too much to expect a big Spanish victory over England, by far the most consistent performer in the tournament along with the Netherlands.

The mathematical probabilities notwithstanding, all eyes will be again on Pakistan. Pakistan are aware there will be no freebies on offer against Australia.

The two teams had a similar start but followed different courses as the World Cup reached the weekend.

Pakistan will have to show character and not allow Australia steamroll them.

Australia, on the other hand, stung by England in the opening match, bounced back like a champion side, winning against India, South Africa and Spain.

The runners-up of the last two editions Australia, coached by legendary Ric Charlesworth, have been a treat to watch with a free-flowing forward line and an impregnable defence at their disposal.

Pakistan’s penalty corner expert Sohail Abbas has been a pale shadow of his past, their talismanic striker Rehan Butt has looked unimpressive and the lapses in defence glaring.

A dejected Pakistani coach Shahid Ali Khan was at a loss of words to explain Pakistan’s poor show in the tournament.

“This is the worst I have seen Pakistan play, both as player and as coach. I have never faced such defeat (against South Africa) even during my playing days,” said Shahid Ali Khan.

“We were never the tournament favourites. We came here to improve our rankings, but I never expected such a result,” he said.

Pakistan will do well to stop brooding about the past results and take it as an opportunity to redeem themselves and make sure they do not slide from the sixth position they finished in the previous edition.

The News International



India needs a flawless performance

S. Thyagarajan


— Photo: PTI

WHAT NEXT?A dejected looking Rajpal Singh walks back after the loss to England.

New Delhi: It is tempting to use the worn out saying, so near, yet so far. This perhaps underscores the sentiments after the loss to England. A semifinals berth was only a dream after the pounding against Australia. But it persisted till the fourth encounter.

Coach Brasa's estimate of a fifth place sounds realistic. Whether this can be accomplished is open to debate. India readies to come to grips with South Africa on Monday in the last Pool ‘B' match of the Hero Honda hockey World Cup.

Competitive hockey is not about how well you play but how tactically you play for a decisive result. On Saturday, there were spells when the Indians had the crowd spellbound.

The pace, precision and finesse touched the emotional chords. But the end game, for all the nerve wracking moments, was defeat.

A depleted England side harnessed the few opportunities to sign a victory script.

Realistically, India needs to finish third in the pool for a possible fight for the fifth spot. If that becomes a reality then this World Cup campaign can be deemed a success. From the 11th in the last edition in 2006 to the fifth or sixth in 2010 is an achievement by itself.

With three points from four games is this aim within the realm of possibility? First, India has to win by a very comfortable margin against South Africa to shift from minus 4 to plus-something in goal difference.

This is on the assumption that Spain loses to England. A draw will put Spain easily in the third spot. At best India can fight for 7-8 spots.

India lost the way after the defeat by a big margin against Spain. A draw against England could have improved matters if Rajpal had tapped in the cross in the dying minutes.

South Africa should be brimming with confidence after that extraordinary show against Pakistan. India cannot afford to take it for granted. It has to come up with a flawless performance.

Interestingly, the last meeting between the teams was in the 2006 World Cup. India won 1-0 to secure the 11th spot. In the league phase, India was held to a draw.

Statistically, of the 30 encounters thus far, India has won 18, lost five and drawn seven. In the World Cup of the three played, two were drawn with India winning one. So that's not much to speak about.

Only a clear cut win on Monday will restore the feeling that India is progressing under the foreign coach, Jose Brasa.

The Hindu



India-South Africa in historical perspective

K. Arumugam


When apartheid was lifted in 1993, it was India that hosted South Africa's crcket team. Our cricket had that 'first' tag. That African cricket team's visit is known to everybody, but on the same time hockey also made a historical stride.

Indian hockey was the first team to visit apartheid free South Africa.

Zafar Iqbal was the coach, Shakeel Ahmad led the side, and played a four-match Series. It was maide tour for Zafar Iqbal and maiden captaincy for midfield Shakeel.

Thereafter the exchanges increased, South African team coming for Indira Cup regularly, their centre-forward and captain topscoring the Lucknow edition once.

South Africa always welcome India for visits, both men and women teams going there reguarly.

South Africa of 90s was coming up side, but in the 2000s a mature side.

Whether it is Commonwealth Games, Olympics or World Cup, this side offered stiff resistence ot India.

Packed with solid defence manned by its captain Austin Smith, scoring againts them is not going to be easy, despite the fact the Australians would love to tell a different story.

South Africa plays open hockey.

Their weaknes of course is Penalty Corner defence, charges are vulnerable. If India can use variation, let Diwakar or Dhananjay gets rotation of set piece drills, goals need not be a problem for India.

Stick2Hockey.com



India has special connections with South Africa

Prabhjot Singh


India has strong hockey bonds with South Africa. It is perhaps the only team other than the home team to have their playing kit and hockey sticks imported from India. But this will not wean any competitiveness expected of a World Cup match that the two teams are to play against each other on Monday. It will be their last pool B encounter.

Interestingly, both South Africa and India have beaten Pakistan for their only win of the tournament. Still South Africa is at the bottom of the table because of its 0-12 defeat at the hands of Australia. Playing in their fourth World Cup, South Africa does not have an impressive record behind them. They lost 1-0 to India to finish last in the 2006 World Cup.

Earlier in their pool match in the same tournament, they had held India to a draw. In 2002, they had finished 13th in a field of 16 while in 1994, when they made their debut in World Cup, they ended at 10th position. But their most sensational win has been against Pakistan yesterday.

South Africans after suffering world cup’s biggest ever drubbing at the hands of Australia are keen to repair the damage to their reputation and may give India a tough time in a day of inconsequential matches as far as the qualifiers for semifinals are concerned.

Both England and Australia are through. Even if Australia loses to Pakistan and Spain beats England in Mondays’ matches, Australia will sail through because of the huge goal difference it has tactfully and strategically built in the game against South Africa.

Australia’s record against Pakistan is mixed though the last time they played each other, Australia ran a convincing 3-0 victor at Monchengladbach. In 1998 also Australia were winners (3-1) but in 1994 in Sydney, Pakistan had beaten them 2-1. In 1990 Lahore world Cup also, Pakistan had beaten Australia 2-1.In the 1971 World Cup; Pakistan had trounced Australia 5-2.

A win for Pakistan may, however, boost their chances of finishing at number four position in pool B below Spain. But that looks quiet improbable as India also expects to win its last game against South Africa. Even if India beats South Africa by a couple of goals and Spain loses to England, the home team will still have to content with number four position thus making it eligible to play for seventh position but out of consideration for a possible Champions Trophy berth.

Leave aside these academic or statistical exercises, the tournament will be remembered for more than one reasons. Two-match ban for Shivendra Singh, introduction of video referrals, South Africa’s shock win over Pakistan, emergence of penalty strikers Taeke Taekema (the Netherlands) and Luke Doerner (Australia) as top scorers and Australia’s landslide 12-0 win over South Africa are some of the salient features of this edition.

The Tribune



Hopes shattered, India play for pride

Harpreet Kaur Lamba


New Delhi: The South Africans arrived for the 12th Hockey World Cup here with a single idea in mind. “We do not wish to finish last like in 2006,” skipper Austin Smith had remarked on the day of their arrival.

Eight days into the tournament, the Proteas have already sent out warning signals. They gave a tough fight to England — before losing 4-6 — and stunned four-time champions Pakistan 4-3 on Saturday.

South Africa face India on Monday, in what is the last encounter for both teams in Pool B.

For Jose Brasa and his boys, this is a last opportunity to make amends. INdia have sparkled occasionally, but haven’t been able to produce the results expected of them. Monday’s tie is a perfect opportunity for the hosts to aim for the 5th to 8th place finish, something that they haven’t been able to do in the last decade.

A top-eight finish will give India’s ranking a big push, and also a chance to compete with the best in the world, since most FIH events cover the top eight ranked nations.

Said Brasa, “Lack of matches before the World Cup has hurt the team bad. I know we have to be content with what we have, but a few competitive matches would have helped our cause. Now we are eyeing a finish in the top eight.”

On paper, India are far superior to their opponents in every department. The threat though, lies in the Proteas’ unpredictability. The Smith-led team do not have the agility of the Australians or Spain’s sharpness, but are a bunch who are eager to make their mark. Said Smith after the game against Pakistan, “We showed a lot of character today. Finally, things are falling in place. And we hope to play in the same vein against India. They will be tougher than Pakistan though.”

South Africa coach Gregg Clark is charged with the task of returning South Africa to respectability. They have finished last and second to last in the previous two World Cups. “The boys were hungry after losing three games and you could see it in their body language yesterday. They wanted to win,” said Clark. The bunch are now eyeing a repeat of Saturday’s show against India.

Not ranked among the world’s top 12 teams, South Africa rely on a few individual players, who have stood out for them in the past. One of those men is central defender Smith, who was included in the FIH’s All-Star Team for 2009. Lloyd Madsen stands out in the midfield region, while Marvin Harper and Ian Haley have shown resolve up front.

The Asian Age



Hosts need to go all out against doughty SA

Alok Sinha

NEW DELHI: The South African team managed to come here with the help of money raised in a lottery. But they have left nothing to luck or chance in the ongoing Hero Honda World Cup.

In a country gripped by football World Cup fever, there was not enough support from the government or sponsors for the stick wielders. However, four matches down the line, fans back home are watching them closely and taking pride in their fighting spirit.

Hosts India have shown a similar desire to fight and change the perception of the hockey world about their abilities. These two teams will face off in a fight to avoid the 9-12 bracket of the Cup. You can call it the battle for promotion. It's not going to be easy for India. South Africa not only gave Spain and England a difficult time, they stunned a much higher ranked but sorry-looking Pakistan side on Saturday. They had just one bad game, a 12-0 thrashing at the hands of the awesome Aussies.

India too have had just one below-par game against Spain on Thursday. They played at a sizzling pace against England on Saturday and almost walked away with the game in the final minutes. It was a thrilling fightback, probably the best seen in the tournament so far.

The problem with India is their lack of experience at this level. Except the opening game against Pakistan, they have conceded ground early in the other three matches and then played catch-up. They made silly errors, got punished and then pulled up their socks to make a match of it. They played with a lot of self-belief against England but still let in two soft goals. All the good work in between doesn't count if the scoreline says a different story.

Coach Jose Brasa admitted that the team had some way to go. The lack of quality matches in the run-up to the tournament has hurt us. We need to play more tournaments to reach the top bracket.

They sure do but that is for later. The World Cup is not yet over. If India can overcome the challenge of the South Africans, the only team below them in FIH rankings in their group, it would not be a futile campaign after all. They have the support of the fans; they have been backed by the government and the sponsors.

Now, they need to play their last round-robin game hard. There's still a lot to play for. And yes, they can't leave anything to luck or chance.

The Times of India



India look for face-saver

Uthra G Chaturvedi


India played for a semi-final spot against Spain a few days ago, and lost it despite getting enough chances. They played for pride against England on Saturday, but managed only to come close. Now, left with only their last league match against South Africa, there is little at stake for the hosts of the 12th hockey World Cup except a face-saver and one last chance to finish in single digits in the event.

The last time India played South Africa in a World Cup match, they were fighting to avoid the wooden spoon in 2006. India struggled to register a 1-0 win in the play-off for the 11th -12th spot back then. When the two teams line up on Monday, they will clash this time to finish in the top eight. And going by current form, India will have a battle on the cards yet again.

What should be a concern for the hosts is the fact that the last encounter between the two sides was an example of numerous chances going waste before India finally tapped in the winner. That story seems to be continuing in 2010, with the Indian strikers missing several sitters inside the circle. Against a resolute South African defence, it is an area that India need to address quickly. Ranked 13th in the world, they made a strong return after a 12-0 mauling by Australia, upsetting Pakistan 4-3. Their morale will be high and a win against India will put them fourth in the table.

South African captain Austin Smith has already said that their realistic target from this World Cup was to learn from the top teams and improve on their last-place finish from 2006. And his team look determined to do exactly that. The South Africans are physically much stronger, and India need to counter that with their skills and gameplan.

For India, a win is important for more reasons than one. It will help them fight for the seventh spot, their best finish in the event in the last 12 years. It will also be their last chance to prove that the team are better than they have played so far.

On the positive side, India have definitely been a better team than Pakistan in the event irrespective of their results. Also, Pakistan managed to pull back after being down 4-1 at one stage despite their scorers having an off day, which makes South Africa’s defence slightly suspect.

Indian Express



Position play in hockey World Cup for India

C Rajshekhar Rao


New Delhi: Expectations of India reaching the semifinals of the World Cup were always far-fetched. Fighting it out for the fifth to eighth places will not be too bad for a team currently ranked 12th in the world and that too with a dismal record in recent years.

But for that too, they need to put up their best in the last pool B match against South Africa, which will eventually decide the final play-offs. The African champions may not be easy opposition, especially after their 4-3 victory over Pakistan on Saturday.

India coach Jose Brasa is not disappointed with the team’s showing thus far, but expects the players to do well against South Africa, failing which they may be left fighting it out for even lower places.

“I never claimed that India would do wonders in the World Cup. I have always aimed at the team doing well at the Asian Games at the end of this year, because that is a reasonable expectation,” Brasa said ahead of Monday’s engagement with the 13th-ranked side.

India did not win a medal at the 2006 Asian Games and failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics. This year is a crucial one for Indian hockey, what with the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games lined up in October-November.

“I have been with the team for seven months, and that is too short a time to work up something really good. As I see it, the team is improving,” said the Spaniard.

Losing to South Africa would mean a fight for the fifth place in the pool as England, Australia and Spain already have two wins or more, while South Africa would also reach two wins, leaving India with just one.

If Pakistan lose to Australia, as is expected, it would leave the two sub-continental teams at fifth and sixth places. Currently, Pakistan (one win so far) are eight goals in deficit, while India are just four in arrears, giving the home side a clear advantage of four goals.

According to championship rules, the fifth-placed teams of either group will have a play-off to decide the ninth and 10th rankings; the fourth on either side will clash for the seventh and eighth places, and so on.

A loss in Spain’s last match against England too is not likely to push India above the fourth position as the Olympic finalists have a two-goal plus advantage, keeping them a handsome six goals ahead of India.

But it becomes a possibility in case of big wins for India and England. That would round off the tournament well for India, who had finished 11th the last time around.

DNA



India hope to salvage honour

Hosts need to finish third in group to qualify for fifth-sixth spot playoff

JAYDEEP BASU


New Delhi: After hat-trick of defeats in the group stages, India will take on South Africa on Monday hoping to improve their rankings in the World Cup hockey at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium.

The last time India played South Africa in the World Cup was in 2006, in Germany, to decide the last two spots in the 12-nation meet. Luckily, India avoided the ignominy of finishing 12th as they managed victory by a solitary goal.

Indian coach Jose Brasa has been saying for long that a fifth place finish in the World Cup would be a satisfactory result for the hosts.

But then, as things stands now, Brasa’s dream of taking India to the top six bracket seems a near impossible task.

To qualify for the classification match for the fifth and the sixth spots, India will have to ensure a third place finish in their own group, an extremely improbable job.

Apart from the basic need of beating South Africa by a comfortable margin, India will also have to depend heavily on the results of the other matches in the group.

As of now, India are placed fourth in the group with only three points that they earned by beating Pakistan on the inaugural day. Spain, who are placed third with six points behind England (12) and Australia (9) are still in with an outside chance for a last four spot and will certainly go flat out against England on Monday.

Though India are slightly better placed on goal difference, the two other teams in the group — Pakistan and South Africa — can pip the home side in the fight for the higher placing as both the sides also have three points each.

Beating South Africa, especially after their morale-boosting win over Pakistan, is going to be tough, said Brasa. “South Africa are a very good side. They played well against Pakistan, Spain and England. It will not be an easy job.”

India’s problems are basically self-inflicted. Against both Spain and England, the hosts missed a series of chances and failed to mark the rival strikers.

Once again, India were proved to be poor converters of penalty corners despite having three specialist drag-flickers in the team.

The lack of variations was evident as the rival goalkeepers foiled Sandeep Singh and Dhananjay Mahadik time and again.

On Saturday, Brasa said that lack of experience was one of the main reasons behind India’s poor showings against top teams in the group. The argument doesn’t hold good as India have several players in the team who have played more than 100 international matches.

Seasoned striker Prabhjot Singh also felt the team missed too many chances in the tournament.

“We wasted opportunities and failed to covert penalty corners. Our man-to-man markings were also not up to the mark,” he admitted.

Given the kind of support the home team received throughout the tournament, India must do well against South Africa.

A defeat against the 12th place team in the last World Cup would be the last thing the fans would expect from Brasa and his men in the concluding group league match.

The Telegraph, India



Champions Trophy slot should motivate India against South Africa

NEW DELHI: Knocked out of semi-final contention in the Hockey World Cup, India need to motivate themselves to try and get a direct entry to the Champions Trophy when they take on a resurgent South Africa in their last Pool B match on Monday.

The top five finishers in the World Cup would make it to the Champions Trophy directly and India need to finish among the first four in the Pool to qualify for the classification matches for fifth to eighth positions.

However, the match against South Africa would be far from a cakewalk for the hosts, who have suffered a hat-trick of defeats in the tournament after the euphoric 4-1 win against arch-rivals Pakistan on the opening day.

In contrast, South Africa would be high on adrenaline after their shock 4-3 win over four times champions Pakistan to break a seven-game losing streak and a ten game winless record in the World Cup.

The African side's feat was all the more commendable as it came only 48 hours after they suffered a humiliating 0-12 defeat to Australia, and the Indians would have to find a way to slow down their rivals, who completely outpaced Pakistan in the second session on Saturday.

Both the teams have three points so far, though India find themselves in the fourth spot by virtue of a better goal difference (minus four as opposed to South Africa's minus 15). Pakistan (minus six) are fifth while South Africa are now the wooden spooners.

England are already in the semis with 12 points from four straight wins, while Australia also look a near certainty (9 points) with a huge goal difference while Spain (six points) only have an outside chance.

The Indian defence has looked jaded in the tournament, with Sandeep Singh failing to give a good account of himself either as a defender or in his role as drag flicker. The Indians have converted only four of the 15 penalty corners, while their forwards have been brilliant only in flashes and wasted chances like billionaires squandering money in a casino,

The midfield has been the only department where the Indians have been more or less consistent, and their Spanish coach Jose Brasa would be hoping for a fine display from this section as they need to log in full points to stay out of reach of Pakistan and retain at least the fourth slot, if not finish a rung higher by unseating Spain.

There is not much to choose between the two sides as far as the world rankings are concerned. While India are at 12th place, South Africa occupy the 13th slot.

Head to head, India have never lost a World Cup game to South Africa in three meetings. Two of the clashes ended in draws while the Indians won 1-0 in the play-off for the 11th position four years back at Monchengladbach.

Other than the victory over Pakistan, it has not been a very memorable campaign for South Africa in the tournament so far. They have conceded 25 goals, and converted only one of their 11 penalty corners.

While the South Africans would hope to continue the momentum they gained in the last match, India would look to return to their winning ways and brace up for the tough classification matches in the second week.

The Times of India



Desperate India aim to end losing streak against South Africa

NEW DELHI: Out of contention for a top-five finish after three consecutive defeats, India would be desperate to end their losing streak when they take on lowly but spirited South Africa in their last pool B match of the hockey World Cup on Monday.

A win against South Africa will not only give the ardent hockey fans something to cheer about but also secure India's place in the seventh-eighth place play-off match, which would definitely be a considerable improvement from their 11th place finish in the 2006 World Cup in Monchengladbach, Germany.

However, achieving it won't be a cake-walk as South Africa are on a high after registering their first-ever victory in the World Cup.

After stunning Pakistan 4-3 in their last match, the Proteas would be looking for another upset and going by their performance in the last encounter, the possibility is not a distant dream.

The Indians don't seem to have learnt from their past mistakes as for the third consecutive match, the home team committed the same blunders in the tournament.

The Indian defence yet again crumbled under pressure and on more than one occasion found itself in a hole. Like in the earlier two games, the home team was on the back-foot from the beginning after conceding early soft goals.

The Indians left plenty of open spaces in the field, man-to-man marking seemed to have gone for a toss. To add to it, horrible trapping, mindless passing and unnecessary dribbling continued unabated. And if they continue the same, a rude shock may await them on Monday in the form of South Africa.

"We did not learn from the past mistakes against Spain. The first goal we conceded was similar to the one Spain scored against us. If you commit these kind of mistakes at the top level competitions you have to pay for it.

"But all these cannot be changed in a short time. We need many more matches at the top level to rectify all these mistakes. We did not have that in the build-up to the World Cup. Seven months is too short to sort out those things and without playing international matches," India coach Jose Brasa had said.

However, there are some positives that India can draw from the England encounter.

The Indian mid-field yet again dished out a fine performance with Gurbaz Singh being outstanding on the right and giving him due support were Arjun Halappa and Sardar Singh.

The forward-line also picked up their pieces and looked menacing against the English but what they lacked was finishing. But the most notable thing, which the Indians have earned in this tournament, is their fighting spirit.

"We are improving with every match. In every match, the boys fought till the last breath," Brasa said.

On the other hand, by virtue of their victory over Pakistan, South Africa on Saturday proved that they are not here just to add up the numbers.

With the win against Pakistan, the South Africans have already achieved what they aimed for in this tournament.

They have nothing to lose and only to gain from the India encounter, which would definitely be more than enough motivation for them to come out full throttle against the Indians.

India coach Brasa too admitted that the Proteas would be a tough team to compete against.

"South Africa is a very good side. They played very well against Pakistan, Spain and England. It will not be an easy match for us against them," he said.

The Times of India



Boys not comfortable with 3-3-3-1 system

D Ram Raj


Chennai: The defenders are not rectifying their mistakes and are conceding shocking goals due to poor man marking.

The Indians are still not comfortable with the 3-3-3-1 system adopted by Jose Brasa and only 40 per cent of the boys have been in action and that is too taxing for the team. I feel the 4-4-2 system would have been better for our boys.

Basically the system (3-3-3-1) is worrying for me as the Indians are not used to it. Spain have been playing this system for nearly 20 years and as it is a defensive system, the onus should be on not conceding goals. India have played in this system only for seven months.

If you look at Spain, despite their loss to Australia they have not conceded too many goals. Under the system, the players have to be composed so that they can stick to their task. The forwards have to be composed even to convert half chances; the same (need to be composed) applies to the midfield and the defence.

The work load on the upfront was too big a task and there was too much running for the players so much so they played only 60 per cent of the field thereby missing scoring chances.

The Indian left was a total non-entity and they depended too much on Rajpal Singh on the right. The ball control, switching and transferring were not fluent. Except for Gurbaj Singh, who played outstandingly, none of the other midfielders played well.

Vikram Pillay likes to play free hockey, but he was not able to do so. Despite the return of Shivendra Singh, the Indian forward line was banking too much on Rajpal.

In all four matches, India have conceded goals in a short span and that puts additional pressure on the team. At this level of the game, it is common for teams to go down by a goal, get the equaliser and get back into the game.

India, however, found themselves in deep arrears and that made the situation difficult. The Indians had the upper hand in the first 20 minutes of the game, but the strong England defence withstood the onslaught. The first goal by England shattered India. Overall, the team appeared to lack planning and direction. The continuing weak defence is surely a big cause for concern as the entire team depends on a good defence mechanism to carry forward.

—Vasudevan Baskaran, Captain's corner

DNA



India needs a ‘midfield leader’

The situation in Pool B is interestingly poised, with the last round of league matches on Monday to decide the topper in the group. The battle is between Australia and England, both facing tricky opposition.

England have been a revelation in this World Cup, accounting for the mighty Aussies in their first outing before going on to win all their matches. Their level of preparedness has come as a surprise. This team is one of the best sides to come out of England in the last 20 years. They take on Spain in an interesting encounter, with the Iberians looking to salvage pride after their loss to Australia and claim a spot in the 5th to 8th placing.

If England win no calculations will come into play, but if Spain manage to pull it off, Australia, with their healthy goal advantage of 16 should top the pool if they beat Pakistan.

Australia have improved with every outing. Their convincing victories over India (5-2), South Africa (12-0) and Spain (2-0) make them one of the favourites of the tournament.

Pakistan have not had the best of campaigns, their recent 3-4 loss to South Africa indicating their slump and it is highly unlikely they will put it across the marauding Aussies.

I was hoping India would pull it off against England to secure a spot in the 5th to 8th placing matches, but that was not to be. I hope they finish their league engagements on a winning note by outclassing South Africa.

Against England, it seemed goalkeeper Adrian D’Souza, defenders Dhananjay Mahadik and Bharat Chikara were mere spectators. Adrian left the post and watched the England striker’s direct hit pass through the Indian defence and beat him hands down.

No doubt the Indians showed urgency in getting a goal but in the bargain made some big defensive errors. We continued to fumble with the penalty corners and I felt the team lacked a leader in the first 35 minutes.

The second half saw a decent fight back from our boys but, unfortunately, we couldn’t get the equaliser. Frustration could be seen in the body language of our boys and when Gurbaj and Sardar Singh were given the marching orders, the game was over for them.

The players should know their responsibility towards the team and a sensible approach could have given them an opportunity to look for the equaliser. I feel we were never ready to compete for a medal in this World Cup, on our home soil. The home advantage never came into play at all for Team India.  But I have to say here that in my playing days there was always a leader, who could control the midfield area and lead the team. Boys, it looks like you are not in the right frame of mind after the loss to England, but such situations arise in sport and we have to overcome them.

Hindustan Times



India's World Cup campaign flawed from the start

NEW DELHI: It is time to pick up the pieces of Indian hockey even as coach Jose Brasa is humming John Denver's "Leaving on a Jet Plane" melody. One suspects that the Spaniard believes that he could be the first before the firing squad, post the Hockey World Cup.

His reported statement "my bags are always packed" is not without significance. The 2-3 defeat to England was probably the last straw for salvation, but India could yet derive some consolation from their ill-fated campaign by finishing fifth like they last did in 1994 at Sydney and qualify for this year's Champions Trophy in Germany.

However, to attain that position, India still need to beat South Africa, flying high after a shock 4-3 defeat of Pakistan, in their concluding league fixture on Monday, and thereafter win their classification match. Should India fail again, then for sure, the knives would be out and the worms will crawl out of the can. Such consequences, though all too familiar, will send Indian hockey back to the Dark Ages.

It is pointless to blame the players or the coaching staff. After all, a team is only as good as the system it functions in and the system is only as good as the persons who govern it. Salvation for Indian hockey lies in a top-to-bottom overhaul and not the other way around. Change always begins at the top and development from the grassroots, but it is a moot point whether the current or future Hockey India officials would take cognizance of this home truth.

Forget talent and potential. The performance yardsticks that matter are the World Cup and the Olympics, and, to a lesser extent, the Champions Trophy.

Brasa's assertion that the players "lacked in experience and exposure" following the loss to England is debatable since a majority of the team has been playing at the international level, be it junior or senior level, for five years and more.

Had Brasa witnessed in person the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, then he would concede that the current India team is hopelessly out of its depth at the highest level, something that is obvious even to the uninitiated. In contrast, Germany, despite fielding only a few players from their successful 2006 World Cup campaign and a bunch of inexperienced youngsters, have performed exceedingly well. Mark it down to their professionally-run set up at home.

The win against Pakistan on the opening night covered up a lot of deficiencies in the Indian team, but was cruelly exposed by better-organised and more disciplined opponents. Against England, it boiled down to motivation and intensity that the Indian team sadly lacked until the players woke up in the latter part of the contest. It was all too little too late.

The harsh reality is that Brasa is saddled with a bunch of players about whom he knows little -- about their playing background, or their personal attributes. Nor he has a support system at his disposal. Worse still, as in Vasudevan Baskaran's 1998 World Cup squad, there are semi-fit players who remained unexposed due to the closed training sessions.

These observations might sound like nit-picking, or growing wiser after the event, but it does not alter the results or performance of the team whose preparations for the World Cup were flawed from the start, and marred by controversy that unfortunately is a by-word in Indian hockey.

Looking ahead to India's three remaining games in the World Cup, one fears the worst. The memories of the 1986 World Cup where India and Pakistan fought for 11th and 12th positions are still vivid, but one hopes history will not repeat itself.

The Times of India



There is a bunch that can take India back to the elite

G. Rajaraman


It has been a while since India figured among the top four finishers at a world class hockey event – and, even though Australia and the European nations do not figure in the Asian Games and Asia Cup, we are including these events when we are discussing the dismal record over the past few years. And I have felt no disappointment as the dreary run continues.

Had India drawn, if not won its match against England in the Hero Honda FIH World Cup at the Maj. Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Saturday night, it would have kept its slim hopes of making it to the last four alive. But a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the European champion left it with only mathematical chances of getting there.

I believe where England scored over India was its players’ greater control over fundamentals of passing and trapping besides working as a unit. Simple stated, it meant that more often than not, when an England player passed the ball, he would find a team-mate running to be at the right place to receive the ball.

Inda made a deliberate attempt to slow down the pace of the game – and therefore control the flow in the first half. There was a method to breaking into the striking circle with long passes but there was not much talent on show inside the scoring area. Each time a striker could not get a clear view of the goal, he would end up losing the ball to the England defence.

And when that discipline was forgotten and almost rustic scrimmages became the order of the day early in the second half, England was able to wrest control with an assured defence that sparked swift counterattacks that led to a couple of goals by Ashley Jackson – one off a penalty corner and the other to end a melee.

Yet, in the fightback that India launched after being 0-3 down, we could see glimpses of the future. Sardara Singh, Bharat Chikara, Dhananjay Mahadik, Gurbaj Singh, Shivendra Singh, Gurwinder Singh Chandi and Sandeep Singh showed that they could be shaped into a good unit in the coming years. There are young men who are ready to play their hearts out.

Sardara Singh and Gurbaj Singh played their roles adequately enough and can be the mainstays for some time to come while Dhananjay Mahadik and Bharat Chikara guarded the left flank with zeal. And though Sandeep Singh’s skills in defence can always be improved, his presence becomes important because he is India’s best drag-flicker.

There are many who do not think that Gurwinder Singh Chandi is ready to don the striker’s mantle yet but the lad showed that he has a good ball sense and the knack of figuring in the frame at crucial moments. He just needs to increase the frequency of such appearances and make his presence felt as a scorer in the manner in which he tapped in India’s first goal on Saturday.

Each of these lads just needs to focus on sharpening his own game – and enhance his ability to work with the others in the squad – rather than worry about anything else. If they need to secure player contracts, they can always have some former players handle that rather than get their feet themselves as Deepak Thakur and Prabhjot Singh did a few weeks before the World Cup.

If all those who care for hockey – and believe me you, this is not a small number – can lend their shoulders to the wheel, it will move in the right direction. We have seen a groundswell of support for Indian hockey, despite the team’s successive losses to Australia, Spain and England after that heady start against Pakistan. We have some talented players, too.

Believe me, it won’t be long before we figure in the top four bracket again.

Stick2Hockey.com



Pargat differs with coach Brasa on Indian hockey team's performance

Former captain Pargat Singh today refused to agree with coach Jose Brasa's viewpoint that Indian hockey team has improved with every match in the ongoing World Cup but did not blame the Spaniard for the hosts' poor show.

After the euphoric 4-1 victory over arch-rivals Pakistan, India suffered three consecutive defeats against Australia, Spain and England, which eventually threw them out of the semifinal race.

But Brasa says irrespective of the results, the hosts have showed significant improvement in their game.

However, Pargat begs to differ with the Indian coach, saying even though the team would improve upon their ranking here, but they have a long way to go to match Europeans side.

"As far as ranking is concerned, India has improved but performance wise I don't see any improvement," Pargat said.

"Tactically, technically and individually they are doing plenty of mistakes. If you continue committing the same mistakes in every match, you can never reach the top level," he said.

Pargat, who is also the Hockey Punjab secretary, rued the absence of a domestic structure and said without proper system in place it would be difficult to prepare the bench strength. More

"We don't have a proper system. No competitive domestic tournaments happened in the last two years apart from Surjit Singh tournament and a few others. Then from where we will get the players?," Pargat questioned.

"All other teams' performance in the World Cup is the reflection of their system. We need to have a broader base. I feel pity for Brasa. He never got the opportunity to see the players in domestic tournaments and had to be satisfied with the bunch given to him by the selectors," Pargat said.

He was also critical of Sandeep Singh and said apart from his dragflicks, the defender has no other weapon in his armoury to justify his selection in the side.

"Sandeep is always a very weak defender. His strength lies in penalty corners. But what I saw, he took most of the penalty corners at waist level, which is safest and easiest for a goalkeeper to stop," Pargat said.

Pargat also came hard on the selectors for carrying an unfit Deepak Thakur in the World Cup squad, who did very little to justify his place in the side.

"I don't know why he was selected in the team. Even I asked the selectors why he was included in the side when he was not fully fit. In the three matches he played, Deepak touched the ball only twice or thrice," he said.

Hindustan Times



Hockey structure in India is stricken by cancer: Horst Wein

Horst Wein is known in the world of hockey as much as he is in football, a rare multi-faceted character.

The legendary coach  has a piece of advice for Indian players: Focus more on the mental aspects of the game.

"No doubt, Indian players are extremely talented, but they lack hockey intelligence."

"Hockey has become a thinking game. Take a look at Saturday's game between Australia and Spain. Australia were up 1-0 in the first half and Spain, though they lost, played cleverly to reduce the pace of the game. That is what you call intelligent hockey," said the 61-year-old German, a master coach of International Hockey Federation (FIH).

A professor of physical education at Technical University of Munich and the National Institute of Physical Education in Barcelona, Wein feels the decline of eight-time Olympic champions in international hockey is due to the lack of vision of those "who are running the game in the country".

"I am sorry to say, but it is a fact that people who are running the game in India don't have a vision. There is no hockey structure.

"Here right from young age they are playing 11 against 11, which is a cancer in Indian hockey. If you are playing eight-year-olds in a match of 11 against 11, then half the boys in the side don't even get a chance to touch the ball with the stick," says Wein, who guided the Spanish men's team to an Olympic silver medal.

Wein, an author of 34 sports-related books, mainly on hockey and football, says a sound youth development programme is needed for India.

"Eight-year-olds should play three-a-side game while 10-year-olds should be engaged in five-a-side and the 11 year- olds should play six-a-side.  When you reduce the number of players, the kids automatically get the chance to play more and that helps them in understanding the game better. This is the best way to develop them mentally," says the foremost mentor of coaches and trainers.

Wein, whose revolutionary football principles are taught to youth football coaches of FC Barcelona, says India badly needs good coaches.

"India have a great coach in Jose Brasa. Hockey India should organise more camps for the coaches, where he can teach the modern techniques in international hockey," says the Guru, whose footprints can be seen in over 50 countries.

Wein is willing to work with both Indian hockey and football federations, and insists that a professional approach is needed to change the sports structure in the country.

Hindustan Times

 



Astroturf not to blame for India’s fall, says Kruize

Shubhodeep Chakravarty


Six World Cups, 202 international caps and a total of 167 goals easily classifies Ties Kruize as a legend. Standing tall in hall of fame, the humble Dutchman says he loves how hockey has evolved since when he played - as far back as the 70’s.

Manager of one of the most prolific sides in this tournament, Kruize feels that the Dutch have come a long way in the past two decades. ]

“India was the most powerful side when we used to play. I lost more games to India than I won. The balance now has shifted completely in our favour,” he said.

The man who played with a 28 oz stick credits an India-specific strategy as a key element in Holland’s success. “We made major changes in our tactics during the late 60’s and early 70’s. We changed our 2-3-5 formation to a 1-3-3-3 that helped us get initial success against opponents, specifically India. I feel both India and Pakistan have been more willing to stick with the traditional styles and has therefore lost out.”

Suggest that the introduction of astroturf is the bane of subcontinent teams and Kruize laughs “The astroturf has made the game much more exciting. Change happens. India’s decline in rankings is not a result of astroturf. They can still be a champion side if only they adapt.”

Kruize says he was looking forward to coming to India but the crowd response has left him disappointed. “I love this country but in all our games, we have had about 400 spectators of whom a 100 were Dutch. But I don’t blame the locals. In Holland, we have a simple logic - give the crowds a good result and they will love the game,” he says, adding that there are 225,000 registered hockey players in Holland - a country that has 350 clubs and 900 astroturfs. India, however, is not a lost case, said Kruise. “They (Indian players) appear under pressure to perform.

“Indian hockey should help boost their confidence rather than add to their anxiety. The coach (Brasa) is good. He should be given time to consolidate a good side.”

Hindustan Times



Oz eager to continue winning run

Devadyuti Das


New Delhi: England were the first team to book a place in the semi-finals of the 12th Hockey World Cup with an all-win record in the tournament so far. Australia now look set to clinch the other berth from Pool B with nine points from their four matches so far and a positive goal-difference of 16.

A win over Pakistan on Monday will ensure that Australia’s closest rivals Spain will not be able to catch them even if they go on to defeat Pool B leaders England in their final match. The Kookaburras are comfortably placed and know it will take a miracle for Spain and a terrible slip-up by them to miss out on a spot in the last four.

The world number two side have clinically disposed of all their opponents since the reverse at the hands of England in their first match of the tournament. Drag-flicker Luke Doerner has found his range and is the top goal-scorer in the tournament so far with six strikes — all from short-corners. To add to that skipper Jamie Dwyer, with five goals so far, has been a nightmare for defenders.

The strong point of the Australia is their attacking game as opposed to the defensive counter-attacking style of the Europeans. The Indians failed to keep pace with the Australians and provided them plenty of space in the midfield.

Four-time champions Pakistan will find it equally tough. It will be hard to pick themselves up for their toughest match in the event so far after playing at their worst in the last match against South Africa.

The experienced Sohail Abbas has failed to fire and the team have suffered from the lack of conversion on penalty-corners. But the Aussies are not taking the opposition lightly.

“We have a big match against Pakistan. Both India and Pakistan have played very good hockey in the tournament so far. We can’t take anything for granted and hope to put up a good show on Monday,” skipper Mark Knowles said on Saturday.

Pakistan will go all out for a win to ensure that they don’t face the ignominy of ending up at the bottom of Pool B table. They will take heart from the fact that they have defeated the Australians three times in five World Cup encounters. However, their last win over the Kookaburras was in the 1994 edition.

In the other match, Olympic silver medallists Spain who only have a mathematical chance of making the semis, will look to consolidate on the best qualifiers’ spot. England on the other hand will look to ensure that they don’t qualify second from Pool B and run the risk of facing run-away Pool A leaders Holland.

“We are very happy to be in the semifinals. But we are improving with every match because we haven’t been as clinical as we want to be,” England skipper Barry Middleton had said after the win over India on Saturday.

All mathematical calculations aside, on form alone England and Australia deserve to qualify for the semifinals. The final line-up from the pool will be clear on Monday.

The Asian Age



A special way to enter the semis

By Patrick Rowley in New Delhi


Beating India in India for the first time to qualify for the World Cup semi-finals under the Delhi floodlights was something every England player will remember. No Great Britain side has done that either.

India, eight time Olympic champions, were the team everyone wanted to beat. It was every player’s dream.

England won 3-2 for their fourth win in four and that was a fair result. They were the dominant side, deservedly leading 3-0 well into the second half.

James Tindall scored the first goal with help from from young Nick Catlin and Richard Alexander; Ashley Jackson the next two which took  his tournament tally to five in four games. England managed to force only one penalty corner. The drill was slick and Jackson’s speed and power saw the ball fly into a top corner. Later he put in the finishing touch, helping in a deflected Catlin shot.

India threw caution to the winds and started to play as a team rather than as individuals while England allowed some errors to creep into their game.

India scored twice in a four minute spell and came mighty close to snatching an equaliser with a chance less than two minutes from time. But equally England created chances and could and should have had a fourth goal.

Ben Hawes took over the injured Ric Mantell’s full back role and was always comfortable while England’s distribution from the back did not seem to suffer as much as predicted. It was certainly different.

Richard and his brother Simon who was injured when England arrived in Delhi are both to be operated upon by the same surgeon in London today. A 2 for 1 deal England could have done without. 

This particular England team seems to be injury prone. With three back at home already, Ian Mackay became the latest casualty after a collision with India’s Sandeep Singh. Mackay had to go off but came back on later even though he has a broken nose and had to have five stitches.

He will go on playing which is just as well as the only other possibility if another is injured is for second goalkeeper Nic Brothers to play left wing.

England needed only a draw against India to make the last four for only the second time in World Cup history. That was not a consideration. England came here intent on winning every game. It will be the same attitude against Spain. Besides there are some old scores to settle.

England lost (4-2) as recently as January in the middle of the indoor season in Cadiz; lost (2-5) the 5th place match at the Champions Trophy at Melbourne in December; and lost their previous World Cup match (1-3) though that was back in 1998.

In fact England have not beaten Spain in the World Cup for 35 years. But then this England team is formidable and growing in stature every game while Spain have seemed strangely lethargic.

For England top place in the group is at stake, for Spain finishing third in their group to stay in the world’s top six. It would need a miracle for them to make the semi-finals at high scoring Australia’s expense.

Yesterday matches in the opposite group to England’s, started with a goal fest. Korea, needing to improve their goal difference as well as win if they are claim their regular place in the semi-finals, handed the ageing Canadian team a 9-2 hiding.

New Zealand lacked forward strength and lost 1-0 to the Argentina team that had nul points. They will have to beat Germany on Tuesday to have any chance of making the semi-finals.

Holland dropped their first points in a 2-2 draw with great rivals Germany, the holders, leaving England the only side with maximum points.

The Dutch still head their group, by two points from Germany, but still have to play Korea.

The Telegraph



Amats and hockey go hand-in-hand

Harpreet Kaur Lamba


New Delhi: They say, the first gift given to a kid in the small town of Terrassa, Madrid, is a hockey stick. It was no different for Spanish striker Pol Amat, who took to the sport as a fish to water.

Hockey has been a tradition in Terrassa, a way of life. Pol was born in a family where his father and three uncles all played for the country.

His father Juan was a superstar in his hey days, playing four Olympics and leading Spain to silver medals in the inaugural World Cup in Barcelona in 1971 and the 1980 Moscow Olympics, where he finished the top scorer with 16 goals.

No wonder, the 31-year old Amat already has 14 years of international experience under his belt. The pugnacious striker from Terrassa — the Spanish national team comprises of as many 10 players from the small town — has made waves in the hockey circles since the age of 17.

Said Amat, “Hockey is like water and air in Terrassa. A child inherits the tradition as soon as he is born. So it was never very difficult for me, you see.”

Amat has now played in four Olympic Games, but can still easily be mistaken as a youngster given his form and fitness and his on-field exploits defy his age. Says Amat with a smile, “Debut in 1995, it has been quite some years, eh?!

“Fitness is paramount these days. No amount of skill can take you far if you are not fit. And I have learnt it after years of experience.”

Nicknamed “the Ronaldinho of hockey” by coach Maurits Hendriks, Amat, along with Santi Freixa and Edi Tubau, forms one of the best front line in international hockey. Freixa and Tubau are wonderful talents in their own right, but few would argue that Amat shines among the trio.

Amat’s reverse flick — something he has practised over the years — is now becoming a terror for the goalkeepers across the world. “Yes, I have practiced hard for this shot many, many hours have gone into it. I am now more confident with this than my forehand. I think it is hit harder and is more difficult for the goalkeeper to read,” said Amat.

Spain stumbled against Pakistan and Australia in their Pool B encounters at the Hockey World Cup here, but still have an outside chance with the last round of Pool B matches to be played on Monday. Amat, not doubt, is keen to finish on a bright note.

“It definitely is my last World Cup. And it is also the last World Cup for a whole generation of Spanish players such as Xavi Ribas, Rodrigo Garza, Alex Fabregas and may be Edi Tubau. We have been so close so many times, so now we hope this is our chance to turn silver into gold. But we will see,” he said.

The Asian Age



Archibald secures the highest honour

By Terry Maddaford


Tomorrow Ryan Archibald will become New Zealand's top sporting international. Photo / AP

Ryan Archibald is set to become New Zealand's most-capped sporting international.

When he ran out with the Black Sticks for their fourth-round game against Argentina early this morning, the 29-year-old Aucklander, regarded by many as the best to pick up a hockey stick in New Zealand, equalled the record 238 caps held by now-retired women's stalwart Suzie Muirhead (nee Pearce).

When, as expected, Archibald plays New Zealand's final pool match against Germany early tomorrow morning, he will take his tally to a record 239.

Stephen Fleming played 280 One Day Internationals between 1994-2007 and Daniel Vettori is up to 254 after Saturday's ODI at Eden Park, but many would say tests are cricket's real internationals.

Again, Fleming leads with 111 - 14 more than Vettori and both well short of Archibald.

In other sports the leaders don't come close. Irene van Dyk has played 103 netball internationals for the Silver Ferns and 72 for her native South Africa.

Sean Fitzpatrick is the most capped All Black with 92. Current captain Richie McCaw is on 76 - one behind Mils Muliaina.

Steve Sumner played more than 100 games for the All Whites, but not all full internationals, with many against club or lesser sides.

When Archibald arrived in Delhi for the World Cup, he trailed teammate and good friend Phil Burrows by one on the international list. But when Burrows, the Black Sticks captain, was ruled out through injury for the third game against Korea, Archibald caught him.

Burrows is unlikely to play another game here after an MRI scan on Saturday revealed deep bruising in his calf following an incident against the Dutch when a player's knee caught him painfully in the lower leg.

It's been a stellar career for the unassuming, talented midfielder who followed father Jeff (a member of the 1976 gold medal-winning Olympic team) on to the international scene.

Ryan Archibald played his first game for New Zealand against Malaysia in Whangarei 12 years ago. His 100th was against Canada in Napier and his 200th against the United States at North Harbour in that epic Olympic qualifier in which the Black Sticks beat Argentina to claim their spot at the Beijing Games.

And with the record in sight, he is not thinking about quitting.

"I'd like to go on to the London Olympics," said Archibald, who was named man of the match against Korea. "I'm still enjoying it as much as I did 10 years ago. I feel my form has been pretty good but that's been helped by playing in a team which has been doing well."

Archibald has scored "about 50 goals", but says most came earlier rather than later in his international career. Little surprise in that, as these days he is seen more as the midfield general than a strike forward.

He is enjoying his first trip to India after which he will return to his "other home" in Holland, where he will finish his fourth season with top Dutch club Rotterdam. After that, he hopes to return to the Auckland workforce in a "good corporate role".

And, hopefully, play more hockey.

A lengthy career:

* DOB: September 1, 1980.

* Born: Auckland.

* School: Auckland Grammar.

* International debut: 1997 v Malaysia.

* International caps: 238.

The New Zealand Herald



Brothers united guide Argentina

B. Shrikant


How does it feel to have your own brother as your boss? Ask Argentina’s assistant coach Jorge Lombi. In a country obsessed with soccer, Jorge followed his elder brother Pablo into hockey. They played together as teammates in the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and at Atlanta four years later, and are now guiding Argentina as coaches at the Hockey World Cup here. Their aim obviously was to improve upon Argentina’s best finish of sixth in 1986 and 2002, but the South Americans slumped to three successive defeats before registering their first win in the tournament against New Zealand on Sunday. They will be hoping to beat Canada in their last match to maintain hopes of finishing in the 7th-8th bracket.

Pablo, who played as a defender, is 40 years old and Jorge, their best-ever drag flicker, is two years younger. Both are working together for the last couple of years as coaches, Pablo as the chief coach and Jorge as his assistant, helping the drag flickers. So how do the brothers manage the show?

“We are very close to each other and like to work together. We discuss things and plan together and there are no problems. I enjoy working with Pablo and it has been a good experience till now,” said Jorge.

Brothers do argue with each other and even fight, but Jorge says there is no such situation between them. “He is the boss, he has 14 years of coaching experience while I have only four. But I have played more years at the international level. I give my inputs and viewpoint during discussions but his decision is final as he is the chief coach,” said Jorge. The junior Lombi adds, “Technically, we do bring two different viewpoints from two different countries. I am settled in Spain and he lives in Argentina. I pass on to him the latest information I pick in Spain and he tells me how things are working in Argentina.”

Brothers united towards one cause, did anyone say.

Hindustan Times



Chief selector, coach blast senior players for World Cup debacle

ISLAMABAD, Mar 7 (APP): Chief selector national hockey team Hasan Sardar has indicated that heads will start rolling after the national team returns back home from their disastrous World Cup campaign in New Delhi. “It has been a shameful tournament for us. We have to review the performance of each and every player of the team. The team has let down everybody. Even the senior players failed to shoulder the responsibility of the team,” he said. 

Four-time champions Pakistan suffered a 3-4 shocking loss to minnows South Africa in a Pool B match. It was one of the worst defeats in the history of Pakistani hockey and that too against a team that was blanked 0-12 by the Australians at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium. “This is one of worst loss of the national team,” he added.

Coach Shahid Ali Khan said: “We played a good first half and even took a 1-0 lead. But in the second half we completely lost it.  This is one of the worst defeats in the history of Pakistan hockey.  Even I have never faced such defeat during my playing days. My team is not playing well and everything is bad with us.  We were never the tournament favourites. We came here to improve our rankings, but never expected such a result.”

Shahid also blasted the senior players for the World Cup debacle.  “Before the World Cup we had recalled 4-5 senior players.  They did well in other tournaments, but surprisingly they have failed in the World Cup. They have let us down extremely. We are going to review their performance once we go back home,” said the former goalkeeper, who was a part of Pakistan’s gold winning squad at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

Asked whether he was indicating at the lacklustre performance of veteran drag-flicker Sohail Abbas, Shahid said: “Why Sohail? All senior players in the team played badly. It is a collective failure of the team.”

The coach, however, was extremely confident about his own future.   “I have been given charge till the Asian Games and our target is to do well in China,” he said.

Associated Press of Pakistan



Sardar pained by Pakistan's woeful show

Satya Siddharth Rath


NEW DELHI: Hassan Sardar is shocked. He was finding it hard to believe that Pakistan had lost to South Africa on Saturday. "It's the darkest day in our hockey history. I am still at a loss for words. How could they go down to a team like South Africa?" the legend wondered aloud.

The 51-year-old, who is also the chief selector of Pakistan hockey, admitted he had never seen the national side play so bad. "They have been playing like this right through this tournament. If players like Sohail Abbas and Rehan Butt let you down, what more can you expect?"

One of the greatest ever centre-forwards of all time, Sardar was the man behind India's 1-7 surrender to Pakistan in the 1982 Asian Games final at this very venue, the Dhyan Chand National Stadium. "I think the credit for that win should also go to Shahid Ali Khan (the then Pakistan goalkeeper). He made many crucial saves. India didn't play that bad as has been made out to be. Anyway, it's a different feeling altogether to be back here."

Being the chief selector, shouldn't he share the blame too? "I had picked the best possible side. But I am not the one to play for them. They have shocked and saddened me with their performance," the handsome Sardar added.

He, however, had some encouraging words for the Indians. "I don't think they are playing that bad. They look a much improved side. I think they are creating the chances but finishing has been a problem," he signed off.

The Times of India



Desi flavour runs deep in Maple Leafs’ squad

Devadyuti Das


New Delhi ,March 7: The Indians have had a strong connection with Canadian field hockey. It dates back to 1963 when Pundit Rai of Indian origin made it to the national team.

Four current players — skipper Ken Pereira, Keegan Pereira, Ranjeev Deol and Sukhwinder ‘Gabbar’ Singh — all of Indian origin are now integral part of the Canadian squad at the 12th Hockey World Cup here. Skipper Pereira feels he still has a strong connection to the country since his parents are from Goa.

“I have a strong Indian connection since my parents were born here. As a child when my parents spoke in Hindi during our visits to Mumbai, I used to wonder what lingo it was,” Pereira told this newspaper.

“I still have cousins in Goa. I visited it a few years ago and still love the place,” the 37-year-old, who competed in his 300th international here, said.

Teammate Ranjeev was inspired to take up the game by his father Surjeet Singh Doel. Surjeet represented Kenya in three Olympics in 1956, 1960 and 1964.

“My roots are in this country in Punjab and I love to play in front of the Indian crowds. I intend to visit my home in Ludhiana after the tournament is over,” Deol, who was ruled out of the World Cup after the second match with a finger injury, said.

“A lot of my friends have flown from Canada to watch me in action. Gurbaj, Sardara, Prabhjot and Sandeep from the Indian are also good friends of mine,” he added.

Deol is a big fan of Aamir Khan and the last words he told this newspaper was ‘Aal Izz Well’. Ironically, a day later he dislocated his finger during a practice session and was ruled out of the World Cup.

The 18-year-old Keegan is the youngest player of Indian origin. His father Reginald Pereira was a left-winger for the Mahindra and Mumbai team. His family though is now settled in Scarbourough in Ontario, Canada. Keegan, who studied in St. Stanislaus School in Bandra in his early, has been playing for his adopted nation for five years now.

“We moved to Canada when I was seven years old and continued to play hockey there since I was already representing my school team i Mumbai. My father also wanted to represent the country but his dream remained unfulfilled,” Keggan, who idolises Dhanraj Pillay, said.

The 31-year-old Gabbar hails from Gurdaspur in Punjab, and took up the sport at a young age and also represented the Punjab Police side in India before migrating to Canada in 1997.

“I had gone to Canada with a few friends on a holiday, while they returned I decided to stay back. In 2001, the Canadian national coach offered to get me citizenship with the condition that I would play for the country. I started playing but still didn’t get the citizenship,” said Gabbar, who had won gold for India in the Asian School Hockey Championship in 1994.

“I finally got the citizenship in 2006 and two years later, I realised my dream of playing in the Olympics. It has been a roller-coaster ride for me since then,” he added. While field hockey still remains way behind ice hockey in terms of popularity in Canada, these Indians are trying their best to etch a name for themselves on the world stage.

The Asian Age



Standard of umpiring, video referrals questioned

Prabhjot Singh writes from New Delhi


Standard of umpiring and video referrals in the 12th World Cup Hockey Tournament here have been generating controversies. Pakistan, for example, has mixed reaction to introduction of video referrals as it has been both a beneficiary and a loser. While Pakistan benefited when the first goal scored against them by England was disallowed, they were adversely affected yesterday when a goal scored by Sohail Abbas off a penalty corner against South Africa was disallowed by the video referee.

There are a number of other decisions, especially about award or denial of penalty corners that have been altered by the video umpire. This has set in motion a serious debate whether hockey umpiring also suffers from consistency and uniform interpretation of rules and regulations of the game.

While video referee upheld award of goal by a German forward who even after ducking had held his stick higher than shoulder level to deflect a rising shot into the Korean goal. Intriguingly England was denied an “awarded” goal for tapping of ball into goal coming from height that was above shoulders while Germans were beneficiary by the total contradictory interpretation of the same rule.

In the same Korea-Germany match, a penalty corner awarded to Korea by using advantage rule was reversed by the video umpire thus bringing to surface inconsistency in implementation of the rules. Advantage rule may be losing its significance as the video umpire, even after being briefed by the umpire, cannot comprehend, the exact situation the game was in before electronic referral was asked.

Even if comments by the team officials of both India and Pakistan are put aside, those by some of the games’ greats like Richard Charlesworth cannot be ignored. Incidentally, the Tournament Director also comes from the country of Richard Charlesworth. Richard Charlesworth who watched the game against Spain from stands felt that award of three of seven penalty corners against his team yesterday was unjustified.

He also complained of inconsistency in umpiring decisions. Interestingly, he maintains he has neither anything against field umpires nor video referrals but stresses “uniformity”. Many veterans, including Olympians, want the video referral system to be studied and improved further so as not to affect the flow of the game.

Since hockey is a fast game and ball runs from end to end in a matter of seconds, a few seconds delay in asking for a video referral can change the complexion of the game. A team defending a penalty corner can be in a scoring position seconds later before the game is suddenly stopped for a video referral. Tempo built for an offensive cannot be resumed after video referral confirms field umpire’s decision.

Because of introduction of video umpire, the matches take longer to finish thus denying the teams scheduled to play subsequent matches little time for warm up. India and England got only 21 minutes for warm-up before their game on Saturday night.

Other area of reservation has been the advantage rule. Some more home work needs to be done to make video umpire coherent, effective and an asset for arriving at correct decisions. Video umpire in cricket and hockey should not be compared.

In cricket, it is the end of a sequence that is challenged. Here it is the flow of the game that is challenged and stopping the game affects the flow or continuity of the game. One must not forget that even electronic eye or camera too has its limitations and cannot capture the intent or imagination of a hockey player.

The Tribune



New Delhi World Cup heading towards becoming most high scoring

NEW DELHI: Thanks to some attacking hockey by the 12 participating countries, the ongoing World Cup is heading towards becoming the most high-scoring one with a whopping 117 goals scored so far at the halfway stage.

The 12th edition of hockey's showpiece event at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium will have 38 matches, including the classification games.

The ongoing World Cup has seen 117 goals so far being scored from 21 matches at an average of 5.57 per game.

The average of 4.98 goals per match in the 1998 edition was the highest before this World Cup, whereas the last two editions in 2002 and 2006 had seen average goals of 4.17 and 4.14, respectively.

This edition has seen many high-scoring matches, the most goals coming from Australia's 12-0 mauling of South Africa, which was a new record for the biggest win surpassing the 12-3 defeat of New Zealand by Pakistan in 1982.

The ongoing World Cup has also seen just one drawn match - a 2-2 result between South Korea and defending champions Germany in their campaign-opener on March 1.

The least scoring matches in this World Cup so far were three 2-1 results - Pakistan beating Spain, Korea defeating Argentina and New Zealand's victory over Korea.

This World Cup is also producing more goals from penalty corners as compared to the 2006 edition.

After 21 matches, 46 out of 117 goals scored so far came from penalty corners (39.3 per cent), while only 46 goals (of a total of 174) came from penalty corners in the whole 2006 edition.

The 46 came from 170 penalty corners, a conversion percentage of over 27.

The Times of India



Players display sponsor's name on sticks

Sports Reporter


NEW DELHI: Some of the Indian players displayed a new sponsor's name on their sticks as the host played against England in a hockey World Cup match here on Saturday.

Shree Cement had announced on Friday that it was sponsoring the team and would utilise the sticks to display its brand. However, the Hockey India (HI) Secretary-General, Narinder Batra, expressed his ignorance about the deal having been signed with any new sponsor.

The Indian team is sponsored by Sahara India and according to the agreement it has, the sole rights to utilise articles and items associated with the team.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) said that midway through the tournament the players could not sport the logo of a new sponsor not recognised by the FIH.

However, some players, including Dhananjay Mahadik, Sandeep Singh, Arjun Halappa and Gurwinder Singh Chandi, displayed the brand.

The Hindu



Trip to the Taj Mahal tops visiting players’ wishlist

Age Correspondent


New Delhi: It is the mystic land of snake charmers and elephants, the country, where Slumdog Millionaire was born. It is also the country which has epitomised love with the enchanting Taj Mahal.

These are some of the visions of visitors who arrive in India in droves. It is a mystery they would love to unravel. For the foreign players who are in the country the feeling is no different. But alas, the mystery of India cannot be untangled yet, thanks to the blanket of security which has enveloped them.

For first-timers in the nation and those who have been here before, security has become an issue which is coming in their way of discovering India.

With the players’ movement restricted, they have few choices when it comes to recreation. Apart from the occasional brief outing amidst tight security the players are left to relax, play poker and discover the joy of watching Indian television channels.

But given a chance, these players would love to see more of India, at least around New Delhi. Topping the wish list of most players is the Taj Mahal.

New Zealand player Steven Edwards, who was hoping to see a lot more than just the team hotel and the stadium said, “Given a chance I would have loved to visit the Taj Mahal, I’m still hoping we’ll do that before we leave. We did go to the Red Fort and a mall, but with so much of security around us, we just couldn’t enjoy it. I guess this is a hazard of modern security, but there is little we can do about it.”

Another New Zealand player of Indian origin Arun Panchia too wants to visit the Taj Mahal.

“The Taj Mahal is definitely on the wish list. Apart from that I also have to take back DVDs of the Indian movie on hockey (Chak De). I couldn’t find it back home.”

Canadian skipper Ken Pereira, who is a beach person is looking forward to soaking in the sun and the beaches of Goa.

His teammate Rob Short too is hoping to see the Taj Mahal before he heads back home.

“We’ve just seen a mall, the India Gate and the Red Fort. Unfortunately the security has been very tight for us to go out. I hope we get compensated for all this atleast by winning one match,” said Short.

Netherlands player Taeke Taekema too wants a sight of the Mughal era monument built by Shahjahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz, before leaving New Delhi.

But there are other players whose only focus is the Cup.

Like Dutch goalkeeper Guus Vogels said, “We are here to play in the World Cup and that is the only thing which is on my mind. If we do get to see some places it would be nice, but the greatest joy in New Delhi will be the World Cup in our hand.”

The Asian Age



Miffed SAI asks organisers to pay up for use of stadium

Satya Siddharth Rath & Biswajyoti Brahma


NEW DELHI: The organisers of the Hero Honda World Cup, it seems, may have to pay a big price for hockey's homecoming. And it has got nothing to do with the ongoing confusion.

It has been learnt that the Sports Authority of India (SAI), which owns the Dhyan Chand stadium, has asked the organisers to pay something to the tune of Rs 85 lakh as rent for holding the 14-day event in its premises.

"Yes, we have sent a bill to the sports ministry. Everywhere, the organisers pay for the use of a venue. Till now that was not the case in India. But we have to start from somewhere. From now on, we will also be charging for other events in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games," a SAI source said.

"It's not about money alone, it's about sending a message," the source added. "Cleanliness comes at a cost. Keeping the venues neat and clean and maintaining them is an expensive affair."

He also said organisers of the Kuala Lumpur World Cup in 2002 too had to pay to the government for using the stadium there. Another source said the power bill for the World Cup fortnight could run up to Rs 15 lakh.

"Why should the SAI pay for it from its own coffers? Also, there are several people engaged to look after the four generators we have installed in the stadium, and also to maintain the air-conditioning systems," he said, adding: "When the organisers can exploit the commercial aspect of the event to generate crores of rupees, why should the SAI not be paid its dues?"

When contacted, Hardip Singh Kingra, special officer (infrastructure) for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, confirmed that they had raised a bill for the use of the National Stadium. "Yes, we have raised this bill which amounts to Rs 85 lakh and have sent it to the ministry for reimbursement," he said.

The Times of India



FIH to target individual random testing


NEW DELHI: Cricket has seen opposition to the World Anti-Doping Agency's contentious whereabouts clause. But hockey, a WADA-compliant sport, is yet to move into the realm of individual out-of-competition testing and registered test pools (RTPs).

WADA, which introduced the clause last year, had said that the governing body of each sport would have to encourage and facilitate national federations to form RTPs - a select group of players who will reveal before every quarter details of their location for one hour every day for the next three months for out of competition testing.

WADA had set a deadline of 2009 for finalising the RTPs and the tests but obviously, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) hasn't done the job yet, having spent a considerable amount of time studying and understanding the WADA process.

FIH technical manager Roger Webb told TOI that his organisation has spoken to WADA about it. "We do find it difficult as a team sport to gather whereabouts information or implement the clause. We have a good relationship with WADA and have explained to them the reason behind the delay. They have confidence in us."

According to Webb, FIH had concentrated on out-of-competition tests among teams all through 2009 and early this year. "We have been targeting training camps all over the world for our random tests. Now we will have to move towards targeting individuals."

Webb said the FIH was taking one step at a time. "We have told WADA that we should be ready with the RTPs in the next few months. We are talking to countries. Maybe, we will get the RTPs of two or three national teams, then we go to the next three or four. Already there are countries involved in extensive testing at the national level. Athletes from these countries too are highly informed about anti-doping and we hope to convince them. We should be able to work it out by the Monchengladbach Champions Trophy in July-August this year."

Apparently, WADA will tend to be lenient as total compliance has not been a virtue among many sports.

Incidentally, in the case of cricket, WADA says the ICC anti-doping rules are in compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code. "But we will continue to work with the ICC in the expectation that their out-of-competition testing programme, which has started, will advance and that the whereabouts requirements of the International Standard for Testing will be applied in cricket," a release from WADA says.

Obviously, the same yardstick will be applied to hockey too.

The Times of India



Ireland lose out to Scotland in Celtic CUp

IRELAND 1-2 SCOTLAND


Ireland just missed out regaining the Celtic Cup losing 2-1 to Scotland in a tight encounter in France.

A draw would have been suffiicent for Ireland but Scotland were the team who took control of the first half dominating for large periods and scored the only goal of the half from a penalty corner strike in the 15th minute.

Ireland came out strongly in the second half and equalised in the 38th minute with a great goal by UCD's Lisa Jacob after a fine cross into the circle by Emma Smyth.

Ireland pressed Scotland but stuggled to get their passing game going and it was Scotland who forced more penalty corners and with 8 minutes left the Scots scored from a PC with what would prove to be the winning goal Ireland went three at the back and through everything at Scotland in a effort to equalise but Harvey's drag flick was well saved and in the dying seconds Jacob had a chance but her shot was saved.

Irish Coach Gene Muller said after the game Our matches against Scotland are always very difficult and this was no different. We have them again at the World Cup Qualifier and will look to overturn this loss.

Ireland: Mary Goode (Bray); Niamh Small (Loreto); Roisin Flinn (Old Alex); Cliodhna Sargent (Cork Harlequins); Emma Clarke (Leicester); Emma Stewart (Armagh); Bridget Cleland (Ballymoney); Shirley McCay (Dragons); Audrey O'Flynn (UCC); Alex Speers (Dragons); Rachel Mulligan (Armagh); Nikki Symmons (Loreto); Emma Smyth (Railway Union); Lizzie Colvin (Loreto); Lisa Jacob (UCD); Michelle Harvey (Pegasus) Did not play: Louisa Healy (Loreto); Eimear Cregan (Catholic Institute).

Irish Hockey Association media release



Asia waits to be conquered if MHF is willing


WATCHING the ongoing hockey World Cup on television was always going to be a depressing affair after Malaysia failed to advance from the Qualifier in Invercargill, New Zealand last year.

With the national team missing a second successive World Cup, most Malaysians have been rooting for Asia's three representatives in New Delhi -- South Korea, Pakistan and India -- but there has been nothing much to cheer on that front as well.

Pakistan and India are definitely out of the semi-finals while Asian champions Korea only have an outside chance of making the last four, driving home hard just how low Asian hockey has dropped compared to teams from Europe and Oceania.

Korea are the highest ranked Asian team in New Delhi but their 2-1 defeat to New Zealand has left them in a precarious position while the highlight of India-Pakistan's World Cup outing would be them going head-to-head in their opening match, which the Indians won.

Once Asia's flag bearers at the World Cup, Pakistan's fall from grace was complete on Saturday when they lost 4-3 to South Africa, an unthinkable result considering the history of both teams.

But this is the sad scenario of Asian hockey today and the question is what does the future hold for Malaysia?

The national team are only rated fifth in Asia behind Korea, Pakistan, China and India but rankings, as the World Cup is proving, mean nothing.

What matters are results and seeing what is happening to the Asian teams in New Delhi, the Malaysian Hockey Federation has every reason to be optimistic.

It is obvious that all the Asian teams -- barring Korea perhaps -- are struggling and this surely means that they, just like Malaysia, are having problems at the grassroots and this should motivate the MHF and its affiliates to quantify their development efforts.

For too long, the focus has been on only the various national teams as MHF and the National Sports Council have been working from the top in the hope of quick results, which have not been forthcoming.

After all, Malaysia have missed the last two Olympics and World Cups so obviously, this policy needs a rethink.

MHF has to start working from bottom to top and it has to start with hockey in schools.

There is no denying that MHF has tournaments at several age-group levels, which are complemented by tournaments under the Malaysian Schools Sports Council (MSSM).

But both parties are missing out on a very critical bunch -- players in primary schools.

There are tournaments at the zone/district and state levels but are the players really playing enough hockey to develop an interest in the game?

Certain zones in Kuala Lumpur have completed their tournaments and are already preparing for the inter-zone tournament which will be held soon.

On paper, this indicates that hockey in Kuala Lumpur schools is thriving but that is far from true.

One zone competition was completed in just three days for the boys while the girls only played for two days.

A saving grace was there were enough teams to ensure several days of competition in this zone as there was another which only had three sides, with two qualifying for the inter-zone meet.

If Kuala Lumpur schools, which have access to numerous artificial pitches, are opting not to play the game, one can just imagine the situation in other states.

We can be sure that players representing the states are the best but only from a diluted pool simply because not enough children are playing hockey and this is a situation MHF and MSSM have to address.

They should start with a survey on just how many schools are competing in the district level tournaments this year and move on from there. What hockey needs is a large pool of players, not just the required number of tournaments.

If MHF is serious about Malaysian hockey being a force again, which is still a possibility given the struggles of the Asian teams in the World Cup, it has to start working from now.

Scaling the world may still take time yet but Asia is waiting to be conquered if MHF is prepared to see that far.

New Straits Times



Pierre double fires Canterbury to top

National men’s hockey player, Mickel Pierre scored two goals for Canterbury in a 4-2 triumph over fourth placed Oxted to regain top spot in the England Hockey League Men’s Conference East on Saturday. Pierre, who is on loan at the English club from the T&T Defence Force, fired Canterbury ahead in the third minute which it defended until three minutes before half-time when Neil Turk leveled for Oxted with a penalty-corner conversion.

Nine minutes into the second-half, Pierre got his second from another field goal to restore Canterbury’s lead. Thomas Richford then extended Canterbury’s advantage to 3-1 but Oxted was back within one goal thanks to Ian Anderson. However, with four minutes left, Richford sealed the valuable three points for Canterbury.

With former table-leaders Old Loughtonians being held to a 0-0 draw by Holcombe, Canterbury regained sole possession of top spot with 40 points from 15 matches, two ahead of its rivals with three matches left for both clubs. Third is Southgate with 29 points while Indian Gymkhana, the team of T&T’s Terrence Baptiste remained second from bottom on the ten-team standings with eight points after a 3-1 whipping from Harlem Magpies.

The Trinidad Guardian



Govia extends Parkites’ run

Nigel Simon

Raphael Govia scored with eight minutes left as Queen’s Park edged Defence Force in a clash of unbeaten teams in the T&T Hockey Board Men’s Championship Division on Saturday. National forward Nicholas Wren netted from field goal play to give the “Teteron Boys” a 1-0 at the end of the first half at the National Hockey Centre, Tacarigua.

However, on the resumption the “Parkites” came out battling and drew level via Nicholas Camacho in the 53rd minute before Govia beat goalkeeper Glen “Fido” Francis for the winner, nine minutes later. The Parkites improved to maximum 15 points from five matches, nine ahead of Defence Force.

Over at the Dwight Yorke Stadium Training Field, Bacolet, Kiel Murray got a hat-trick for visiting Paragon in a 3-1 whipping of Paradise. The host had taken a fifth minute lead through Vernell Rivers which it held until the half before Murray took over with goals in the 42nd, 54th and 66th minutes.

In the Women’s Championship, Carib Magnolias also maintained its 100 per cent winning record with a 5-2 crushing of Defence Force, led by a brace from Stacey Siu Butt and one each from Arielle Du Quesnay, Gayle-Ann Nieves and Kelly O’Brien. Nicole Aming and Joanne Scipio were on target for Defence Force.

Results

Saturday
Championship Women

Magnolias 5 (Stacey Siu Butt 31st, 33rd, Arielle Du Quesnay 13th, Gayle-Ann Nieves 38th, Kelly O’Brien 63rd) vs Defence Force 2 (Nicole Aming 57th, Joanne Scipio 66th).
Paragon 0 vs Paradise 0.

Championship Men
QPCC 2 (Nicholas Camacho 53rd, Raphael Govia 62nd) vs Defence Force 1 (Nicholas Wren 9th).
Paragon 3 (Kiel Murray 42nd, 54th, 66th) vs Paradise 1 (Vernell Rivers 5th).

Trinity Men
Malvern 4 (Charles Carter 44th, 55th, Albert Macano 57th, Kyle Cowie 57th) vs Shape 3 (Frank Gerron 11th, 17th, Jordan Reynos 37th)
Paragon 1 (Lawrence Thomas 16th) vs Paradise 1 (Theron Stoute 50th)

Trinity Women
Malevrn 3 (Cheryl Hinds 17th, Lisa Hernadez 28th, Yolanna Whitehall 66th) vs Ventures 2 (Yesenia Luces 46th, 68th)

Girls Under-19
Magnolias 2 (Rebeka Nieves 18th, Stacey Ann Peters 68th) Notre Dame 1 (Stephanie Whiteman 9th).
Paragon 1 (Falima Jack 53rd) vs Paradise 0

Friday
Veterans

Malvern 3 (Shawn Alexander 4th, Penelope Stephens 19th, Albert Marcano 70th) vs Defence Force 2 (Anton Reyes 30th, Kurt Davis 54th).

Notre Dame 8 (Sean Olton 11th, 50th, Kenneth Whiteman 29th pen, Selwin King 47th, John Lewis 63rd, Douglas Camacho 65th, Leon Ramdeen 68th, Edrich Francois 69th) vs Shape 1 (Richardo Mulraine 29th).

The Trinidad Guardian



Strathmore and Telkom win hockey titles

By AYUMBA AYODI


It was hockey per excellence as Strathmore University delivered a superb display, stunning Kenya Police 2-1 to clinch this year’s Kenya Hockey Union men’s Premier League title.

And a lucky Telkom Orange retained the women’s crown when they summoned experience, equalising three minutes to time before snatching a heart-breaking golden goal to beat an awesome United States International University 3-2.

Strathmore’s founder, Eric Shihale, must have turned in his grave as his imperious outfit made history by becoming the first college team to win the local league in only their second season. Shihale, who is the brainchild behind the Strathmore team four years ago, passed away in 2007 after propelling the team to the National Men’s League title that earned them promotion to the Premier League.

“We dedicate this victory to Shihale,” said Strathmore coach and former Kenyan international Meshak Senge.

Strathmore scored through David Wanangwe and Frank Wanangwe while Police’s goal came through Moses Cheplait. In the women’s match, Jackline Atieno put Telkom ahead in the 18th minute from a neat field goal only for Pauline Naise to level with a similar effort in the 34 minute.

But the varsity students lost concentration to allow Apiyo put Telkom back into the driver’s almost immediately from a penalty corner. Cnythia Muka eqaulised in the 42nd minute before Nomalizo Omondi latched onto a loose ball to score in 54th minute for USIU’s winner. USIU then allowed unmarked Jacky Ogot to score the golden goal winner 12 minutes into extra time.

Daily Nation