News for 30 June 2013

All the news for Sunday 30 June 2013


Host England's victory a double delight

Spot in World Cup and final game secured with win v. Argentina



It was a good day for England - they secured a trip to The Hague and the final game in London (Photo: Stanislas Brochier)

Argentina – England 2-4 (1-2 halftime)

The sun was shining down on London and on the English women’s team on Saturday as they earned a berth to both the 2014 Hockey World Cup and the final game at the Investec Hockey World League tournament with a 4-2 win against World #2 Argentina.

Much to the delight of the full house, the game was packed with action as the teams combined for six goals in an entertaining battle. The win gives the English a guaranteed top-three finish at the Hockey World League semi-final, enough to punch their ticket to The Hague.

It was balanced first half with neither team giving too much away. England was the first on the board, much to the delight of the crowd when Hannah Macleod made the play, but it was ultimately scored as an own goal on the initial strike. England held onto the 1-0 lead, despite Argentina applying steady pressure. Finally, they could withstand the World #2’s attack no longer when Carla Rebecci evened the game at one with nine minutes left in the half. Nicola White gave England the last laugh of the half, giving England the slight edge at the break.

Both teams came out rearing to go in the second half as the tempo and urgency was ramped up a notch. This time, Macleod got credit for her goal that opened the second half scoring and gave England a two-goal lead four minutes into the half. But the celebration was immediately silenced when Argentina quickly pulled back to within one less than two minutes later when Martin Cavallero scored the critical goal to keep Las Leonas in the hunt.

Susannah Townsend continued to keep England on top of the action, she struck with 12 minutes left in the game to once again extend the English lead to 4-2. Overall, the English were much stronger in their field play as they netted all four of their goals from the field – a tough feat against Argentina.

The women’s teams now qualified for the 2014 Hockey World Cup in The Hague are: Argentina, Australia, England, Germany, Korea and the Netherlands. The seventh team will be determined in tomorrow’s third-place game between China and Argentina. If China wins, they will earn a berth to the World Cup. Should Argentina win, the seventh place will go to New Zealand.

FIH site



Australia into final game in London and 2014 World Cup

4-1 win against China gives Hockeyroos the double



It was smiles all around for Australia when they won their semi-final game in London (Photo: Stanislas Brochier)

China – Australia 1-4 (1-1 halftime)

Australia won its semi-final game against China with a 4-1 decision, ensuring a place in tomorrow’s final game and more importantly a berth to the 2014 Hockey World Cup in The Hague. The top three teams from this Investec Hockey World League tournament are guaranteed a spot in the World Cup.

The game was an even duel with both teams working hard in the surprising London heat, but coming away empty handed from their chances. It seemed only appropriate that it was tournament leading scorer Hongxia Li that broke the scoring silence when she scored her sixth of the event. Li received a spot-on long pass that left her one-on-one at the top of the circle, her hesitation fake, left her able to smack in the reverse shot.

But less than a minute later, Australia answered Li’s goal to tie the game at one when Ashleigh Nelson scored down low in the circle to send the teams to the break in a deadlock.

Australia pulled away midway through the second half, edging their lead up to 3-1 with patience and persistence. Claire Messent scored down low in the circle with 19 minutes left in the game, but it was still tense for the Hockeyroos to hold the slim one-goal lead with plenty of time for a hard-working Chinese side to sneak back into the game. It wasn’t until Georgie Parker scored seven minutes later that the Australians could start to relax and imagine their place in the final game.

Emily Hurtz put the finishing touches on the win, scoring with seven minutes left in the game and bringing the final to unrepresentative 4-1 score.

Australia joins the Netherlands, Germany, Korea and Argentina as a qualified team for the 2014 World Cup. Argentina is into the World Cup no matter where they finish in the semi-finals since they are higher-ranked than Rotterdam’s fourth-place finisher New Zealand. England could qualify for the World Cup today with a victory against Argentina. Should England lose today’s semi-final, the last qualification spot will go to the winner of tomorrow’s third-place game.

FIH site



Placement picture takes shape in London

USA and Italy will meet for 5th place



Italy has well exceeded its 17th World Ranking position and will play for 5th place. (Photo: Stanislas Brochier)

Placement 5-8

Spain – United States 1-3 (1-1 halftime)


The U.S. scored two late goals to power through to a 3-1 win against Spain at the Investec Hockey World League Semi-Final tournament. The Americans will now play in the fifth-place game, while Spain is bound for the seventh-place game.

The game was a big step for the Americans on the road to The Hague as they keep their hopes alive to earn a qualification should they not fare will at the Pan American Cup. The loss kills Spain’s World Cup dreams as the seventh place finish places them far too low to make it to The Hague.

The game was deadlocked at one at the end of the first half after the teams exchanged goals less than a minute apart in the 25th minute. The tie endured through much of the game and it looked like the game could be headed to a shootout when USA erupted with two goals in the last five minutes of regulation.

Katie Reinprecht scored the go-ahead 2-1 goal on a penalty corner to give the U.S. the lead with just over five minutes left and Rachael Dawson hit in the critical 3-1 goal to kill any hopes Spain had of sending the game into a shootout.

USA will meet Italy in the fifth-place game, while Spain will take on South Africa for seventh place.

South Africa – Italy 1-1, 1-3 shootout (0-1 halftime)

Italy will finish the Investec Hockey World League Semi-Final well ahead of its 17th World Ranking position thanks to a 3-1 shootout win against South Africa in today’s placement game. The Italians now shoot into the fifth-place game at the event and keep a glimmer of hope alive to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

The South Africans, who will play for seventh place, now face pressure at the African Cup as it is now their only way to make it to the 2014 Hockey World League.

Italy scored the only goal of the tentative first half with Guiliana Ruggieri scored on a penalty stroke. The lead endured nearly through the final hooter. But last-minute South African heroics from penalty corner specialist Pietie Coetzee sent the game to a shootout as she fired in a flick in the last minute of action.

Despite having the momentum from the last-minute goal going into the shootout, South Africa came out flat in the five-man showdown, scoring just once in four tries as Italy won clearly, 3-1.

FIH site



Superb England shock Argentina to reach Final


IWL final celebration

The sun shone for the most anticipated match of the week at Investec World League as England took on Argentina in the second semi final of the day. The home side was in sensational form as they put four goals past the Olympic silver medallists who could only offer two back in reply. Hannah Macleod, Susie Townsend and Nicola White were all on target to book England into the final against Australia tomorrow evening.

England Head Coach, Jason Lee reflected on the victory after the game, “I am overjoyed with the result of course, it was an easy game for us to approach compared to some others as the pressure was off. World cup qualification was assured so we could play with more risk and more attacking play; we showed a lot of fighting spirit. Scoring four against a team of Argentina’s quality is a good day, and doing it on a sunny day, in front of a home crowd; it doesn’t get much better than that.”

Reading’s Susie Gilbert made her 50th England appearance.

Argentina started the match strongly, evading England defenders and maintaining possession of the ball in the opening 10 minutes of play. However, they were not able to capitalise and it was England who dealt the first blow to take a 1-0 lead. Beeston’s Hollie Webb found Bowdon Hightown’s Sally Walton who fired a pass into the circle across goal, which following great pressure from Hannah Macleod saw Argentina deflect the ball into their own net.

Argentina immediately pushed forward, but a succession of saves from goalkeeper Maddie Hinch saw the score remain in England’s favour. However, the world number side continued to press, and Carla Rebecchi showed why she is one of the best players in the world with a solo effort in the 26th minute to bring the score level at 1-1.

With an unwavering attitude and focused play, England scored their second goal in the 32nd minute. A pass from Surbiton’s Georgie Twigg was slotted home by Leicester’s Nicola White who got down low to accurately deflect the ball past Maria Aladro in goal. England played the half out to take a 2-1 advantage in to the break.

The second half of the match saw Argentina come back fighting, fully utilising their captain and seven times FIH Player of the Year, Luciana Aymar, however once again England were resilient in defence. The whole team worked tirelessly to break Argentina’s play down and the likes of Sophie Bray and Hannah Macleod continued to look dangerous on the attack. It was Macleod who was in the right place on the 39th minute as Townsend, out in midfield, hit a fantastic pass from distance into the circle which her teammate expertly deflected in to take the score to 3-1.

The two goal cushion didn’t last long as Argentina turned play over straight away and just two minutes later, after an unfortunate deflection from an England stick, the score was pulled back to 3-2.

Despite the persistent threat from Argentina, England held their nerve and in the 47th minute when Rodriguez Perez received a green card, the home side capitalised on the one man advantage to take the score to 4-2. The home crowd erupted as another accurate pass from Walton seared into the circle. This time it was Townsend who made contact, deflecting the ball from close range past Aladro, for her first senior international goal.

In the final few minutes, the pressure was on for England’s defence as Argentina stepped up their game, but Hinch was resolute in goal with a series of impressive dives and saves. England held on to see the game out and secure a historic 4-2 win over Argentina.

The result means that England have not only booked their place in the final tomorrow evening against Australia, but they have also secured 2014 World Cup qualification.

Speaking after the game, a satisfied Kate Walsh said, “We looked hard at ourselves after the last game, Jason asked for a lot more ‘oomph’ and I think we did provide that today. Argentina are a fantastic side and it’s always a great game; always open with lots of attacking play. I’m just really pleased that we came out of it on the right side today and we’re really looking forward to playing Australia. We had a couple of tough practice games against them recently and we’d like to turn those results around in front of a home crowd tomorrow.”

England play Australia in the Final tomorrow at 18:00. Tickets are available on the gate.

Live coverage of the third place play-off and Final will be shown on Sky Sports 4 from 13:15-20:00.

England 4 (2)
OG, 12
Nicola White, 32 (FG)
Hannah Macleod, 39 (FG)
Susie Townsend, 48 (FG)

Argentina 2 (1)
Carla Rebecchi, 26 (FG)
OG, 41

England Hockey Board Media release



Hockeyroos qualify for 2014 World Cup

4-1 win over China sees Australia through to World League final


The Hockeyroos secured qualification to the 2014 World Cup with a commanding 4-1 victory over China in the semi-final of the Investec World League in the early hours of Sunday morning.  The win also earns the Hockeyroos a spot in Monday’s final against the hosts, England. The final takes place at 3:00am AEST, Monday.

It was an utterly dominant and highly skilled performance by the form team of the tournament, overcoming a Chinese side ranked just one place below Australia in the World rankings in seventh.

Four strikes from Ashleigh Nelson (WA), Claire Messent (VIC), Georgie Parker (SA) and Emily Hurtz (NSW) cancelled out China’s opener by Li Hongxia with the Australians’ potency in front of goal only stifled by good goalkeeping.

A delighted Adam Commens, the Hockeyroos’ Head Coach, said afterwards, “It’s fantastic to come here and achieve that. To qualify for the World Cup, to qualify for the World League round four and now we’re in the final.

“It was a good performance. We knew we could run over the top of the Chinese in the second half. We’ve been finishing matches strongly and we stuck to our plan. We created lots of chances late on. I’m really pleased with the opportunities we created; it was a real pleasure to watch. The quality of our skills was high and we’ll be ready to repeat that against England.”

Commenting on the four goals, all of which came from open play, Commens added, “We’ve been doing well with our penalty corners but the Chinese goalkeeper made some good saves today so it was great to see us put away some field goals.

“It would be really good to see us back to winning tournaments. We’re going into the final as the form team of the tournament.”

A quiet opening period failed to hint at the excitement to come as both sides defended their circles well. Three Australian penalty corners in quick succession failed to produce an opener before Li Hongxia struck at the other end, firing a low tomahawk shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the circle. But the Hockeyroos were behind for barely 60 seconds when Ashleigh Nelson tapped in at the back post to level the score at 1-1. Emily Hurtz’s initial shot was off target but Georgia Nanscawen did well to collect the ball before threading it through to Nelson, eliminating the goalkeeper and leaving the former Miss WA contender with a simple finish.

The second half began with a bout of Australian pressure, which never truly subsided as first Casey Eastham saw a shot blocked before Anna Flanagan had her penalty corner flick well saved by the outstretched left foot of the goalkeeper, Li Ji. Jodie Schulz then saw her penalty corner effort saved by Li before Claire Messent put the Hockeyroos in front.

Nelson was again involved in the goal, this time providing the pass to Messent who did well to recover from a collision with the goalkeeper as she rushed off the line to meet her. Maintaining excellent close control Messent swivelled to unleash a shot inside the near post for 2-1.

Captain Madonna Blyth saw a shot saved before two became three as Georgie Parker applied a deft touch as she met a drilled pass to lift the ball over the goalkeeper and into the goal, despite the late attempts by the Chinese defence to clear it.

Two goals clear and in control the Hockeyroos refused to back off and continued to bombard the Chinese defence as the match entered its final ten minutes. When Madonna Blyth’s ‘never give up’ attitude found her diving to force a pass to Emily Hurtz inside the circle, the 23-year-old made no mistake with a low sweeping shot for 4-1.

Teneal Attard said afterwards, "It was really good to put a really solid performance in throughout the whole game. I think the first half was pretty even, but I think we ran over them in the second half. Our fitness and composure really stood out. We were able to put some goals away and it felt really good.

"We were looking to put some good performances together, which we’ve managed to do consistently - that has been a focus for us. Obviously qualifying for the World Cup is really important for us, and we’re really happy to have secured our spot. We’ve still got a job to do tomorrow and we’ll definitely be going home, doing our recovery properly and getting ready for the final. It doesn’t matter who we play, we’ll come out and play our usual game. We’ll do our research and we’ll have a look at the game tonight but it doesn’t matter who we play. We’ll come out as always and be looking to get the win."

Georgia Nanscawen said, "We knew that if we stuck to our processes then we’d probably come out on top. We created heaps of chances and it was a really good game. Personally it would have been nice to put one in but I’m pretty happy overall.

"It [World Cup qualification] was always in the back of our minds, it’s an incredibly important tournament for the World Cup qualification and it’s fantastic that we’ve taken that bit of pressure from us. But now we want to win the tournament and that’s what we’ve always wanted to do so we’re looking forward to tomorrow."

The result guarantees Australia’s women qualification for the 2014 World Cup in The Hague, where they will join their male counterparts, the Kookaburras, who qualified for the men’s tournament at last week’s World League in Rotterdam.

The Hockeyroos will face England in the final, which is scheduled for 3:00am AEST on Monday morning. The match will be shown live online at www.youtube.com/fihockey.

INVESTEC WORLD LEAGUE SEMI-FINAL

CHINA 1 (1)

Li Hongxia 28 (F)

HOCKEYROOS 4 (1)
Ashleigh Nelson 29 (F)
Claire Messent 51 (F)
Georgie Parker 58 (F)
Emily Hurtz 63 (F)

Hockey Australia media release



Italy edge Investec South Africa hockey women in first Investec WL playoff

JONATHAN COOK in London



South Africa's Sulette Damons outsprints Italy's Agustina di Bernardo during the Investec World League playoff at University of Westminster in London Saturday. Italy won a penalty shootout 3-1 after the score was 1-1 at full-time.Photo: STANISLAS BROCHIER

Italy beat the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team 3-1 in a penalty shootout and 4-2 overall after the full-time score was locked at 1-1 in the Investec World League playoff match at the University of Westminster in Chiswick, London Saturday.

South Africa had 30 entries into the strike zone to Italy’s 16 in the match, had five penalty corners to three against, and had 12 goal shots to the Europeans’ seven, but despite the lion’s share of proceedings it was not to be.

Italy opened the scoring in the 27th minute when Giuliana Ruggieri converted a penalty stroke, the set-piece awarded after the umpires had adjudged a collision in the strike zone in the Italian’s favour.

Elisabetta Pacella hit the post a minute later, while there were plenty of opportunities for both sides in this hotly-contested match, Italian goalkeeper Martina Chirico in particular pulling off some super saves as South Africa came agonisingly close on a number of occasions.

SA piled on the pressure in the second half and the strain on the Italian defence was immense. Three green and two yellow cards, both yellows to captain Chiara Tiddi, were awarded to the Italians during the match and for 16 minutes in the second half they were down to nine players.

With 32 seconds left on the clock Pietie Coetzee netted the equaliser from South Africa’s fifth penalty corner and the match went into a penalty shootout. It was the world record goalscorer’s 276th goal in 272 Test matches.

Goalkeeper Chirico was superb for Italy while Ruggieri demonstrated her big-match temperament by scoring the decisive penalty shootout goal for the 3-1 shootout victory and the 4-2 final scoreline.

SA co-captain Lenise Marais said her team were very disappointed. “We made the goal right at the end to give ourselves a chance in the shootout, but we had many opportunities during the game.”

Marais said the positives were that the hockey had been competitive and now world number 11 South Africa were going “full-out” to qualify for the 2014 World Cup by winning the Africa Cup in Kenya in September/October.|

Italy head coach Fernando Ferrarra said the tournament was a great experience for his world 17th-ranked side. “We played very well and are very happy. In every game we have tried to match the higher-ranked team and the spirit is very high in the team.”

South Africa will now meet the loser of the match between the world’s 10-ranked USA and world number 15 Spain in the seventh/eighth place playoff at 11.30 am (SA time Sunday).

Live on SuperSport HD4 at 11.30 am (SA time) and delayed broadcast 10 pm on SuperSport 6.

SCORERS


Regulation time: Italy (1) 1 (Giuliana Ruggieri) South Africa (0) 1 (Pietie Coetzee)
Penalty shootout: Italy 3 (Chiara Tiddi, Dalila Mirabella, Giuliana Ruggieri) South Africa 1 (Marsha Cox)
Final score: Italy 4 South Africa 2.

SA Hockey Association media release



U.S. keeps World Cup qualifying dreams alive with 3-1 victory over Spain

Team USA will take on Italy tomorrow for a fifth place finish at the World League Semi-Final


LONDON, England – The U.S. Women’s National Team kept their World Cup qualifying dream alive by defeating No. 15 world ranked Spain, 3-1.The U.S. will face Italy tomorrow for a fifth place finish at the World League Semi-Final in London.

“I am delighted with the result,” said U.S. head coach Craig Parnham. “Today was absolutely about getting a result. It didn’t have to be the most attractive hockey, but it had to purposeful and we had to make sure we got what we needed which was the win.”

“Spain is a difficult team to play,” said Parnham. “They play a solid game and are very difficult to breakdown. We always knew it was going to be difficult, but I am delighted with the way the team stayed on task and managed to grind out the result.”

Team USA tallied two quick goals in the final six minutes of action to power past Spain and take home their first victory of the tournament.

U.S. striker Paige Selenski (Shavertown, Pa.) forced a penalty corner in the 25th minute and recorded a goal, her second of the tournament, to put Team USA on the board first. Italy was quick to bounce back, putting the ball past U.S. goalkeeper Alesha Widdall (N.Y.) less than a minute later. The U.S. and Spain entered halftime with one goal apiece.

The match remained tied until the 64th minute when midfielder Katie Reinprecht (Perkasie, Pa.) deflected the ball into the net on a penalty corner. Three minutes later, Rachel Dawson (Berlin, N.J.), tallied her second goal of the tournament, with a chip shot over Spain’s goalkeeper. Two quick goals in the final six minutes of action propelled Team USA past Spain, locking in their first victory tournament. 

“We are really happy to get a win today,” said Dawson. “We knew we needed to find the energy to put the ball in the back of the cage. A lot of different players stepped up today and we are looking forward to tomorrows challenge against Italy.”

The U.S. faced Italy in pool play and fell, 2-1. The U.S. controlled much of the game and the match was even, 1-1, until the 70th minute when Italy capitalized on their final penalty corner.

“Italy has had a good tournament and they have surprised a lot of people here,” said Parnham. “They had a good win today against South Africa and earned the right to be playing in the fifth place playoff match. We understand what the challenges are ahead of us and we know what they are going to bring to the game tomorrow.”

U.S. striker and 2012 Olympian Shannon Taylor (Midlothian, Va.) celebrated her 100th cap with Team USA with a victory. Taylor joined the National Team in 2010 and has been a leading goal scorer for the U.S. since transitioning from the backfield to the forward line.

“It is truly an amazing feeling and an honor to be able to represent my country on the hockey pitch,” said Taylor. “It was always a dream of mine to be a part of this group. Playing in 50 or 100 more international competitions would truly be amazing.”

“One hundred caps is a wonderful achievement,” said Parnham. “It shows a degree of commitment to staying in the game and working hard through the ups and downs of selection. Shannon is the latest player of this tour to receive milestone caps and it is very nice to have a win on her day.”

Fans can watch Team USA take on Italy live tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. EDT on the International Hockey Federation’s YouTube channel.

USFHA media release



2012 Olympian Shannon Taylor competes in 100th match with U.S. Women’s National Team

Taylor celebrated her 100th cap with a 3-1 victory over Spain at the World League Semi-Final in London


LONDON, England – You need a little something special to mark a milestone.

Midlothian, Va. native Shannon Taylor, who earned her 100th cap with the U.S. Women’s National Team, got more than just a gift from her fellow teammates today. To mark Taylor’s milestone, the U.S. defeated Spain, 3-1, to keep their World Cup qualifying dreams alive at the World League Semi-Final in London.

U.S. striker and 2012 Olympian, Taylor, joined the National Team in 2010 and has been a leading goal scorer for the U.S. since transitioning from the backfield to the forward line.

Taylor found the back of the net in the gold medal match against Argentina at the XVI Pan American Games in Guadalajara, qualifying Team USA for the London Olympics. In London last summer, Taylor once again came up big against Argentina, scoring the lone goal of the match and topping the No. 2 world ranked team on the international stage, 1-0.

USA Field Hockey sat down with Taylor at the World League Semi-Final to hear her thoughts on competing in her 100th match for Team USA.

USA Field Hockey: What is it like to represent and play for your country in 100 international matches?

ST:
It is truly an amazing feeling and an honor to be able to represent our country on the hockey pitch. It was always a dream of mine to be a part of this group. Being able to play 100+ caps is just an added bonus and great opportunity to be able to stand next to my teammates and play together as one.

USA Field Hockey: Do you remember putting on the U.S. jersey for the first time and competing in your first cap with Team USA?

ST:
Yes, I definitely remember my first cap. We played Argentina at home in Chula Vista, California and I was playing full back. It was a game I'll never forget. It was a dream come true for me to be able to become a part of such a special group of people that represent our country. Putting on the USA jersey for the first time and every game after is something I cherish forever.

USA Field Hockey: What is your favorite with Team USA thus far in your career?

ST:
My favorite memory of being a part of Team USA is winning the Pan American Games. It was truly a memorable tournament and a turning point for USA Field Hockey. We came together as one group, took on each game individually and let things work out themselves. At the end of the tournament we stood and heard our national anthem play for the world to hear. I am very honored to be part of that group and cherish every moment I spend on the field in the USA jersey.

USA Field Hockey: You already achieved the Olympic dream – so what’s your next goal?

ST:
My next goal is qualifying for the World Cup. That is where we are at the moment and to look too far ahead is unrealistic for me. In an ideal world, I'd love to play in a World Cup Tournament and another Olympic Games.

USA Field Hockey: How long do you see yourself wearing the Team USA jersey? Are you looking as far ahead as 100 more matches?

ST:
I see myself playing for as long as my body will let me. I am focused on the moment and each opportunity that presents itself. To be able to play for 50+ more or 100+ more competitions would truly be amazing.

USFHA media release



Final Preview: Hockeyroos go for gold

James Stock takes a look ahead to the Hockeyroos' final showdown with England


The Hockeyroos head into the final of the Investec World League tournament in the early hours of Monday morning, where they will face the old enemy, England. In doing so, they have the opportunity to go one step better than their Kookaburra counterparts in taking the top step of the podium. Both sides put in strong performances in their respective semi-finals to set up what is sure to be a pulsating encounter.

In the midst of the many Ashes clashes occurring in the coming months, this will be the second time the two sides have faced each other in a week. Following a 1-1 draw in the group stages, incidentally the only game that the Hockeyroos haven’t won this tournament, both sides have gone from strength to strength. After the Hockeyroos brushed past the Chinese in a dominant second half display, England upset the odds to overturn the much-fancied Argentinians 4-2 to set up a mouth-watering tie.

Hockeyroos coach Adam Commens has achieved two of his three pre-tournament goals; to qualify for the fourth round of the World League in December, and to qualify for the World Cup. The sole focus now for both teams is taking home the gold medal from this final tie. Consistently through the tournament the Hockeyroos have played some of the most commanding hockey, showing no fear against the opposition that have been thrown up against them.

The confidence, which has been clear throughout the tournament, shows no signs of abating at this stage, and deservedly so given the continued impressive levels of performance. After their victorious semi-final, Teneal Attard was in a confident mood when faced with the prospect of a gold medal.  “We were looking to put some good performances together, which we’ve managed to do consistently,” she said. “That’s been a focus for us. Obviously, qualifying for the World Cup is really important, and we’re really happy to have secured our spot. We’ve still got a job to do tomorrow [in the final] and we’ll definitely be going home, doing our recovery properly and getting ready for the final.”

Whilst undoubtedly carrying good form of their own, the Hockeyroos will have to be wary of some stand out performers in the English side. Maddie Hinch has made a strong case to be the goalkeeper of the tournament and the very experienced Kate Walsh has commanded her undefeated team through the campaign. They also have a string of strong young performers who have impressed in the last week. In spite of the Hockeyroos’ track record, they will need to be wary of the threat from the English.

Historically, the Hockeyroos have the edge over their opponents. In the 66 recorded clashes between the two, the Australians have conquered their Anglo rivals 30 times, by comparison tasting defeat on just 22 occasions. However, the only thing that will count will be the 70 minutes that separates the Hockeyroos from taking the title.

It seems appropriate to leave the final words with Georgia Nanscawen, who herself has had an excellent tournament, as she conveys the confidence she and the rest of the team are feeling heading into the final, “We’re confident no matter who we play. The way we’re playing at the moment we can be confident no matter the opponent. If we stick to our game plan I’ve got no doubt we can come out on top”.

Watch the Hockeyroos take on England live at 3am AEST on Monday at www.youtube.com/fihockey.

See the game shown on delay on Fox Sports 2 from 8:00am AEST on Monday.

Hockey Australia media release



Japan hold Korea, Germany denied by Argentina

Men's World League Semi final underway in Johor Bahru


Germany and Argentina played out a 1-1 draw in the opening match of the Hockey World League in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. (Photo: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek)

POOL A: Japan fought back from three goals down to secure a stunning 3-3 draw with Korea, a team eight places above them in the FIH World Rankings.  The Johor Bahru crowd witnessed a hugely entertaining clash between the two teams from Asia, with both sides scoring some truly memorable goals in the contest. The honours were also shared in the shared in the first match of the Hockey World League Semi Final, with Germany and Argentina playing out a 1-1 draw.  Full reports about the matches can be found below.

Korea – Japan 3-3 (3-0)

Japan fought back from three goals down to secure a stunning 3-3 draw with Korea, a team eight places above them in the FIH World Rankings.  The Johor Bahru crowd witnessed a hugely entertaining clash between the two teams from Asia, with both sides scoring some truly memorable goals in the contest.

Korea were in rampant form in the first half, powering to a 3-0 lead thanks to a trio of high class strikes. The first came from Kim Seong Kyu, who pounced following two excellent penalty corner saves from Japan’s Katsuya Takese, before the first field goal of the tournament arrived courtesy of Lee Nam Yong’s thumping volley. Korea’s third goal was the best of the lot, with Kang Moon Kweon slapped home an outrageous strike that rattled the backboard at break-neck speed.

If the first half belonged to Korea, no-one would dispute that Japan owned the second period. The world number 16 produced a heroic display, scoring three goals without reply to earn a thoroughly deserved draw. Kei Kawakami fired home in the 43rd minute to give his side hope before Toshihiro Tachibana cracked home a wonderful backhand strike from a seemingly impossible angle with 13 minutes remaining. The equaliser arrived with nine minutes left to play, when Heita Yoshihara bundled the ball over the line from close range to ensure that Japan claimed a share of the spoils.

Coupled with the earlier 1-1 draw between Germany and Argentina, the result leaves all four Pool A teams locked together on one point each.

Germany – Argentina 1-1 (1-0 HT)

The honours were shared in the first match of the Hockey World League Semi Final, with Germany and Argentina playing out a 1-1 draw. A penalty corner strike from Gonzalo Peillat late in the game cancelled out an early strike from Christopher Zeller, giving Argentina a fine result against the world number 1 ranked team and reigning Olympic champions. 

It took Germany less than five minutes to win the opening penalty corner of the match, with Christopher Zeller finding a foot in the Argentina circle before launching a ferocious drag-flick into the roof of the net to give the Europeans an early advantage. Argentina were very much second best for long periods of a half played in sweltering conditions, with 2012 FIH Young Player of the Year Florian Fuchs and rising star Christopher Ruehr both going close. That said, Argentina were certainly not without their chances and could easily have drawn level had Lucas Vila hit the target instead of firing over the crossbar with a blistering volley. Vila was in the thick of the action towards the end of the half, forcing a fine save from Nico Jacobi with an angled deflection before hitting the post with a follow up effort from a tight angle.

The South Americans continued their improvement into the early stages of the second half, but the German defensive line held firm. Eventually though, Argentina got the goal that their hard work deserved, with Gonzalo Peillat tying the scores with a ripper of a penalty corner flick in the 61st minute. It proved to be a key moment, earning Argentina a superb result against the best team in the world.

FIH site



England rescue draw, Malaysia hold Pakistan

Pool B gets going at the World League Semi Final in Johor Bahru



Muhammad Razie scored twice for Malaysia in their tournament opener against Pakistan. (Photo: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek)

POOL B: England were held to a 3-3 draw by South Africa in the final match of the day here at the men’s Hockey World League Semi Final in Johor Bahru. A 70th minute penalty corner from Richard Smith gave England a point in a match that they had trailed in for long periods. The result means that all four teams in Pool B are level on one point each, following Pakistan's draw with Malaysia earlier in the day.

Full reports about the matches can be found below.

England - South Africa 3-3 (1-2)


England were held to a 3-3 draw by South Africa in the final match of the day here at the men’s Hockey World League Semi Final in Johor Bahru. A 70th minute penalty corner from Richard Smith gave England a point in a match that they had trailed in for long periods. The result means that all four teams in Pool B are level on one point each. 

South Africa drew first blood as early as the 6th minute in the contest when a speculative cross-field pass from the left somehow found its way to the unmarked Julian Hykes, who turned smartly before lashing a thunderbolt finish past goalkeeper George Pinner.  It was a brilliant strike from the South African, who smashed his effort into the smallest of targets, giving the England shot-stopper absolutely no chance of making the save.

Hykes doubled the South African advantage five minutes later when he cut along the backline caught Pinner off guard with a snap-shot which ricocheted off the keeper’s pads and into the roof of the net. South Africa were well on top, but England managed to reduce the deficit in the 13th minute through an own goal. Lance Louw was the unfortunate player, who inadvertently guided a cross from the right beyond the despairing dive of RSA keeper Erasmus Pieterse. 

The remainder of the half was a battle royale, with both sides giving everything to the cause but making a number of unforced errors on an extremely humid Malaysian evening.

It was England who scored the first goal after half time, with Ben Arnold forcing the ball home after a Mark Gleghorne burst away from the South African defenders before teeing up his compatriot with a perfectly weighted pass.

Both teams lost players in the 63rd minute for separate offences, with South Africa’s Lloyd Norris-Jones and Henry Weir of England being shown yellow cards. South Africa took advantage of the extra space and moved into a 3-2 lead thanks to a slick penalty corner routine converted by Tim Drummond, who guided a deflection into the roof of the net following a superb pass from captain Austin Smith. However, England grabbed a share of the spoils with a penalty corner of their own, with Richard Smith finding the bottom left corner with a powerful drag-flick in the last minute of the game.

Pakistan – Malaysia 4-4 (1-3)

World number 5 Pakistan survived a huge scare in their opening match of the Hockey World League Semi Final completion in Johor Bahru, being forced to fight back from 3-0 down to rescue a 4-4 draw against inspired tournament Malaysia, ranked 13th in the world. The host nation produced a superb display but could not hold on against their illustrious opponents, who rallied hard in the second period. 

Malaysia were hugely impressive in the opening 20 minutes of the match, totally dominating their higher ranked rivals and netting three goals in quick succession. All of the goals came from penalty corners, with Muhammad Razie Abdul Rahim scoring two beautifully executed drag flicks before Muhammad Marhan Mohd Jalil followed up another Razie effort to make the score 3-0 after just 18 minutes of play. Pakistan looked shell-shocked, but soon regrouped and began to find their feet in the match. Their hard work was rewarded when Abdul Haseem Khan reduced the deficit with a superb shot following a saved penalty corner effort, but Pakistan still found themselves trailing 3-1 at the break. 

Following the re-start, Malaysia needed just two minutes to re-establish their three goal advantage when Tengku Tajudin Abdul Jalil deflected home from close range, although Pakistan hit back almost immediately through a low Muhammad Tousiq penalty corner. Pakistan superstar Shakeel Abbasi scored a 56th minute penalty stroke to put serious pressure on the home team before an equaliser arrived nine minutes from full time. Greenshirts captain Muhammad Imran was the scorer, arrowing a low drag flick past the left foot of Malaysia goalkeeper Kumar Subramiam. 

FIH site



England held



There were no winners in the opening day of the World League Semifinals in Johor Baru as England and South Africa also ended their match with a 3-3 draw.

Germany and Argentina drew 1-1 in the opening match, while the all Asian affair saw South Korea and Japan sharing the spoils with 3-3 draw.

The third match offered eight goals as Malaysia were held by Pakistan 4-4.

South Africa made a perfect start to their World League Semifinals campaign when Julian Hykes picked up a brace in the 6th and 9th minute respectively.

The goals rocked the second highest ranked team in the tournament, but they were soon back on steady grounds and begun to show some positive attacking play.

England did manage to reduce the deficit, but it was courtesy of an own goal which came in the 13th minute from the stick of Rhett Halkett.

Both teams had their own share of possession but failed to make the best of their chance as the score stood at half time.

The second half was off to the same tempo as it left of in the first with both side looking impressive on the ball but continued to struggle in finding the breakthrough.

However, the world No 4 side found the telling equalizer in the 56th minute when Mark Gleghorne set up Ben Arnold for the simplest of tap in.

The final five minutes saw South Africa restoring their lead in the 65 minute through Jonathan Robinson, but the lead was cancel out once again when Richard Smith found the net in the 70th to share the spoils.

Official WHL R3, Johor Baru Microsite



Malaysia blow three goal advantage



Malaysia blew a 3-0 lead against Pakistan and were lucky to come off with a point after the two teams played to a 4-4 draw in the World League Semi-finals at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru tonight.

Three early penalty corner goals did the trick for Malaysia early in the match as Pakistan's fire was snuffed was what thge Malaysian's thought.

But Pakistan were not giving up without a fight and fought back gallantly to take hom,e a point.

Faizal Saari, who seems to play his best matches at the Taman Daya Stadium, won the first penalty corner for Malaysia in the third minute and Mohd Razie Rahim made it count.

And in the seventh minute, Faizal again won a penalty corner and Razie's sizzling flick beat goalkeeper Imran Shah yet again.

And in the 18th minute, off Malaysia's fourth penalty corner, Razie's flick was stopped by Imran, but pusher Marhan Jalil slammed in in back for a 3-0 lead.

Pakistan pulled one back in the 26th minute off their second penalty corner when Abdul Haseem Khan made it count.

At halftime Malaysia led 3-1.

It took three minutes into the second half for Malaysia to score their 4th as Mohd Shukri Mutalib's cross was deflected into goal by Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin.

But Pakistan hit back through their fourth penalty corner as Mohammad Tousiq sent his drag flick through the pads of Malaysian custodian S. Kumar in the 42nd minute.

Firhan Ashaari could have put the issue beyond doubt in the 50th minute but somehow shot wide when it was easier to score.

And Malaysia paid a heavy price for that miss as Pakistan was awarded a penalty stroke in the 56th minute when Shukri used his arm to deny Pakistan a goal. Shakeel Abbasi made no mistake and it was 4-3 in the 56th minute.

Malaysia were collapsing and Pakistan sensed this to force a penalty corner in the 61st minute when Nor Izzat Sumantri showed his inexperice to use the back of the stick to tackle right infront the umpire who awarded a penalty corner.

And up stepped Muhammad Imran to convert the penalty corner and draw Pakistan level at 4-4.

Pakistan won another two penalty corners in the very next minute but this time Kumar was in his element.

Official WHL R3, Johor Baru Microsite



Amazing comeback against Japan



Japan staged one of the most amazing comebacks of late when they came from 0-3 down at halftime to hold Korea to a draw at the World Hockey League Semi Finals in Johor Bahru this evening.

Such was their determination that even their coach Kang Keon Wook, a Korean, was amazed at their mental strength and paid tribute to his players.

"It was amazing to see them play as they did in the second half. We were poor in the first half and conceded some soft goals," said Kang.

"But it was a fantastic turnaround and I am happy for the team as any other team would have caved in.

"They showed character and I think this is a good start as they played with determination. We played to our standards in the first half and conceded the goals."

Korea raced to a 3-0 lead through Kim Syeong Kyu ( 15th minute), Lee Seung II ( 24th minute) and Kang Moon Kweon (26th minute).

But Japan took their chances well and scored through Kei Kawakami ( 43rd minute), Toshiro Tachibana ( 57th minute) and Heita Yoshimara ( 61st minute).

"We paid for the lack of concentration and our fitness as we did not pace ourselves. It was also a case of being overconfident I suppose,: said Korean coach Shin Seok Kyo.

"It is two points lost and playing Germany tomorrow now suddenly becomes more difficult."

Official WHL R3, Johor Baru Microsite



Argentina hold Germany



It was akin to playing hockey in the sauna. Those were the first words of German coach Markus Weise said after his team was held to a 1-1 draw by Argentina in the opening match of Pool A in the World Hockey League in Johor Baru.

"I really cannot understand why the FIH do not look at the conditions before drawing up the fixtures. All our pool matches are in the early part of the day and to be fair to all teams there should have been a better distribution.

"When we raise it to the FIH, they claim that medical and sciencetific researh and all that. But have these guys played hockey themselves in such conditions?"

Germany took the lead in the 5th minute with Christoper Zeller sending a drag flick into the roof of the net.

Try as they did to increase their goal tally, it was denied by the agile Juan Vivaldi inbetween the Argentine goalposts.

And late in the second half Argentina found the deserving equaliser.

It was Gonzalo Peillat who nailed Argentina's solitary penalty corner into the back of the net nine minutes from time.

"Of course we are happy holding the Olympic champions. But if you ask me if I am happy with the point, I will say no. But more importantly my team played up to expectations and we started the tournament on the right track,: said Argentina coach Carlos Retugi.

"On the weather it is the same for both teams so really there is nothing to complain. I like it here in Malaysia. When we play in Europe its cold, and its hot in Asia."

Official WHL R3, Johor Baru Microsite



SA hockey men denied win in dying seconds against England

JONATHAN COOK



Jonty Robinson netted his team's third goal in South Africa's 3-3 draw with England in Malaysia. Photo: MARCEL SIGG

The South Africa men’s hockey team were denied a momentous victory when mishap and error combined to undo patches of superb play on day one of the World League Semi-Final tournament in Johor, Malaysia Saturday.

England have won their last seven Test matches against South Africa.

World number 12 South Africa led 2-1 at half-time before the final score ended 3-3, world number four and London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medallists England sharing the points at one apiece thanks to a penalty corner equaliser in the dying seconds.

South Africa had more shots on goal from field play, as well as more penalty corner shots, while an own goal and a most unusual defensive lapse contrived to undo much of the good work.

SA striker Julian Hykes was on fire, scoring two cracking field goals in the sixth and ninth minutes before South Africa conceded and unfortunate own goal in the 13th minute, which reduce their lead to 2-1.

In the 56th minute Mark Gleghorne intercepted a cross ball at the back that surely was the result of a massive misunderstanding in the SA defence before setting up Ben Arnold for a superb diving finish and the scores were level 2-2.

SA went ahead in the last five minutes when penalty corner injector Jonty Robinson rounded off a well-worked and well-timed variation with a sliding reverse-stick deflection goal in the 66th minute.

But with both teams down to 10 men the contest reached a knife-edge and England capitalised from what appeared to be a contentious penalty corner decision at the death, Richard Smith placing a perfectly timed and disguised drag-flick low into the backboard in the 70th and last minute past outstanding SA goalkeeper Rassie Pieterse.

Pieterse’s opposite number, George Pinner, was also called on to make some outstanding saves in this fast-paced encounter.

South Africa now play Malaysia, the world number 13 ranked team, at 3 pm (SA time) Sunday in their second Pool B match, which will be live on SuperSport 4. The South Africans’ final Pool B match against Pakistan will be at 3 pm (SA time) on Tuesday against world number five Pakistan on SuperSport 7.

With England and South Africa drawing 3-3, there were no winners on day one – a remarkable statistic. Malaysia led 3-0 against Pakistan and appeared on the verge of a major upset but the Pakistanis showed their mettle in coming back to draw 4-4.

It was certainly a day for the underdog as world number 1 Germany were held 1-1 by world number 10 Argentina and world number 16 Japan gave world number eight South Korea a fright in drawing 3-3.

SOUTH AFRICA

Rassie Pieterse (Southern Gauteng), Gowan Jones (KZN Coastal Raiders); Austin Smith (capt, Western Province), Francois Pretorius (Northern Blues), Rhett Halkett (vice-capt, WP), Lance Louw (SG), Jethro Eustice (SG); Jonty Robinson (NB), Clint Panther (SG), Wade Paton (KCR), Tim Drummond (KCR), Nick Gonsalves (SG), Taine Paton (KCR); Julian Hykes (SG), Craig Haley (WP), Pierre de Voux (WP), Miguel da Graca (SG), Lloyd Norris-Jones (WP).

South Africa’s remaining Pool B Fixtures (all 3 pm SA time): Sunday, vs Malaysia (SuperSport 4); Tuesday, vs Pakistan (SS 7).

SA Hockey Association media release



England steal a draw in World League opener


Ben Arnold celebrates scoring his debut goal for England against South Africa at the World League

It was a day of sharing the spoils as the last of the World League Semi Finals got underway in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. England earned their draw the hard way, coming back from a goal down in the final two minutes to draw 3-3 with South Africa. Ben Arnold and Richard Smith were on target for England, Arnold picking a great occasion to score his first senior international goal and Smith firing home from a penalty corner in the dying minutes to give their side a well earned point.

Speaking after the game, Head Coach Bobby Crutchley said, “I thought we battled hard today. After a sluggish start we made defensive errors across the pitch, not just in our own circle, and we were punished by South Africa. However there were several positive aspects to our play particularly in the second half. I was proud of the team at 3-2 down, we stayed positive and the equaliser was just reward for our resilience throughout the whole game. We look forward to the challenge of Pakistan tomorrow.”

Both teams lined up for the final match of the day in Malaysia knowing that a win would put them in a strong position having seen the other match in Pool B between Malaysia and Pakistan end 4-4. It was South Africa who got off to the better start. Julian Hykes found himself with space in the circle after he’d picked off a pass which had cut through England’s defence. He then disposed of the ball with a rifling shot past a helpless George Pinner at the near post who had no chance to react.

By the 11th minute England found themselves two goals down. Hykes once again was the scorer as he created space for himself in the England circle, this time approaching the goal from the opposite side. He drove towards the backline and with a clever dummy wrong footed Pinner to slot the ball home past the inside post.

England reacted quickly and in the 13th minute Reading’s Tom Carson beat the South African defence and hit a cross into the circle which was deflected in from a defender’s stick past Erasmus Pieterse in goal to make it 2-1.

South Africa continued to look dangerous on the attack despite England just edging the overall possession for the half, however neither side could capitalise on their chances the score remained 2-1 at half time.

The story continued in much the same way in the second half, however England did begin to settle into their rhythm. Beeston’s Adam Dixon and Reading’s Darren Cheesman both created chances in the early stages, but Pieterse stood strong in goal keeping England out.

With 15 minutes to go England won their first penalty corner of the game. Richard Smith took the flick, but it was well saved and dealt with by Pieterse and his South African defence. Moments later East Grinstead’s Mark Gleghorne picked a ball up off a South African error and drove into the circle with only one defender in sight. He selflessly passed to his right to pick out Beeston’s Ben Arnold, who got his shot away before a tackle could be made and scored his first senior international goal, crucially bringing England back on level terms.

In a hectic final 10 minutes there were chances for both sides. South Africa looked to have spoilt England’s night when Timothy Drummond deflected in off an Austin Smith penalty corner flick to make it 3-2, however England were not finished yet. With just two minutes left on the clock, Richard Smith stepped up to take England’s second penalty corner of the game. This time his flick was dragged with pin point accuracy to Pieterse’s right and he celebrated with his side as they stole a goal back to make it 3-3 and take a point from their first game.

England’s next match sees them take on Pakistan at 14:00 (UK time) tomorrow. Watch it live on the FIH You Tube channel.

ENGLAND 3 (1)
OG 13
Ben Arnold 56 (FG)                                          
Richard Smith 68 (PC)                                                             

SOUTH AFRICA 3 (2)
Julian Hykes 6, 11 (FG, FG)
Timothy Drummond 65 (PC)

England Hockey Board Media release



Brilliant start, sad ending

DENIED: Individualistic play denies Malaysia famous victory

By JUGJET SINGH


MALAYSIA crumbled after taking a 3-0 lead and had to settle for a 4-4 draw with Pakistan in their World League Semi-finals opening Group B tie at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru yesterday.

The only consolation for Malaysia is that the result is not going to come back and haunt them as all teams advance to the quarter-finals irrespective of how they finish in the preliminary round.

Still, not being able to cross the finish line despite leading 3-0 and then 4-1 is a cause for concern.

"I left a bunch of frustrated players in the dressing room just now, but I believe they will overcome the disappointment and play much better against South Africa tomorrow (today)," was Malaysian coach Paul Revington's assessment of the match.

The main problem after taking a 3-0 lead was that individual play crept into the match.

"Yes, we played as a team for 35 minutes, but individual play crept in in the second half and that was pleasing to the gallery, but not to the scoreline.

"This is why we are ranked 13th in the world, and when I can make them play as a team for 70 minutes, we will surely move up the rankings," said Revington.

Pakistan coach Akhtar Rasool couldn't stop beaming.

"Malaysia were lucky as they scored early goals but by right, we had many more chances to seal the match but failed to win."

Faizal Saari, who seems to play his best matches at the Taman Daya Stadium, won the first penalty corner for Malaysia in the third minute and Razie Rahim made it count.

And in the seventh minute, Faizal again won a penalty corner and Razie's sizzling flick beat goalkeeper Imran Shah yet again.

And in the 18th minute, off Malaysia's fourth penalty corner, Razie's flick was stopped by Imran, but pusher Marhan Jalil slammed in the rebound.

Pakistan pulled one back in the 26th minute off their second penalty corner when Abdul Haseem Khan made it count.

Three minutes into the restart, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, who was in the shadows for most of the first half, scored a super field goal and Malaysia looked to be cruising to victory.

However, Pakistan kept earning penalty corners and in the 42nd minute, Muhammad Tausiq got his act right for his team's second goal.

That set the stage for a Pakistan onslaught and they were rewarded in the 56th minute with a penalty stroke which Shakeel Abbasi cooly tucked past goalkeeper S. Kumar.

Five minutes later, a back-stick tackle by Norhizzat Sumantri gave Pakistan their ninth penalty corner and Muhammad Imran made it 4-4.

New Straits Times



Individual play the cause..: PAUL REVINGTON

"I left a bunch of frustrated players in the dressing room just now, but I believe they will overcome the disappointment of this match and play much better against South Africa tomorrow (today)," was Malaysian coach Paul Revington's assessment of the match.

The main problem after taking a 3-0 lead was that individual play crept into the match.

"Yes, we played as a team for 35 minutes, but individual play crept in into the second half and that was pleasing to the gallery, but not to the scoreline.

"That is why we are ranked 13th in the world, and when I can make them play as a team for 70 minutes, we will surely move up the rankings," said Revington.

Pakistan coach Akhtar Rasool was pleased as punch: "Malaysia were lucky, as they scored early goals as by right, we had many more chances to seal the match but failed to win today (yesterday)."

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey



Malaysia squander three-goal lead to share points with Pakistan

By S. RAMAGURU



Close Call: Malaysia’s Muhammad Firhan Ashaari (on ground) makes a diving attempt at Pakistan’s goal during their Group B World Hockey League semi-final match in Johor Baru Saturday. The match ended 4-4. — LIM CHENG KIAT / The Star.


JOHOR BARU: Malaysia let slip a sure victory against Pakistan in their opening Group B match of the FIH World Hockey League semi-final tournament at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium last night.

The Malaysians were so dominant that they took a 4-1 lead after 38 minutes. But as in previous matches, Malaysia again failed to close out the match and Pakistan fought back to snatch a 4-4 draw.

National coach Paul Revington was disappointed with the result and felt they could have done better.

“I have to agree that there were two different performances in each half . We made some mistakes in the second half and gave away some soft goals. Now, I have a bunch of disappointed players on my hand and we need to refocus and get back to our best for the match against South Africa tomorrow (today),” said Revington.

It was not a big surprise when Revington named his best line-up against world No. 5 Pakistan.

Much to the surprise of the local fans, Malaysia surged to a 3-0 lead after only 18 minutes.

Mohamed Razie Abdul Rahim started the ball rolling with a penalty corner goal in the third minute. He was again on target in the seventh minute, also from a penalty corner. Mohamed Marhan Abdul Jalil then scored from close range in the 18th minute.

Abdul Haseem Khan, however, managed to reduce the deficit for Pakistan to 3-1 in the 26th minute.

The Malaysians again started strongly after the breather. Three minutes into the half, they led 4-1 when Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin deflected home a cross.

Stung by the three-goal deficit, Pakistan hit back quickly with Mohamed Tousiq scoring from a penalty corner in the 42nd minute.

Malaysia then had a chance to put the match to bed in the 50th minute, but Muhammed Firhan Ashaari surprisingly missed an open goal.

A minute later, the worried Pakistanis replaced their goalkeeper with Imran Butt coming in for off-colour Imran Shah.

Boosted by the change, Pakistan surged forward and earned a string of penalty corners. In the 56th minute, they earned a penalty stroke and Shakeel Abbasi made no mistake.

Five minutes later, Pakistan finally scored the equaliser with Mohamed Imran scoring with a drag flick off a penalty corner. Pakistan, chasing for the winner, were all over the Malaysians in the last few minutes but the hosts held on to get a point.

In another Group B match, the England and South Africa encounter also ended in a draw. The match ended 3-3.

The Star of Malaysia



Pakistan fight back to draw against Malaysia


Shakeel Abbasi scored one of Pakistan’s four goals as the Greenshirts hit back from being 3-0 down to record a draw. Photo: FILE AFP

KARACHI: Despite being 3-0 down before the end of the first-half, Pakistan were able to record a draw against Malaysia 4-4 as the Greenshirts began their campaign at the Hockey World League (HWL) 2013 in Johor Baru yesterday.

The hosts were off to a great start with Muhammad Razie converting a penalty corner early in the match before the Malaysian player completed his brace 10 minutes later.

Mohammad Jalil made it 3-0 as Pakistan looked down and out. However, Abdul Haseem Khan opened his team’s account five minutes before the half-time whistle.

After the break, Malaysia scored again, this time Tajudin Abdul Jalil getting in on the act. With 4-1 down, Pakistan were left with no choice but to attack and it paid off with Mohammad Touseeq converting a penalty corner soon enough.

Shakeel Abbasi found the opening in the 56th minute on a penalty stroke before captain Muhammad Imran levelled five minutes before full-time.

The tournament is also serving as a qualifying round for the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Men’s World Cup 2014 in the Netherlands. The top three teams at the HWL confirm their berth for the World Cup next year.

Before the team’s departure, Pakistan hockey coach Akhtar Rasool had termed the Malaysian encounter as an important one.

“Malaysia are our toughest competitors in the group and opening against them will be tough,” Rasool had said. “I’m confident that the team can qualify for the World Cup at this event only, but Malaysia are a very dangerous side. But I know my team can perform well under-pressure.”

Pakistan play their second match at the HWL against England today.

Meanwhile, in other results, Germany played out a draw against Argentina 1-1, while Japan drew against Korea 3-3 in their opening Pool A matches.

The Express Tribune



Pakistan hold Malaysia to 4-4 draw

JOHOR BAHRU: Pakistan held hosts Malaysia to a 4-4 draw in a World Hockey League match here in Johor Bahru on Saturday.

The Malaysian team gave a tremendous performance by scoring three goals in the first 18 minutes of the game against Pakistan.

However, Pakistan found their feet equalising in the second half with Abdul Haseem Khan, Muhammad Tousiq, Shakeel Abbasi and captain Muhammad Imran each scoring one goal in the game.

The first two matches played before Pakistan-Malaysia match also ended in draw. Argentine and Germany’s match ended with 1-1, while Japan and South Korea scored three goals each.

Eight teams are participating in the second round of the tournament. Teams who will bag first three positions in the event will qualify for the World Cup 2014.

The News International



Pakistan stage comeback to hold Malaysia

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan hockey team salvage a point against hosts Malaysia in the World Hockey League Round III Pool B match played at Johar Baru on Saturday. Pakistan conceded two goals inside five minutes of the first half and soon they were 3-0 down, but Abdul Haseem Khan scored a field goal to reduce the deficit to 3-1 at the end of the first half.

Soon after the start of the second half, Malaysia scored the fourth goal. Things were looking grim for the green shirts but they bounced back in style. Taufeeq scored on a short corner and soon after Shakeel Abbasi neatly converted a plenty stroke to make it 4-3. M Imran scored the equaliser for Pakistan to square things. Pakistan missed at least two clear goal scoring opportunities in the dying moments of the match, which costs them dearly and they had to settle for a draw. Pakistan would face England today in the second match. Pool B includes Malaysia, England, South Africa and Pakistan while Pool A consists Germany, Argentina, South Korea and Japan.

The Nation



Pakistan rally to survive Malaysia scare


-Photo by AFP

Pakistan opened their World Hockey League campaign with a fighting 4-4 draw against hosts Malaysia on the opening day of the 8-nation event which serves a qualifier for the 2014 World Cup in the Netherlands.

Malaysia, ranked 13th in the world, produced a stunning first-half performance to pin Pakistan right from the start of the match in Johor Bahru. It was once again a case of Muhammad Imran’s side not being alert to the occasion and the hosts made full use of it, netting three goals within 20 minutes of the game. Muhammad Razie Abdul Rahim fired in two power penalty-corners while Muhammad Marhan Mohd Jalil followed with another much to the delight of the partisan crowd. Pakistan were clearly off the mark and their decision to put Imran Shah in goal instead of the more self-assured Imran Butt clearly backfired. Abdul Haseem Khan provided the Greenshirts with some respite, scoring in the 26th minute to make it 1-3 going into the break.

But Malaysia continued in the same vein when the second-half begun, requiring just three minutes to score their fourth goal through Tengku Tajudin Abdul Jalil’s deflection from close range. Pakistan hit back almost immediately through a low Muhammad Tousiq penalty corner. Star forwad Shakeel Abbasi scored a 56th minute penalty stroke to put serious pressure on the home team and captain Muhammad Imran equalised in the 61st minute to cap a great comeback from Pakistan.

The result, however, could have been a lot better for Pakistan had they held their nerve in front of goal from the several opportunities they created. And while the 5th ranked side would be relieved to take at least the one point from the game, it was a match that Pakistan really should have won.

Pakistan will now take on a formidable England side on June 30 (16:00 PST)

Dawn



'Pakistan must target Malaysia, South Africa in WHL'

Usama Iftikhar


Pakistan should target Malaysia and South Africa in the eight-nation World Hockey League (WHL) if they realistically hope to progress in the event, legendary winger Samiullah said in an exclusive interview to Dawn.com.

The WHL, a qualifying event from which the top three teams will earn berths to the 2014 World Cup in Holland, will see Pakistan pitted against hosts Malaysia, South Africa and England in Pool 'A' of the eight-nation tournament. Pool 'B', meanwhile, will see powerhouse Germany, Korea, Japan and Argentina vying for top honours.

"Pakistan are placed with Malaysia, South Africa and England. They have to believe that they can at least conquer the threats posed by Malaysia and South Africa. However, they must overcome their shortcomings in stopping counter-attacks and must make penalty-corners count," Samiullah, dubbed the 'Flying Horse', said.

Ranked 12th, South Africa has enjoyed previous success against Pakistan, their 4-3 win at the 2010 World Cup being one of the big upsets of the tournament. And Malaysia, even after sliding down to 13th on the world chart, have always proved plucky opponents for the Greenshirts. But Samiullah believes these are the two matches that will give Pakistan a realistic hope of victory.

"They must employ the 5-3-2 formation. It may be a little tough on the half-line but that's how they should operate. The forward line has been found wanting in the recent past and often loses shape before making inroads in the the D. However, they have to make each and every opportunity count in this tournament."

According to the former captain, Pakistan's biggest challenge will be overcoming their fitness issues which will be evident from their performances in the WHL but will also dictate how they do in the future. They are likely to be without the services of half-back Rashid Mahmood, who pulled a hamstring in a warmup match against Germany on Friday.

"The biggest divide between the top teams and Pakistan is fitness. Players from Australia, Germany and Netherlands are super fit. The nature of the game has changed and endurance determines how you fare in matches. Our players, unfortunately, lack in this department and the most clear example of it is when teams catch us on the counterattack. We will need to drastically improve this," he added

Pakistan take on Malaysia in their first match today (June 29, 16:00 PST) before lining up against a tough England side on June 30 (16:00 PST). They will play their last group match on July 2 (18:00 PST) against South Africa.

Dawn



Hot favourites Germany held by plucky Argentina

JOHOR BARU: Olympic champions and world No. 1 Germany were held to a 1-1 draw by Argentina in the opening Group A match of the FIH World Hockey League semi-final at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium here yesterday.

The Germans were expected to win and had the better of the exchanges throughout the match.

But they could only produce a goal, through a penalty corner goal by Christopher Zeller in the fifth minute.

The Argentinians then shocked the Germans with Gonzalo Peillat scoring through a penalty corner in the 62nd minute to share the points.

The Germans were clearly irritated with the fixtures which coach Markus Weise claimed was unfair to the teams in Group A.

All the Germans’ group matches are at 3pm or 5pm.

“It was like playing in a sauna and was not an ideal opening start for us.

“Of course, we wanted to win but the conditions were difficult for us. On top of that, we failed to take our chances early in the match,” said Weise.

“I raised the schedule issue with the organisers but till today we have not heard from them on why they scheduled the Group A matches in such a way.

“We will have to recover quickly as we play South Korea tomorrow (today).

“It will be another tough match,” added Weise.

Argentina coach Carlos Retegui was happy with his team’s performance.

“It is always a good result when you can get a point off Germany.

“We did not give up and the late goal was good enough to earn a draw.

“We came here with little preparation. I think we can continue to do well in this tournament,” said Retegui.

The other match in the group also ended in a draw with South Korea being held 3-3 by Japan.

The South Koreans paid the price for being too over-confident after grabbing a 3-0 half-time lead with goals by Kim Seung-kyu (15th minute), Lee Nam-young (22nd) and Kang Moon-keung (24th).

They fell apart in the second-half and looked nothing like the side that impressed in the first 35 minutes.

It was just unbelievable the way the Koreans defended in the second half as they allowed Japan the luxury of space and time to take their shots.

The Japanese took advantage and scored through Kei Kawakami (37th), Toshiro Tachibana (57th) and Heifa Yoshihara (61st).

Japanese coach Kang Keong-wook, a South Korean, felt they deserved a point after an improved performance in the second half.

“We will take any result that is achieved through hard work. We had a disappointing first half.

“But we made some tactical changes after the breather and they paid off,” said Keong-wook.

The Star of Malaysia



Viren Rasquinha optimistic about India qualifying for next World Cup

MUMBAI: Former India hockey captain Viren Rasquinha is hopeful that India would qualify for next year's World Cup through the Asia Cup, but sees the route full of pitfalls.

He said that the underperforming drag-flickers will hold the key to India's success.

"Of course, it is possible (to qualify). But I will say it is going to be very tough. It is not going to be easy at all. There are lots of strong teams in the Asia Cup. They need to play much better than what they did at the FIH World League (Round 3)," Rasquinha said in an interview.

India lost out on a golden chance to qualify for next year's World Cup in Hague, The Netherlands by finishing a lowly sixth in the just-concluded eight-nation FIH World League Round 3 in Rotterdam.

However, skipper Sardar Singh has subsequently expressed confidence that the team would qualify for the game's showpiece event by winning the Asia Cup scheduled in Ipoh, Malaysia from August 24 to September 1.

"They need to play well as a team when it matters and I think our drag-flickers really need to fire, because they did not fire in this tournament. There were three quality drag-flickers in the team and they need to be firing.

"At this level there are no easy matches and every goal counts. There is no real excuse and they need to pull up their socks and get better at the Asia Cup," said Rasquinha, who stays connected with sports as CEO of non-profit sports foundation, Olympic Gold Quest.

"They need to show much more creativity in the Asia Cup. It is going to be very tough because not just Pakistan and Korea, but even teams like China, Japan and Malaysia are going to trouble us.

"It is going to be tough in the Asia Cup as well and we have to win it to qualify (for the World Cup). They have to go there with a lot of self belief.

"The team does have the talent and potential but there is a little gap right now between potential and performance. I would be very disappointed if the raw talent wasn't there. It is there, but it is about putting everything in the right place," Rasquinha said.

The Olympian is quite enamoured with the display of young 17-year-old forward Mandeep Singh.

"I was very impressed with Mandeep Singh, the young 17-year old forward. I think the best part about Mandeep is his positioning sense. He always finds himself in the right position at the right time and that is a hallmark of a quality player," Rasquinha said.

The former half-back further said India need to look no further than Belgium, one-time hockey minnows, on how to improve their game.

"We need to be playing much more. Let's face it, today we need to learn from Australia, Germany and Holland. See Belgium. When I was playing, Belgium was not qualifying for the Olympics," Rasquinha said.

"Belgium came fifth in the Olympics, they won the FIH World League in a tournament where Australia and Holland were there. They beat Australia twice, with amazing improvement. If Belgium can improve, I am sure India can also improve," he said.

The Times of India



Sushila Chanu to lead India in Jr Women's Hockey World Cup

NEW DELHI: Defender Sushila Chanu will lead an 18-member Indian team in the FIH Junior Women's World Cup to be played at Monchengladbach, Germany from July 27 to August 4.

Hockey India selectors B P Govinda, Savitri Purty, chief coach of senior women's team Neil Hawgood, junior women's coach Narinder Saini and scientific Advisor Matt Tredrea alongwith Government Observer Harbinder Singh selected the squad and nine standby players on the basis of their recent performance during the Scotland tour, senior women team's Europe tour, FIH World League Round 3 in Rotterdam and fitness in the preparatory camps.

It was a challenging task for selectors to pick up the best 18 out of the existing 46 eligible players, a HI statement said.

Striker Rani has been named as the vice-captain of the team.

India is placed in Pool C along with New Zealand, Australia and Russia.

India will play their opening match against Australia on July 27 followed by games against New Zealand on July 28 and Russia on July 30.

All the matches will be played at the two pitches of the Warsteiner Hockey Park in Monchengaladbach, Germany.

The team is presently undergoing a preparatory camp, which started on May 22 at NIS, Patiala.

As part of their preparations, the Indian junior eves played five matches against Scotland from May 1-11.

Out of the total five matches played in Scotland, India won four matches against the Scottish U-21 side and lost one match against the senior team.

The Indian team will depart for Germany on July 15 and will be playing four warm-up games ahead of their World Cup campaign. India will play their first warm-up game against Belgium on July 17 followed by matches against The Netherlands (July 19), South Africa (July 21 and July 24).

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Sanarik Chanu, Bigan Soy. Defenders: Pinky Devi, Deep Grace Ekka, Namita Toppo, Manjit Kaur, M N Poonamma, Sushila Chanu (captain), Monika.

Mid-fielders: Lily Chanu, Lilima Minz, Navjot Kaur, Vandana Kataria, Ritusha Arya.

Forwards: Poonam Rani, Rani (vice-captain), Anupa Barla, Navneet Kaur.

Standby's: Sukhmani Virk (goalkeeper), Manmeet Kaur (defender), Kiran Dahiya (defender), Sushila Lakra (defender), Renuka Yadav (mid-fielder), Nikki Pradhan (mid-fielder), Jaswinder Kaur (forward), Neha Goyal (forward), Punam Barla (forward).

The Times of India



Indian Junior Women World Cup team announced

New Delhi - Junior Women Hockey team for the FIH Hockey Junior World Cup Women 2013 to be played at Monchengladbach in Germany from 27 July-4 August 2013, has been announced.

Defender Sushila Chanu is the Captain of the team while Forward Rani is the Vice-Captain.

India is placed in Pool-C with New Zealand, Australia and Russia. India will play their opening match against Australia on 27 July followed by New Zealand on 28 July and Russia on 30 July. All the matches will be played at the two pitches of the Warsteiner Hockey Park in Monchengaladbach, Germany. Match schedule is attached herewith.

The team is undergoing a camp in preparation of the FIH Hockey Junior World Cup Women from 22 May 2013 at NIS, Patiala. As part of their preparations Indian Junior Women team played five matches against Scotland from 1-11 May 2013. Out of the total five matches played in Scotland, India won four matches against Scotland U-21 side and lost one match against senior Scottish side that too with a margin of two goals.

The Indian team will depart for Germany on 15 July 2013 and will be playing four warm-up games ahead of their World Cup campaign on 27 July. India will play their first warm-up game against Belgium on 17 July followed by Netherlands on 19 July, South Africa on 21 July and 24 July.

The team:
GOALKEEPERS

1. Sanarik Chanu
2. Bigan Soy

DEFENDERS
3. Pinky Devi
4. Deep Grace Ekka
5. Namita Toppo
6. Manjit Kaur
7. M. N Poonamma
8. Sushila Chanu (Captain)
9. Monika

MIDFIELDERS
10. Lily Chanu
11. Lilima Minz
12. Navjot Kaur
13. Vandana Kataria
14.Ritusha Arya

FORWARDS
15. Poonam Rani
16. Rani (Vice-Captain)
17. Anupa Barla
18. Navneet Kaur

STANDBY’S
1. Sukhmani Virk (Goalkeeper)
2. Manmeet Kaur (Defender)
3. Kiran Dahiya (Defender)
4. Sushila Lakra (Defender)
5. Renuka Yadav (Midfielder)
6. Nikki Pradhan (Midfielder)
7. Jaswinder Kaur (Forward)
8. Neha Goyal (Forward)
9. Punam Barla (Forward)

Hockey India selectors B P Govinda, Savitri Purty, Chief Coach Senior Women National Team Neil Hawgood, Coach Junior Women National Team Narinder Saini and Scientific Advisor Matt Tredrea along with Government Observer Harbinder Singh selected the 18 players with 9 standby players on the basis of their recent performance during the Scotland tour, Senior Women team Europe tour, FIH World League Round 3, Rotterdam and fitness in the preparatory camps. It was a challenging task for selectors to pick up the best 18 out of the existing 46 eligible players.

Stick2Hockey.com



England Hockey Awards 2013 - the winners


Awards 2013

It was the England Hockey awards dinner last night and it gave us great pleasure to give recognition for the hard work and high standards of hockey’s volunteers, coaches and players alike.

They’re a fantastic example to everyone within the sport and of course there are hundreds of others involved in hockey around the country who could have won awards for their contributions.

You can find a photo gallery  from the night on England Hockey’s Facebook page.

England Hockey’s 2013 awards winners:

Mens NOW: Pensions Performance Award – Glen Kirkham

Mens NOW:Pensions Junior Performance Award – Harry Martin

Women’s Investec Performance Award – Kate Walsh

Women’s Investec Junior Performance Award – Georgie Twigg

Performance Umpire Award – Hamish Jamson

Club Umpire of the Season – Suzanne Armitage

Young Umpire of the Season – Emily Swales

Perkins Slade Coach of the Season – Jon Doherty

Perkins Slade Performance Coach of the Season – Kwan Browne

Investec Women’s Club Team of the Season – Lincoln Roses 3rd XI

NOW: Pensions Men’s Team of the Season – Beeston 1st XI

Harvester Club of the Season – Waltham Forest

Club Volunteer of the Season – Pani Theodorou

Hockey Maker of the Season – Allan Orient

Marketing Campaign of the Season – Maidstone HC

Lifetime Achievement Award – Chris Darling

England Hockey Board Media release



Disney Research Automates Analysis Of Field Hockey Team Behaviors

Hockey moves fast. As efforts to track the puck visually showed, it can be dizzying to keep track of things in a small field of view like a television.

Analyzing games and plays means manual work, for that reason. But Disney Research, located in Pittsburgh and Zurich, have developed an automated technique for analyzing the patterns of play of field hockey teams, providing a new tool for coaches and commentators who must make sense of mountains of video and other game data.

Because players constantly change roles during the flow of play – a left winger switching temporarily with a right winger, or vice versa – the researchers found that focusing on player roles, rather than the identity of an individual, was best for detecting the tactics, strategy and style of play for each team. The video tracking data that the algorithm used as input contained errors but the modeling technique was effective in correcting many of the tracking or detection errors.

Demand for  automated methods has increased because of the data-driven, quantitative techniques that many professional sports teams now use to analyze performance. How to make meaningful comparisons in the world of Big Data? Though coaching staffs can manually quantify performance, computers have an advantage because they can compare many more teams and analyze many more matches – a whole season's worth or even multiple seasons. A coach might use such a system to evaluate how a future opponent performed when playing a team with a similar style to the coach's own team, or to identify weaknesses in the team's play that appear repeatedly over the course of a season.

Sports events unfold over both space and time, so the research team used what's called a bilinear spatiotemporal basis model to represent play. This method of modeling dynamic objects – in this case, players and their opponents – was developed by Disney Research, Pittsburgh, and their collaborators, and simultaneously takes space and time into account when creating models.

The researchers evaluated their methods using high-definition video of portions of three games recorded by eight fixed cameras.  Patrick Lucey, a Disney post-doctoral researcher who specializes in automatically measuring human behavior, said the automated method developed for field hockey is applicable to virtually any team sport involving continuous play, including basketball, ice hockey and soccer. It could streamline the process of video analysis for coaches and their staff, providing an overview of tendencies and behaviors that would allow the coaching staff to focus on the most consequential plays and players.

Star players obviously can have considerable impact on a match, Lucey acknowledged, but the focus on player roles rather than individual identities still makes sense. "It's like when we watch a game on TV," he explained. "A lot of the time, we may not be able to identify a player, but we know where he should be based on the other players."

The Disney team found that the spatiotemporal modeling approach was effective in representing role play during a match. It also helped compensate for the errors that tend to occur in computer vision systems – failure to detect some players, or falsely detecting a "phantom" player. People normally have to spend time eliminating this "noise" in the data, but the spatiotemporal modeling approach proved effective in making these corrections.

The researchers compared their automated "de-noised" data with human-annotated game play data and found only small differences between the two. In assignments of player roles, the researchers found that their system did a good job of identifying the roles of forwards and of defenders, though the system did get confused at midfield because of the frequency with which players change position in that region of the field.

In addition to being an assistive tool for coaches and their staff, automated analysis also could be a boon to television commentators faced with an increasing amount of data and presenting reports on an increasing number of digital platforms, Lucey said.

In addition to Lucey, the research team included Peter Carr and Iain Matthews of Disney Research, Pittsburgh; Alina Bialkowski, a Disney intern and Ph.D. student at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia; Stuart Morgan, a performance analyst at the Australian Institute of Sport, and Yaser Sheikh, assistant research professor in Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute.

Findings were presented at the IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, June 25-27, in Portland.

Science 2.0