All the news for Monday 6 August 2012
Black Sticks women advance to semifinals
BY JONATHAN MILLMOW IN LONDON
STUCK IN: Emily Naylor of the Black Sticks battles with Germany forward Natascha Keller. Iain McGregor/Fairfax NZ
The Black Sticks women have entered uncharted waters after surviving a German onslaught to advance to the semifinals of the Olympic hockey tournament.
Only needing a draw to make the semifinals, the Black Sticks managed that with a 0-0 scoreline and now wait the identity of their next opponent depending on overnight results.
It was heart-in-the-mouth material for most of the second half but this team is nothing if not plucky and their goalkeeper Bianca Russell the star of this campaign to date.
The Black Sticks end pool play on 10 points, good enough for second in their group behind the winner of the late match between Argentina and Australia.
Germany had the ball in the back of the net twice and had a 7-3 penalty corner advantage but a bit of old fashioned Kiwi grit and determination - and the odd slice of luck - got New Zealand home.
Many of the 17,000 capacity crowd were on the Black Sticks' side and they made a great roar when the final hooter sounded.
The Black Sticks high-fived each-other and then did a lap of honour, realising they had created history and given themselves a shot at a medal.
The previous best result by the Black Sticks women at an Olympics is sixth, in 1984, 2000 and 2004, and the best by a New Zealand hockey side is the gold medal by the men in Montreal in 1976.
It was in the Black Sticks' best interests to play positively because a victory would potentially give them top spot in Pool B and avoid a semifinal with runaway Pool A leaders the Netherlands.
Now they are likely to meet either hosts Great Britain or China.
The Black Sticks certainly started on the right note, creating several chances only for poor finishing to let them down.
Samantha Harrison crashed a ball into the side netting from close range and Katie Glynn was too slow in the circle after being put in a one-on-one situation with goalkeeper Yvonne Frank.
Germany did have the ball in the back of the net two minutes before halftime but it was ruled out after a a video referral failed to prove Maike Stoeckel had got a touch inside the circle.
The second half was a German bombardment on the Black Sticks but you got the impression the world No 3 team could still have been playing at midnight and would not have scored.
Germany began the game with a penalty conversion rate of 33 per cent, but their seven attempts were generally well nullified or Russell was on hand to parry them away.
Because the Black Sticks were generally on the defensive, most of their heroes were at the back.
Clarissa Eshuis, another enjoying a fine tournament had a good game and further forward Stacey Michelsen worked very hard.
London 2012 Olympic Games - Hockey Competition Fixtures & Results
Sunday 5 August 2012
Pool Time Match Result
B 08:30 New Zealand vs. Belgium 1-1
A 10:45 Pakistan vs. South Africa 5-3
B 13.45 India vs. Korea 1-4
B 16:00 Netherlands vs. Germany 3-1
A 19:00 Great Britain vs. Australia 3-3
A 21.15 Argentina vs. Spain 1-3
Great Britain turns Group A into a wild ride
Spain nets three goals in last five minutes to stay alive
Barry Middleton celebrates his goal as part of the GB comeback (Photo: Grant Treeby)
Great Britain v. Australia 3-3 (first half: 0-2)
Group A is still wide open after Great Britain staged the best comeback of this Olympic hockey tournament to date, scoring three goals in a 19-minute span to recover from a three-goal deficit and draw current World Champion Australia, 3-3. James Tindall’s goal with 4:30 left in regulation capped the improbable comeback and threw the Group A standings back into chaos.
Australia and Great Britain now lead the hotly contested group with eight points, while Pakistan sits on seven points and Spain has four, but still has two games to play. It means the two semi-final spots all come down to Tuesday’s preliminary round finale when Australia takes on Pakistan and Great Britain faces Spain.
Australia took the early advantage thanks to two goals from Russell Ford coming three minutes apart. Ford struck eight minutes in, shooting the ball in off Great Britain goalkeeper James Fair. He followed up with Jonty Clarke sitting for a green card getting his stick on a ball bouncing through the D for the 2-0 lead.
The home supporters stuck with the team, letting up a hearty roar each time the ball crossed into the Aussie zone, but the defending World Champion had an answer to all of Great Britain’s chances.
Mark Knowles delivered a major blow to GB's hopes five minutes into the second half with his goal from the slot to up the Australian lead to three goals.
But just when it looked like Great Britain was down and out, they sparked to life when Jonty Clarke fed Christopher Ciriello from an odd angle to get GB on the board. Six minutes later things got interesting when the gap was closed to one after Barry Middleton deflected in a penalty corner to make it a 3-2 affair.
The goal brought the stadium and the Great Britain team back to life as they applied steady pressure in the Australian zone. Australia turned it’s game plan into survival mode, buckling down and playing defense, but when Knowles was whistled for a green card, Great Britain took full advantage and a streaking Tindall put in the equalizer sending the crowd and team into a frenzy.
Australia asked for a video referral on the goal, but it was clearly denied and the teams played out the last four minutes and closed the game in the 3-3 draw.
Australia entered the tournament looking invincible with an extremely strong start and every recent title under the sun, but the preliminary round action has chipped away at the armor and now they find themselves in an unusual tight spot for the last game of the group.
Argentina v. Spain 1-3 (half-time: 0-0)
Spain was fighting for its life in today’s game against Argentina. A win or a draw would put Spain right back into the hunt for a place in the semi-final, while a loss would leave them out in the cold. In the end, despite a surprisingly lackluster performance, Spain salvaged a 3-1 win to keep its hopes alive.
Spain sprang to life in the last five minutes of the game, netting all three of its goals after 65 minutes of silence. Pau Quemada kicked off the comeback with four minutes left in regulation for Spain when he scored after a chaotic few moments in front of the net and Miguel Delas netted the game winner a minute later to save the day for Spain.
The icing on the cake came with 40 second left one two-on-none breakaway that Xavi Lleonart finished off to top off the win.
You would never know from the action on the field that Spain’s Olympic medal dreams were on the line. The teams both played a conservative game, in stark contrast to the Great Britain v. Australia thriller directly before.
The first half was a particularly tepid affair with scoring chances few and far between and no penalty corners awarded. It wasn’t until Spain’s Juan Fernandez ran the ball in from midfield with four minutes left in the half that either team had a meaningful chance to get on the board. His effort fell short, but it at least helped to break the lethargic funk that seemed to settle over the stadium.
The teams had more spring in their step and with 15 minutes left in the game the scoring silence was finally broken when Argentina’s Lucas Vila marched through the slot and beat Francisco Cortes in the low far corner for the 1-0 lead. The goal woke Spain up as they pressured the Argentina net late in the game, and were eventually rewarded with the barrage of goals for the win
Spain stays in the thick of things in the Group A playoff hunt with seven points and the last preliminary round game against Great Britain, sitting with eight points. Meanwhile Argentina will hope to avoid the 11th-place game in its final preliminary round game against South Africa.
Pakistan vs. South Africa: 5-4 (half-time: 3-3)
Nine goals were scored in between Pakistan and South Africa under heavy rain, with the score seesawing between the two teams. In the end, Pakistan kept its semi-final hopes alive with a 5-4 win.
South Africa were not deterred by the rain coming down heavily on the Riverbank Arena and a swift combination in the third minute found Thornton Mcdade alone in the circle. He took his time to adjust a shot to beat Imran Shah in the Pakistani goal and open the scoring. Pakistan tried to get away from the South African pressure, mostly with long runs by Shakeel Abbasi, but it took them 15 minutes to have their first opportunity on goal, a penalty-corner, but Sohail Abbas’s low flick was coolly handled by Erasmus Pieterse in the South African goal.
In the 20th minute, Abdul Haseem Khan was at the conclusion of a decisive circle penetration by Shafqat Rasool to cap a period of domination for Pakistan and tie the game. A flurry of scoring suddenly ensued. South Africa regained the lead with a penalty-corner by Justin Reid-Ross, Pakistan equalized in the next breath by Shafqat Rasool, very active today, before taking the lead very soon after by Abdul Haseem Khan!
South Africa forced a penalty-corner with a few seconds left on the clock and Justin Reid-Ross made no mistake to score his second penalty-corner of the match to tie the game at 3-3 going into the half-time break.
In the opening minutes of second period, with rain still pouring down heavily and spectators fleeing the stands for cover, Wade Paton intercepted a clearance from the Pakistani goalkeeper to slam the ball in goal and put back South Africa in the lead 4-3! Pakistan pushed the South African defense on their heels during most of the period, creating some excellent chances. Shakeel Abbasi had a golden opportunity when he received a cross in front of the empty goal but the ball bounced over his waiting stick. Just after, a shot by Shafqat Rasool was miraculously saved by a diving Andrew Cronje.
It seemed only a matter of time for Pakistan to find the target and, with six minutes left on the clock, they earned a penalty-corner and this time Sohail Abbas slotted his flick in the top corner to tie the score at 4-4, setting up an intense finish of match.
Finally, in the 67th minute, Waseem Ahmad found the ball in a goalmouth scramble to give the lead back to Pakistan. They managed to keep it until the end to record their second win of the competition, while the South African were totally dejected to have let the win slip away from their grasp, leaving them at the bottom of Pool A with only one point.
For more information on PAK v RSA, click here.
Dutch book their ticket in the semi-finals
It's down to Korea and Germany for the other spot
Teun de Nooijer had a banner day: 450 caps, a place in the semis and the game-winning goal (Photo: Frank Uijlenbroek)
Netherlands v. Germany 3-1 (half-time: 1-1)
A berth in the semi-finals was on the line in the meeting between the two European giants, Germany and the Netherlands and it was the Dutch that claimed the first semi-final spot in the men’s tournament with a 3-1 win. It seemed only fitting that the man scoring the key go-ahead goal was veteran Teun de Nooijer, who was celebrating his 450th cap in front of the Dutch Royal family members Prince Willem and his wife Maxima.
The win guarantees the Dutch their seventh-consecutive top four finish and puts the defending Olympic champion, Germany, in peril of not cracking into the semi-finals. The Germans need to pick up at least one point in their game on Tuesday against New Zealand or hope for a Korean loss to make the playoffs.
Germany took the lead just two minutes into action on its first penalty corner chance. Christopher Zeller easily hit the mark on the chance to give the Germans the early 1-0 advantage, it would be the last that they would hold the advantage as the Dutch sparked back to life and never looked back. The lead lasted for just over 10 minutes when Bob de Voogd scooped up a rebound and fired in the second-chance shot to tie the game at one.
de Nooijer’s go-ahead goal came just moments into the second half as he was waiting by the far post for a spot on pass and gave the Dutch the 2-1 lead and more importantly the momentum to open the half, The Netherlands quickly built on their lead when Mink van der Weerden went top shelf on a penalty corner to open up a 3-1 lead.
The pace was fast and furious in the second half as the teams treated the sold out Riverbank Arena to end-to-end action. Germany did it’s best to climb back into the game, but the two-goal lead was too much to overcome as the Netherlands booked their semi-final ticket.
Germany closes its preliminary round action with the last game of the day on Tuesday against New Zealand, while the Netherlands will take on Korea in what are the two essential games for the semi-final picture in Group B
India vs. Korea: 1-4 (half-time: 1-1)
Korea scored 3 out of 5 penalty-corners to earn a comfortable win against India (4-1) and the third place in Pool B, leaving India dejected and still pointless in the competition.
Korea were promptly all over the Indian defense and Jang Jong Hyun opened the scoring on their first penalty-corner with an unstoppable flick under the crossbar. India reacted immediately and Gurwinder Singh Chandi equalized on a cross from Dharamvir Singh that eluded the Korean defense. They nearly scored again soon after on a similar move, with a ball stolen in midfield by Sardar Singh and relayed by Dharamvir Singh, but Lee Myung Ho in the Korean goal was up to the task this time.
Despite the rain hammering down the pitch and a storm brewing overhead, both teams maintained an attacking style with chances at both ends. Dharamvir Singh, very active today, had the Indian fans on their feet when he tried to reach a ball rolling tantalizingly close to the goal line, but a Korean defender intervened in the nick of time. They thought that they had scored on a penalty-corner with 4 minutes to go in the period, but the shot was deemed high. Sandeep hit the crossbar on the next attempt and the Korean defense cleared the third one, and halt-time was reached on par 1-1.
Second period was fast and furious, with end-to-end moves from both teams. Seo Jong Ho had a good chance after receiving the ball deep behind the defense, but he slipped when trying to turn around for the shot. Sardar Singh was all over the pitch for India, carrying the ball into the Korean circle and cleaning up in defense in the next breath. Dharamvir Singh had a few additional close misses, and it was finally the Koreans who broke the deadlock by Nam Hyun Woo on a swift penalty-corner option and a flick that shaved the post, out of reach of PR Sreejesh who had replaced Bharat Kumar Chetri in the Indian goal at half-time.
With time passing and a forth defeat looming large, India threw caution to the wind, using Sandeep Singh in a high forward position. The gambit was nearly successful, but not quite, and Lee Seung Il took advantage of the depleted Indian defense to crucify PR Sreejesh for a third goal. Nam Hyun Woo added another goal, his second of the match, on a penalty-corner earned on the buzzer, to push Korea to a comfortable victory and the third place in Pool B, leaving India dejected and still pointless in the competition.
For more information on IND v KOR, click here.
New Zealand vs. Belgium: 1-1 (half-time: 0-0)
New Zealand and Belgium kept the crowd well entertained with end-to-end attacking hockey but could only produce one goal each.
Belgium were the faster in action and Kyle Pontifex in goal for New Zealand was called three times into action in the opening minutes. New Zealand managed to weather the initial storm, including on a penalty-corner, and play soon became more balanced. Belgium had a few more dangerous chances and Pontifex was the busiest player on the pitch.
Play remained fast and entertaining for the whole first period, with chances at both ends. Belgium had a powerful push in the last ten minutes of the period and New Zealand were clearly back on their heels. They were at a point down to 9 players on the pitch after two green cards, and Belgium peppered the goal with shots, but Pontifex once again kept the Black Sticks afloat with some steady saves.
The same pattern resumed in second period, Pontifex having to make a save in the opening minute. The end-to-end action was keeping the crowd roaring, but it is only in the 50th minute that the Belgian fans could cheer in earnest, when Tom Boon was at the conclusion of a series of quick passes in the circle to lift the ball over the Black Sticks’ goalkeeper. Belgium could have increased the score soon after on a penalty-corner but Jerome Dekeyser’s flick was not powerful enough.
New Zealand came back in the match soon after by Nicholas Wilson after a strong solitary progression on the back line, and it was back to square one for the two teams. Both teams played for the win and action was fast and furious until the end, but the defense did not flinch.
With rain starting to pour on the Riverbank Arena, New Zealand had a last chance in the final minute but Andrew Hayward’s flick hit the post and the teams had to share the points of the contest, leaving them both with one win, one draw and two losses in the standings.
For more information on NZL v BEL, click here.
Great Britain and Australia share spoils in Olympic thriller
In what was a truly fantastic advertisement for hockey, Great Britain staged a dramatic and remarkable second half comeback to hold the world’s number one ranked side Australia to a 3-3 draw at the Riverbank Arena tonight.
Goals from Jonty Clarke, Great Britain Captain Barry Middleton and James Tindall cancelled out strikes from Russell Ford (2) and Mark Knowles to send the home support into raptures and keep Great Britain level on points with Australia at the top of Pool A.
With Great Britain subsequently securing a vital point in this evening’s match, a win for the home nation in their final Pool A match against Spain at the Riverbank Arena on Tuesday will ensure that they qualify for the semi-finals.
Jason Lee, Great Britain Head Coach said, “One of the things we wanted to do at this Olympics was be entertaining and play attacking hockey. That’s how we envisaged that we might do well in this tournament and we wanted to make sure that the crowd, the British public, felt that hockey was worth watching and I think we achieved that tonight.”
“I think tonight told me everything I knew already. We have got some quality; we’ve got a bit of grit about us. It was pleasing how we came back into it and when we started to get a little foothold in the game the crowd really lifted us and we’re very thankful for that. It’s a special occasion. It really has been for the British team this Olympics.”
Australia signalled their intent as early as the second minute when a counter-attacking three man move led to the ball finding Matthew Gohdes completely unmarked at the back post. With the goal at his mercy, the 22 year-old skewed his shot wide of the target and the score remained at 0-0.
The Australians weren’t to be kept waiting much longer for the opening goal though. In the seventh minute, some clever play by Russell Ford along the bye-line enabled the forward to progress into the left hand side of the shooting circle. His shot-come-cross deflected into the goal off Great Britain and Cannock goalkeeper James Fair to give Australia the lead at 1-0.
Great Britain almost found an equaliser shortly afterwards when Beeston defender Ali Wilson picked out Jonty Clarke in space with a long range pass. The Reading forward’s sharp turn away from an Australian defender gave him the opportunity to unleash a reverse stick shot on goal, only for the ball to narrowly miss the left hand upright.
Clarke was involved in the action again in the 11th minute when he was shown a green card by the South African umpire John Wright for an illegal challenge. While the Great Britain defence were still getting back into position, Fergus Kavanagh quickly took the free hit and his pass found Ford unmarked in front of goal. The forward made no mistake in doubling Australia’s lead as he slipped the ball past Fair to make it 2-0.
Australia continued to keep Fair busy in the Great Britain goal and his triple save from three close range attempts in the 19th minute denied the Aussies from pulling away out of sight. They were determined to press forward for a third goal before the interval and chances fell to Gohdes, Glenn Turner and Matthew Butturini before Great Britain were given some respite when the half-time hooter sounded with the score remaining at 2-0.
The second half started much in the same vein and Australia made it 3-0 in the 41st minute when Mark Knowles’ low drive from the right hand side of the circle left Fair with no chance.
It would have been easy for the Great Britain players to let their heads drop at this point, but their commitment and determination were rewarded in the 47th minute. A cross from Clarke was deflected off an Australian defender past Burgers into the net to give the home side some hope at 1-3.
Six minutes later, Great Britain firmly established themselves back in the match when Jackson left a penalty corner to Loughborough Students’ Richard Smith. The defender’s set-piece strike found Great Britain Captain Barry Middleton and the East Grinstead forward diverted the ball past Burgers to make the score 2-3 in the 54th minute.
With the home crowd now roaring the players on, Great Britain had their tails up and completed a fantastic comeback in the 66th minute through Surbiton’s James Tindall. Reading midfielder Iain Mackay evaded the attention of two Australian defenders to find Tindall free in the circle and the 29 year-old forward released an unstoppable drive past the helpless Burgers to equalise at 3-3.
The packed Riverbank Arena was treated to a terrific finale as both sides pressed for a winning goal but in the end, it was a point apiece as the full-time hooter sounded on what was a match of the highest quality.
James Tindall, scorer of the equalising goal, said, “It was a bit of a slow start. We made it interesting for the crowd unfortunately but yes, it was a great comeback and it showed the great British spirit. The crowd were phenomenal tonight for both teams and the public have helped us gain a point there by pushing us on.”
Speaking after the match, Great Britain Captain Barry Middleton said, “At 3-0 it was very easy for us to drop our heads. The Aussies have shown for a few years now that once they do get ahead, they start to kill teams five, six, seven nil but we never let that happen. We believed in the first half we’d just lost a few little battles and we hadn’t played badly. We’d got through them a few times but we probably made just a few mistakes when we let them get in behind us.”
“As the game went on we built confidence within ourselves and the crowd definitely helps when they get behind you. It was just a brilliant game of hockey and both teams want to play hockey the right way. In my eyes there are different ways to play, but this is the way I feel hockey should be played and I hope people enjoyed what they saw out there today.”
Great Britain’s final Pool A match is against Spain at the Riverbank Arena on Tuesday 7 August (19.00), when a win will see them progress into the semi-finals.
Meanwhile, Great Britain women have a hugely important match against reigning Olympic champions the Netherlands tomorrow night at the Riverbank Arena (19.00).
GREAT BRITAIN 3 (0)
Jonty Clarke 47’ (F)
Barry Middleton 54’ (PC)
James Tindall 66’ (F)
AUSTRALIA 3 (2)
Russell Ford 7’ 11’ (F) (F)
Mark Knowles 41’ (F)
GREAT BRITAIN MEN’s SQUAD v AUSTRALIA
Name (Club) [Position]
James Fair (Cannock) [Goalkeeper]
Ben Hawes (Wimbledon) [Defender]
Iain Lewers (East Grinstead) [Defender]
Dan Fox (Hampstead & Westminster) [Defender]
Richard Smith (Loughborough Students) [Defender]
Ashley Jackson (East Grinstead) [Midfielder]
Harry Martin (Old Loughtonians) [Midfielder]
Glenn Kirkham (East Grinstead) [Midfielder]
James Tindall (Surbiton) [Forward
Barry Middleton (HGC (Netherlands) [Midfielder/Forward]
Iain Mackay (Reading) [Forward]
Matt Daly (Surbiton) [Forward]
Rob Moore (Surbiton) [Midfielder/Forward]
Jonty Clarke (Reading) [Forward]
Alastair Wilson (Beeston) [Defender]
Nick Catlin (Reading) [Midfielder/Forward]
Great Britain Hockey media release
Australian Mens Draw with Great Britain in Thrilling Match
Eddie Ockenden gives it his all.
Up 3-0 with 23 minutes left on the clock Australia was stunned to see Great Britain mount an extraordinary comeback to draw in front of its home crowd.
Australia 3 dw Great Britain 3
Goals: Russell Ford(AUS) FG 7m, FG 11m, Mark Knowles(AUS) FG 41m, Jonty Clarke(GB) FG 47m, Barry Middleton(GB) PC 52m James Tindall(GB) FG 66m.
Australia: Eddie Ockenden, Russell Ford, Fergus Kavanagh
Great Britain: Ashley Jackson, James Tindall, James Fair
Host nation Great Britain mounted an extraordinary comeback in front of its home crowd to salvage a 3-all draw against Australia at Riverbank Arena in London today.
Australia flew out of the blocks like Usain Bolt in the opening minutes when Victorian striker Russell Ford sent home two goals in five minutes.
The first came from a brilliant run along the baseline edging the ball past Great Britain’s keeper James Fair and the second resulted from a great ball into the circle from Tim Deavin.
Australia dominated the first 10 minutes before the Brits started to work themselves into the game and despite trailing 2-0 it wasn’t indicative of the competitive contest unfolding.
The Australian Mens started well in the second and Co-Captain Mark Knowles fired home a superb shot from the top of the circle to take his outfit to a 3-0 lead.
Great Britain refused to give in however and its high-tempo style of play continued to threaten with Ashley Jackson and James Tindall looking dangerous.
The host nation was rewarded when Jonty Clarke ran the ball along the baseline and his pass deflected off an Australian defender into goal.
The conversion lifted the crowd, which spurred the home country on and Great Britain began to win most of the 50/50 contests.
Great Britain’s persistent attacks resulted in a penalty corner and Ashley Jackson’s first drag flick was well saved by Nathan Burgers but a second short was called.
This time Captain Barry Middleton made no mistake making a brilliant diving deflection off a strike from the top of the circle and his team was back in the match
Australia saw a chance to consolidate go begging, when after earning a penalty corner they failed to convert when Great Britain was left with just four defenders in the battery after one of the runners broke.
The pressure then reverted back to the Australians and with four minutes to go James Tindall found the corner to equalise at three-all but the crowd waited with baited breath as Nathan Burgers called for the video referral.
It looked to Australia that a Great Britain striker had obstructed Burger’s ability to play the ball but the video umpire rejected the appeal and the goal stood.
Australian coach Ric Charlesworth would not be impressed with his troops squandering a 3-0 lead with 23 minutes to go in the match.
Australia can still finish on top of Pool A if it secures a win against Pakistan in tomorrow’s match LIVE at 7.35pm (AEST).
Hockey Australia media release
GB score last minute equaliser to salvage 3-3 draw against Australia in men's hockey at London 2012 Olympics
By Jessica Winch
Risky business: Ashley Jackson helps to secure a last minute comeback for Britain’s men’s hockey team Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Great Britain staged a remarkable comeback at the Riverbank Arena on Sunday night, as the men’s hockey side pulled back from a three goal deficit to play world No 1 side Australia to a draw.
The 3-3 result pegs Great Britain and Australia level at the top of the pool on eight points with one pool match left to play, in which both sides will probably need a draw to make the last four.
Head coach Jason Lee said: “One of the things we wanted to do at this Olympics was be entertaining and make attacking hockey. We wanted to make sure that the crowd felt hockey was worth watching and I think we achieved that tonight.”
Great Britain were anticipating a fast-paced game but seemed unable to keep up in the early stages of the match. The Kookaburras came straight out on the attack, with several shots at goal which went wide.
In the seventh minute Russell Ford cut in from the left and put the ball past James Fair for a quick lead. Three minutes later Ford struck again, taking advance of British confusion after Jonty Clarke was handed a green card to whisk past their defence for a 2-0 lead.
Great Britain was awarded a penalty corner in the 23rd minute but a flick from Ashley Jackson was saved by Nathan Burgers.
Great Britain looked more positive after the halftime break but Australia quickly deflated them as captain Mark Knowles scored his first goal of the Olympic tournament for a 3-0 lead.
Just as the crowd were starting to despair, Clarke put Great Britain on the scoreboard.
Great Britain were awarded a penalty corner and Burgers once again saved Jackson’s flick, but another penalty corner followed on its tail and British captain Barry Middleton deflected a ball from Richard Smith to score in the 53rd minute.
Suddenly, certain defeat had turned into a match and the home crowd roared their approval.
With four minutes left to play, James Tindall scored the equaliser. The Australian team called a desperate video referral as Great Britain supporters chanted: “It’s a goal” from the stands. The referee awarded the goal and both sides kept up the pace as the clock ticked down to the final whistle and a standing ovation for the home side.
Barry Middleton said: “At 3-0 I think it was very easy for us to drop our heads. [But] even at 3-3 we didn’t start playing for a draw, they didn’t start playing for a draw.
“It was just a brilliant game of hockey. This is the way I feel hockey should be played, I hope people enjoyed what they saw out there today.”
Britain battle to draw with Australia in thriller
LONDON: Britain fought back from 3-0 down against Australia to earn a 3-3 draw with a goal five minutes from time in a thrilling men's Olympic hockey match on Sunday that left the teams level at the top of Group A.
World hockey champions Australia, on eight points, need at least a draw on Tuesday against Pakistan, who have seven, to clinch a semi-final spot.
If Australia unexpectedly lose, Britain, who also have eight points, would need a draw versus injury-hit Spain later that day to reach the last four.
In Group B, Netherlands beat reigning champions Germany 3-1 in another action-packed game to clinch a seventh consecutive top-four Olympic finish, leaving the Germans and South Korea to fight for the second semi-final spot from the section.
Britain were stunned when Australia struck twice in the early stages, although both teams had a slew of chances.
The Australians had silenced the home crowd as early as the seventh minute when Russell Ford finished a run down the baseline by pushing the ball through keeper James Fair's legs.
Just four minutes later Ford scored again, slipping a reverse finish into the net to secure a 2-0 halftime lead.
Australia came out strongly again after the break, with captain Mark Knowles smashing the ball past Fair from the top of the circle six minutes into the second half.
However, Britain raised the tempo and scored after a dribble down the backline by Jonty Clarke, whose shot was deflected into the net by a defender's stick.
Home skipper Barry Middleton then tipped a penalty corner pass from Richard Smith over the line in the 53rd minute.
With just five minutes to go, and the 16,000 crowd in Riverside Arena on their feet, James Tindall slotted a baseline pass into the goal to earn a share of the spoils.
"It was just crazy, so open. It was just a brilliant game of hockey. Even at 3-3 neither side went for a draw," said Middleton.
Germany took the lead against the Netherlands after three minutes through Christopher Zeller's low penalty corner flick but could not hold on to their advantage.
Dutchman Bob de Voogd scooped up a rebound and fired home the second-chance shot to level in the 14th minute.
Netherlands went in front when Teun de Nooijer marked his 450th cap with his 218th goal just after the break and the momentum swung towards the Dutch.
Although the Germans fought gamely, Mink van der Weerden wrapped up a deserved victory for the Netherlands with a top-shelf penalty corner goal in the 41st minute.
The Dutch lead Group B with 12 points ahead of Germany on nine and South Korea on six. Germany need a point in their last group match to guarantee a semi-final place while South Korea must beat the Netherlands and hope the Germans lose.
The Koreans thrashed India 4-1 on Sunday leaving the record eight-time Olympic champions bottom after four straight defeats.
The Times of India
Netherlands stun world champions Germany
LONDON: The Netherlands pulled off the first major upset of the Olympic Games men's hockey competition on Sunday when they posted a 3-1 victory over defending champions Germany to surge to the top of the pool.
Netherlands posted their fourth successive victory in Pool B to move to 12 points, while Germany are on nine from four outings and South Korea have moved to six after their 4-1 victory over India.
Belgium, who will play India next on Tuesday, held New Zealand to a 1-1 draw in another Pool B match.
In Pool A, Pakistan rose to the third spot with their 5-4 win over South Africa, taking them to the third spot being Australia and Great Britain.
Netherlands rallied after conceding a third-minute lead to Germany, for whom Christopher Zellar opened the scoring with a penalty corner conversion.
The Dutch then produced an outstanding display of attacking hockey to equalise in the 14th minute through Bob de Voogd's open play strike.
Star player Teun de Noooijer then fired on target a minute after the interval to put Netherlands ahead and Mink ven der Weerden made it 3-1 in the 41st minute with a firm penalty corner shot.
The Dutch defence then kept the German strikers at bay to thwart their hopes of a comeback.
Belgium, whose points tally stands at four after the draw with New Zealand, muffed several chances in the first session before Tom Boon opened the account in the 48th minute, only to see New Zealand equalise six minutes later with Nick Wilson scoring from an acute angle.
Pakistan rode on two late goals to dash South Africa's hopes of posting their first victroy in Pool A.
An opportunistic strike by Waseem Ahmed produced Pakistan's match-winner in the 67th minute after skipper Sohail Abbas had equalised with a penalty corner shot three minutes earlier.
Pakistan now have seven points from four points, the same at 2010 World Cup winners Australia and hosts Great Britain, who clash later on Sunday.
The Times of India
Pakistan sink SA men
It seemed that the weather gods knew something before the South African men’s hockey took to the blue pitch at the Riverbank Arena yesterday.
The morning had been grey and gloomy before the clouds opened just as the South African side got their game against Pakistan under way and by the end of the game the weather reflected the mood in coach Gregg Clark’s camp as they let the game get away from them, losing 5-4.
Thornton McDade has secured an early lead for the men in Green and Gold in the second minute after being released into the circle and firing a shot under Pakistan goalkeeper Imran Shah and the South Africans dominated play for the first twenty minutes of the the half before Pakistan pulled one back through Abdul Khan.
A rocketing Justin Reid Ross drag-flick made it 2-1 in the 22nd minute but the elad was short lived as Pakistan attacked from the restart allowing Shafat Rasool to score before Khan added his second to make it 3-2 a short while later. Reid-Ross added his second to make it an even game at the halftime hooter.
The pace of the game never slowed in the second half as both sides looked to create chances.
It was the South Africans who drew first blood as Wade Paton found himself in the right place at the right time with a poor clearance from the Pakistan keeper gifting him an opportunity to get a shot into the backboard. But Pakistan, ranked eight in the world, upped the intensity even more as they pulled back with six minutes to play and then netted the winner with a little more than three minutes left to hand South Africa their third loss in four games.
Naturally there were very few reasons to smile and it was clear that the side knew they had let this one slip away.
“Obviously we’re very disappointed with that result. I thought we’d done enough to win the game. We gave away too many soft turnovers in the first half and allowed Pakistan back in the game,” said Clark afterwards.
“At this level if we’re going to do that then we’re going to have a long hard day. Too many soft errors and not good enough on our part.”
The side now need to pick themselves up for their final pool fixture against fellow strugglers Argentina who they meet tomorrow and Clark admitted that it will be hard to get the side’s confidence back up.
“I think it’ll be pretty tough, we came here with reasonably high expectations for ourselves and there were still mathematical chances,” said Clark.
It will be up to the women’s side to try and restore some pride although they have also struggled in the competition so far when they line up against the US, the world No 10.
SA hockey men edged by Pakistan
Pakistan scored twice in the last six minutes to deny South Africa their first victory of the London Olympics in their Group A men's hockey clash on Sunday.
After taking the early lead, the South Africans did well to maintain their composure, with the Pakistanis fighting back throughout the first half.
However, victory was snatched from their grasp, in the dying stages as they went down in their third loss from four games in the tournament.
Thornton McDade got the SA men off to a good start, striking in the second minute as they gained control of the encounter.
Pakistan took 18 minutes to hit back, but they eventually equalised when Shafqat Rasool broke clear and offloaded to Abdul Haseem Khan who scored to draw the sides level.
South Africa fired back two minutes later with Justin Reid-Ross scoring from a penalty corner, but moments afterwards Khan was again in the thick of things, getting the ball to Rasool who levelled the scores.
With 11 minutes left in the first half, Pakistan took the lead for the first time when Shakeel Abassi was denied by SA goalkeeper Rassie Pieterse and Khan netted his brace from the rebound.
Drag flick specialist Reid-Ross was again on form, however, as he equalised from a penalty corner on the stroke of half-time to leave the sides level at 3-3 at the break.
The South Africans regained the lead three minutes into the second period when Wade Paton pounced on a rebound off Pakistan keeper Imran Shah to hit the backboard.
They held the advantage for nearly half an hour, with defender Andrew Cronje stretching to connect his stick with a tame effort from Rasool to keep the SA men in the lead.
Pakistan, however, hit back with six minutes left, with captain Sohail Abbas firing in a penalty corner, scoring the 348th goal of his international career.
Three minutes later Waseem Ahmad buried the winner, tapping in a strike to keep Pakistan in contention for a place in the semi-finals.
Heartbreak for men’s hockey as late goals deny them
By Mark Etheridge
Two goals inside three minutes late into the match saw Pakistan come from 4-3 behind to beat South Africa 5-4 in a thrilling Group A men’s Olympic qualifier at the Riverbank Arena at London 2012 on Sunday.
The result left South Africa at the bottom of the group with one point after four matches – earned against Great Britain – and left them searching for their first victory, which they’ll hope comes against Argentina on Tuesday.
There was early success as Thornton McDade found the back of the net after with just 97 seconds on the clock as South Africa came out with intent. Andrew Cronje was shown a green card after eight minutes which broke the momentum, but despite Pakistan shading the exchanges, Rassie Pieterse was forced into a good save, before Abdul Haseem Khan equalised on the stroke of 20 minutes. A minute later though Gregg Clark’s men forced a penalty corner and from it Justin Reid-Ross scored which restored South Africa’s advantage at 2-1.
The action swung from one end to the other and Pieterse was called upon to make another save, but the scores were again level in the 23rd minute when Sharfat Rasool netted. Pakistan were now looking the more dangerous and it came as little surprise when Khan gave them a 3-2 advantage in the 25th minute.
Julian Hykes came close as South Africa created an opportunity and Tim Drumond also missed before Reid-Ross leveled matters at 3-3 from another penalty corner on the stroke of half-time.
Immediately after the resumption the Proteas had another opportunity from a penalty corner but this time Reid-Ross was denied by the defense. However, they continued to pour on the pressure and it paid off in the 38th minute when Wade Paton netted to nudge them ahead 4-3.
Pakistan poured forward looking for the equalizer and forced a string of penalty corners and desperate defending but somehow South Africa held out and inside the last 10 minutes Lloyd Norris-Jones had a chance to extend the advantage. But Pakistan roared back, forced a penalty corner – from which they scored – in the 64th minute and then broke South African hearts in the 67th minute with the winner for 5-4.
SASCOC Road to London
Pakistan edge South Africa
By Anisuddin Khan
LONDON - Defying heavy rains and a water-logged blue pitch, Pakistan came back from the edge to clinch a 5-4 verdict against South Africa in a high-scoring pool A match on Sunday to relit their hopes for a place on the medal podium after a three-minute blitz at the dying moments of the match which saw two goals that included the match equaliser and the winning goal.
Skipper Sohail Abbas converted the only penalty-corner of the team in 64th minute to make it 4-4 and experienced Waseem Ahmed capped a fine move to complete the winning margin 5-4. The rain stopped and sun broken through the rain laden clouds in second half when Pakistan fought back to record their second win and to raise their points tally in the six team pool to seven, sharing the top three position on the table with favourites Australia and Great Britain.
The win means Pakistan could hope for looking at the semi-final position but their fate hangs for reaching to take one of the two top position in the pool lay on Great Britain and Australia match that will be played later in the day and their own contest against Australia on Tuesday.
In the post match comments given to the media, former Olympian Akhtar Rasool, who is both the chief coach and the manager of the team, after praising the team’s fine performance expressed his reservations on the performance of the keeper Imran Shah. Akhtar while making his comment forgot that Imran had played under most difficult circumstances with heavy rains coming down and a heavy pitch. He is not the only person responsible for giving away four goals but the entire defence should also share the responsibility. Akhtar is too experienced hockey official to blame just one individual. The time for Pakistan is to avoid putting blames and bring the team together and plan for crucial match against Australia. The scoring honours of the match went to young Abdul Haseem Khan who did proud his well-known uncle, former Olympian and current chief hockey selector Hanif Khan, by getting two goals. He scored the first equaliser in 20th minute and scored his second and team’s third goal in 25th minute that helped Pakistan change end with honours evenly shared at half time.
Shafqat Rasool scored the second equaliser in 23rd minute. Pakistan’s four goals came from field moves and only one from penalty corner. Pakistan got four penalty corners whereas South Africa got seven penalty corners and got two goals. Justin Reid Ross converted two penalty corners in 22nd and 35th minute and Thornton Mcdade struck in the second minute and Wade Paton in the 38th minute were other goal getters for the South Africans.
The crucial match between Australia and England ended in 3-3 draw leaving the last round of the Group A sensational, as four teams are still in the contention for the semi-final place.
Elsewhere in Group B action, the Netherlands claimed the first semi-final spot in the men’s tournament with a 3-1 win over Germany.
The win guarantees the Dutch their seventh-consecutive top four finish and puts the defending Olympic champion, Germany, in peril of not cracking into the semi-finals. The Germans need to pick up at least one point in their game on Tuesday against New Zealand or hope for a Korean loss to make the playoffs.
Germany took the lead just two minutes into action on its first penalty corner chance. Christopher Zeller easily hit the mark on the chance to give the Germans the early 1-0 advantage, it would be the last that they would hold the advantage as the Dutch sparked back to life and never looked back. The lead lasted for just over 10 minutes when Bob de Voogd scooped up a rebound and fired in the second-chance shot to tie the game at one.
De Nooijer’s go-ahead goal came just moments into the second half as he was waiting by the far post for a spot on pass and gave the Dutch the 2-1 lead and the Netherlands quickly built on their lead when Weerden went top shelf on a penalty corner to open up a 3-1 lead. South Korea scored on three out of five penalty-corners to earn a comfortable win against India 4-1, leaving India dejected and still pointless. The match between Belgium and New Zealand ended in a 1-1 draw.
Group A standings
Team M W T L GF GA GD Pts
Australia 4 2 2 0 16 5 11 8
Great Britain 4 2 2 0 13 7 6 8
Pakistan 4 2 1 1 9 9 0 7
Spain 4 2 1 1 7 9 -2 7
Argentina 3 0 1 2 3 8 -5 1
South Africa 4 0 1 3 8 16 -8 1
Goals galore as Pakistan down South Africa in thriller
New Zealand and Belgium share points with 1-1 draw
By Muhammad Ali
LONDON: Pakistan outplayed fighting South Africa 5-4 in a thrilling Pool A game of the London Olympics 2012 Men’s Field Hockey Tournament at Riverbank Arena, Olympic Park here on Sunday to keep their semifinal hopes alive. Nine goals were scored in the match played under heavy rain, with the score seesawing between the two teams. It was a must-win match for Pakistan after they were defeated 4-1 by Britain on Friday. Despite tough time given by their opponents, the greenshirts did not falter and emerged victorious.
After taking the early lead, the South Africans did well to maintain their composure, with Pakistan fighting back throughout the first half. However, Pakistan scored twice in the dying moments to deny South Africa their first victory of the tournament. Abdul Haseem Khan struck twice while Sohail Abbas, Waseem Ahmad and Shafqat Rasool scored one apiece. Pakistan held Spain to a 1-1 draw in their opening match followed by a 2-0 win against Argentina. Pakistan are now equal with Britain in the table with seven points each. Australia are still the leaders of the group. Pakistan take on Australia on Tuesday (tomorrow) in their last pool game. The South Africans, who finished last at Beijing Olympics four years ago, did not have the best times in their Pool A due to 6-0 thrashing by the Australians in the opener. They drew the second match with Britain 2-2 and lost the third against Spain 3-2.
The match started on a fast pace as South Africa were not deterred by the rain coming down heavily. Thornton Mcdade opened the account after beating Pakistan keeper Imran Shah in the third minute. Pakistan tried to get away from the South African pressure, mostly with long runs by Shakeel Abbasi. But it took them 15 minutes to have their first opportunity on goal, a penalty-corner, but skipper Sohail’s low flick was coolly handled by Erasmus Pieterse in the South African goal. In the 20th minute, Haseem netted the equaliser.
A flurry of scoring suddenly ensued. South Africa regained the lead with a penalty-corner by Justin Reid-Ross, Pakistan equalised in the next breath through Shafqat before taking the lead very soon through Haseem. South Africa forced a penalty-corner with a few seconds left on the clock and Reid-Ross made no mistake to score his second penalty-corner of the match to tie the game at 3-3 going into the half-time break.
In the opening minutes of the second session, with rain still pouring down heavily and spectators fleeing the stands for cover, Wade Paton intercepted a clearance from the Pakistan goalkeeper to slam the ball in goal and put back South Africa in the lead 4-3. Pakistan pushed the South African defence on their heels during most of the period, creating some excellent chances. Shakeel had a golden opportunity when he received a cross in front of the empty goal but the ball bounced over his waiting stick. Just after, a shot by Shafqat was miraculously saved by a diving Andrew Cronje. It seemed only a matter of time for Pakistan to find the target and, with six minutes left on the clock, they earned a penalty-corner and this time Sohail slotted his flick in the top corner to tie the score at 4-4, setting up an intense finish to the match.
Finally, in the 67th minute, Waseem found the ball in a goalmouth scramble to give the lead back to Pakistan. They managed to keep it until the end to record their second win of the competition, while the South African were totally dejected to have let the win slip away from their grasp, leaving them at the bottom of Pool A with only one point.
New Zealand and Belgium split points: New Zealand and Belgium kept the crowd well entertained with end-to-end attacking hockey but could only produce one goal each in the Pool B match. Belgium were the faster in action and Kyle Pontifex in goal for New Zealand was called three times into action in the opening minutes. New Zealand managed to weather the initial storm, including on a penalty-corner, and play soon became more balanced. The same pattern resumed in second period, Pontifex having to make a save in the opening minute.
The end-to-end action was keeping the crowd roaring, but it was only in the 50th minute that the Belgian fans could cheer in earnest, when Tom Boon was at the conclusion of a series of quick passes in the circle to lift the ball over the Black Sticks’ goalkeeper. New Zealand came back in the match soon after by Nicholas Wilson after a strong solitary progression on the back line, and it was back to square one for the two teams. Both teams played for the win and action was fast and furious until the end, but the defence did not flinch. With rain starting to pour on the Riverbank Arena, New Zealand had a last chance in the final minute but Andrew Hayward’s flick hit the post and the teams had to share the points of the contest, leaving them both with one win, one draw and two losses in the standings.
The Daily Times
Pakistan edge past South Africa in thriller
Pakistan’s Abdul Haseem Khan (3th L) celebrates scoring a goal against South Africa with teammates. -Photo by Reuters
KARACHI: Pakistan beat South Africa 5-4 in an exciting encounter on Sunday at the men’s hockey tournament at the London Olympics.
Two goals from Abdul Haseem Khan, one each from Shafqat Rasool and Waseem Ahmed plus a penalty corner from captain Sohail Abbas helped the Greenshirts bounce back at the Riverbank Arena in London after the 4-1 thrashing at the hands of hosts Great Britain in their previous match.
South Africa opened the scoring early through Thornton McDade in the first minute after which Pakistan missed several chances to equalise but finally broke through the South African defense in the 19th minute as Khan netted the equaliser.
However, Justin Reid-Ross put South Africa ahead again in the 21st minute after scoring from a penalty corner. Pakistan did not have to wait long for another equaliser as Rasool scored in the 22nd minute. Just two minutes later, Pakistan were ahead after Khan scored his second goal but they could not hold on to the lead as Reid-Ross scored South Africa’s third goal from a penalty corner just before half-time.
Wade Panton put South Africa ahead in the second half when he scored in the 37th minute but again Pakistan pulled level through a penalty corner in the 63rd minute as Abbas scored his 348th goal. Ahmed scored the winning goal for Pakistan in the 66th minute.
“If our strikers play well, we’re in the game. The forwards seized the chances,” said Akhtar Rasool, chief coach of the Pakistan team.
Previously, Pakistan held Spain to a 1-1 draw in their opening match followed by a win against Argentina and a loss against Great Britain.
Australia leads the Olympic men’s hockey pool A with 7 points. Britain is currently second with 7 points and Pakistan is third with 7 points after the most recent match.
Pakistan play their next match against Australia on Tuesday, August 7.
Pakistan edge South Africa in nine-goal thriller
LONDON: Two goals in the last six minutes enabled Pakistan to post a 5-4 victory over South Africa in men's Olympic hockey on Sunday, while New Zealand were held to a 1-1 draw by Belgium.
Waseem Ahmed's field goal three minutes from the end clinched victory after captain Sohail Abbas had converted a penalty corner in the 64th minute to neutralise South Africa's lead in the Pool A contest.
The victory took Pakistan's points tally to seven from four matches.
World champions Australia and hosts Great Britain are also on seven points, but are scheduled to play their fourth preliminary league match later in the day.
Abdul Haseem Khan scored two goals for Pakistan in the encounter that saw the lead change hands frequently.
South Africa had earlier ascendency through a second-minute open play strike by Thornton McDade, but Pakistan equalised in the 20th minute on Khan's first goal.
Justin Reid-Ross converted two penalty corners (22nd and 35th minutes) for South Africa, while Shafqat Rasool (23rd) and Khan (25th) fired for Pakistan as the two teams were tied 3-3 at half time.
South Africa seized the lead again three minutes into the second half on Wade Paton's field goal and held sway until the two goal burst from Pakistan in the last six minutes.
"If our strikers play well, we're in the game. The forwards seized the chances," said Akhtar Rasool, chief coach of the Pakistan team.
Earlier, Belgium dominated the match against New Zealand, but were almost made to pay when the Black Sticks came back strongly toward the end.
Belgian goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch pulled off a series of saves and a shot from New Zealander Andrew Hayward's penalty corner rebounded off the post.
Unable to convert their domination in to goals in the first half, Belgium then went ahead in the 48th minute when Tom Boom seized a half chance.
Six minutes later, New Zealand equalised through Nick Wilson's fine field goal as he went around the goalkeeper lying on the floor to flick in from an acute angle
Belgium and New Zealand both have four points from as many matches.
They are behind Pool B leaders The Netherlands and defending champions Germany, who both have a maximum nine points from three matches.
The Times of India
Clarke disappointed after third loss
Pakistan's Waseem Ahmad (centre) in action against South Africa. REUTERS
London – South African men's hockey coach Gregg Clark was clearly frustrated after his side let victory slip through their fingers against Pakistan in their Group A clash at the London Olympic Games on Sunday.
The team came agonisingly close to recording their first victory of the Games after they led the sub-continent team 1-0 for a chunk of the first half.
After the lead changed three times in the match, Pakistan scored twice in the last six minutes to hand South Africa their third loss of the tournament as they went down 5-4 in the dying stages.
“It is obviously very disappointing. I am incredibly disappointed with that result,” Clark said.
“I thought we played well enough to win the game.
“We made a couple of really poor turnovers in the first half which let Pakistan back in the game.
“I think we had done enough in the game, moving forward, to win it, but there were too many soft errors and we were not good enough.”
Clark felt the balance in the match swung a bit in Pakistan's favour when they scored the first equaliser in the 18th minute.
“We were well and truly in control of the game,” he said.
“We were making life difficult for Pakistan to create chances.
“At that stage we gave them a soft goal and that gave them belief and I think that was the turning point.”
The South Africans regained the lead three minutes into the second period, after going into the break level at 3-3, and held the advantage for almost half an hour.
To Clark's chagrin, they allowed the Pakistanis to score two late goals and snatch victory from their grasp.
“There were small moments in the match that changed it and it generally happened in the two circles,” he said.
Clark felt the players needed to do some serious introspection after failing to fire on all cylinders throughout the Games.
“I've always protected the players or spoken them up and they are an incredible bunch of guys, but they have to have a long, hard look at the errors they've made throughout the tournament.
“A lot of the goals that we've had against us resulted from stuff that was in our control.
“I think a lot of the errors that we've made have been enforced.”
The South Africans next face Argentina, the only other team in their group without a win, on Tuesday, and Clark believed they had a tough challenge ahead of them.
“We came here with reasonably high expectations of ourselves,” he said.
“We wanted to finish as high as we could, perhaps look at the fifth and sixth playoff if we couldn't get into the semis.”
Draw for Black Sticks Men against Belgium
The Black Sticks Men have drawn 1-1 to Belgium in their fourth pool game of the Olympics at Riverbank Arena dashing any hope of making the medal rounds.
Captain Dean Couzins said that although it wasn’t the game they wanted to play he is proud of his team’s determination.
“It is frustrating when it doesn’t go as you planned. Every game is very difficult - you aren’t going to get an easy ride against anyone. The guys are working hard to fight it out, we aren’t playing at the top of our game, but we are fighting really hard to get there and I’m proud of the guys for that,” said Couzins.
Head coach Shane McLeod said his side had the skills to win, but didn’t play with their normal level of confidence.
“We didn’t fire as many shots as we would have liked. I think we have to work even harder on the mental side of the game and getting our confidence back after losing earlier games in the tournament,” said McLeod.
“Belgium played well. They have some good young players and are a team on the rise that is making an impact on the world stage. The next game against Germany is an opportunity to play one of the best teams in the world and we want to make sure that we play our very best,” says McLeod.
It was a patchy first half for the Black Sticks Men with Brad Shaw and Shea McAleese the only Kiwi’s to take a shot on goal. The score remained nil-all mainly thanks to some superb goal keeping by Kyle Pontifex - one of the stand-out players on the field.
Throughout the game the basics were not always done well by New Zealand and the consistent hassling from the Belgium team meant the Europeans held more possession for longer periods and were more threatening on attack.
In the second half, Belgium’s dominance paid off when Tom Boon scored when he was waiting for the ball on the goal line and deflected it high into the net in the 48th minute.
Wilson scored a brilliant goal from close range in the 54th minute weaving the ball through defenders and finding the space to knock it in. With the rain coming down, New Zealand’s last chance of edging ahead was when they were awarded two penalty corners in the final two minutes of the game, but although they came close they weren’t able to convert.
The Black Sticks Men play their final pool game against Germany at 8.15am on Wednesday before determining who they will take on in the play-offs.
New Zealand 1(Nick Wilson) Belgium 1 (Tom Boon). HT: 0-0
Hockey New Zealand Media release
India slump to 1-4 defeat against South Korea
LONDON: India crashed to their fourth successive defeat in the Olympic hockey competition today as they suffered a humiliating 1-4 reversal against South Korea.
India are the only team among 12 competing in these Olympic Games without a single point from five matches.
The eight-time gold medallists are now heading for their lowest-ever finish in the Olympics as they will finish at the bottom of the group and will have to play for the 11th and 12th positions.
India's defence showed some resolve to hold on grimly against the fast-paced Koreans, but it crumbled thrice on well-directed penalty corner shots.
South Korea's gameplan to exert pressure on India with fast overlapping game produced rewards as the tentative Indian defence again conceded some soft penalty corners.
Indian seemed a more coordinated unit that the previous three matches, but the their goal fell two times in the last four minutes.
The sustained pressure built by the Koreans midway through the first session was an indication of things to follow as India seemed desperate and fell back to defend their citadel, but they had no mechanism to stop Nam Hyun Woo from converting two penalty corners in the 59th and 70th minutes to shatter the Indian hopes of salvaging some pride.
South Korea took an early lead Jang Jong Hyun converted a sixth minute penalty corner by placing a rasping drag-flick just under the crossbar.
India got the equaliser in the 10th minute on a breakaway move in which Gurwinder Singh Chandi deflected in Gurbaz Singh's cross from right into the boards.
Tushar Khandkar had an opening to put India ahead four minutes later, when he picked up a diagonal ball from Dharamvir Singh inside the striking circle, but shot straight into the goalkeeper's pads.
It began raining heavily midway through the session and during this period the South Koreans pushed the Indian defence against the wall.
The Indian defence seemed shaky when South Korea broke in from the left with short passes and then forced two penalty corners in three minutes, but Jang shot wide on both occasions.
Three Indian strikers were in the circle with the ball in a counter attack in the 27th minute, but the Korean defenders covered them well and did not allow a good crack at the goal.
India earned their first penalty corner in the the 31st minute, but Sandeep Singh could not take a shot as the ball was no stopped, but Sardar Singh innovated to have a shy with a reverse hit that went wide.
Sandeep was not able to make any impression on the Korean defence even as India earned two successive penalty corners just before the breather.
The Koreans came back strongly in the second session, but the Indian defence held on grimly by crowding the circle. India had a chance to move ahead against the run of play in the 57th minute when S.V. Sunil's shot from left went across the goalmouth and Dharamvir was unable to trap the ball.
Nam scored twice with his penalty corner drag flicks, giving South a 2-1 lead in the 59th minute by placing a drag flick into the top corner of the goal.
India then came out of their shell seeking an equaliser, but a counter attack saw captain Lee Seung Il shoot home from the top of the box to put it beyond India.
But the Koreans had not finished their task and Nam came back to rub the salt into India's wounds with a low minute penalty corner flick in the last minute that sounded the boards.
The Times of India
India heading for lowest finish
India will have to reconcile to playing for positions ninth to 12th and their result against Belgium on Tuesday would be of no consequence in the Olympic men's hockey competition.
With four defeats in as many matches, the Indian can at best hope to avoid a "clean sweep" of losses when they face a confident Belgium who qualified as the fourth placed team in the European Championships. Thus, it can be said with certainty that India will be "achieving" their lowest position ever in the Olympics, the previous worst being eighth in the 1996 Games at Atlanta.
The current depressing scenario of the Indian hockey team here only serves to highlight misplaced expectations and hopes generated by all the hype and hoopla after qualifying for the Olympics in February.
On the morrow, the task before India is doubly difficult considering that Belgium, bronze medalists at the 1920 Games that they hosted in Antwerp, would be highly motivated to finish in the 5-8 bracket for the first time since 1956.
Even otherwise, India have never been comfortable playing Belgium whose man-to-man marking and a defensive posture can test the best of forwards.
Though the teams have met on many occasions in the recent times, Tuesday's clash would be only the third in the Olympics with India having won 2-1 in 1968 and 9-0 in 1928.
Belgium, coached by Aussie legend Colin Batch, seemed to have had better preparations since qualifying for the Olympics by finishing fourth in the Euro championship where they beat silver medalists at the 2008 Games, Spain, 3-2 after trailing 0-2 at half-time.
Also, Belgium beat Argentina in a three-Test series and later drew with Spain and Olympic champions Germany in a four-nation tournament.
Skipper Maxime Luycx, a veteran of over 300 internationals, has already stated that Belgium, also known as the Red Devils, are keen to make up for the debacle in Beijing where the players were distracted by the return to the Olympics after a lapse of 32 years.
For India, it would be a question of playing for their pride if nothing else, but they are currently down in the dumps morale-wise, while the Belgians can draw inspiration from their performances against Korea whom they beat 2-1 and New Zealand (1-1).
Team India coach Michael Nobbs has publicly expressed his disappointment over the performance of the senior players, but it is also indicative of the Aussie's inability to ensure the plans worked out at the team meeting are executed on the field.
Whatever, the situation for India cannot get any worse, but if they could win their remaining three games (one league and two classification), they can head back home in a better shape.
We are very upset, says S.V. Sunil
Inconsistency killing us, says Sreejesh
By Reet Oberoi
Indian team at London, it seems, as much clueless as we are as to what went wrong, and what is in store.
One thing certain is, they uniformly feel the team as such is over-awed by the occasion as big as the Olympics.
www.stick2hockey.com managed to speak to couple of them, PR Sreejesh and SV Sunil, and their view reflect the collective sense of the team.
The Indian hockey team spent close to two hours at training on Saturday, ahead of their Group B league match against Korea.
The team, who had looked promising going into the Olympic Games, now appear a disjointed unit. Planning, form, skills, everything has gone awary for the Men in Blue.
When asked, the players said the "inability to be consistent" was the biggest problem. "Absolutely no area is working for us. It is the Olympics... the biggest stage.. All of us will have to take responsibility," said forward S.V. Sunil.
"We haven't played well so far and haven't been able to do anything that we thought we could. The players are very, very upset with their show."
For India, who have only focused on attacking hockey in the last one year, the strikeline has been the biggest problem. Senior strikers Shivenrda Singh and Tushar Khandker have had poor outings, while the rest seem overawed by the big stage.
"We have been poor in the attack. We haven't utilised our chances, while our opponents have converted even half chances. Co-ordination is another problem, besides availing the penalty corners," said Sunil.
Goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh, who had a decent outing during the game against Germany before being replaced by skipper Bharat Chetri, said inconsistency was hurting the team. "No one has showed consistency in the team. Every team is out to win matches, and so are we. But we are not consistent.
"Small mistakes have cost us a lot, be it defence or forwardline. We are managing to reach the striking circle, but are unable to score field or penalty corner goals," Sreejesh said.
Successive defeats affected team's confidence, says Michael Nobbs
India's head coach Michael Nobbs admitted on Sunday that four successive defeats at London Olympics could have adversely affected the confidence of the team.
After defeats to the Netherlands, New Zealand and Germany, India went down 1-4 to Korea, a team they had had success against in the recent past.
"The performance so far has been very disappointing and unacceptable, but we need to remember that we haven't been at this level for eight years. Maybe the first three games have taken their toll on ability to believe in ourselves," the Australian told Mail Today after Sunday's defeat.
The coach was especially frustrated that his team could not capitalise on the chances they created against the Koreans before conceding three goals in the last 12 minutes.
"We played well for the first 50 minutes and let ourselves down by not taking our chances." Drag-flicker Sandeep Singh was expected to be one of India's main weapons, but the occasion seemed to have got the better of him.
"It looks like he may have succumbed to the pressure as up until this, he had an 82 per cent success rate and now some of his corners almost fail to make the goal line," Nobbs said.
Players have let India down, says coach Nobbs
LONDON: India coach Michael Nobbs apologised to the hockey fans of the country, saying the players had let the nation down with their insipid display as the team slumped to its fourth successive defeat in the Olympic competition on Sunday.
"The players have failed to perform. Call it pressure of whatever, the have let themselves, the team and the country down," Nobbs said after India's 1-4 loss to South Korea.
Today's defeat has left them at the bottom of Pool B, pushing the eight-time gold medallists to the lowest ever ranking in the Olympics.
India's previous worst show was at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, when they finished eighth.
The new rules for positional play-offs mean there will be a direct encounter between the teams of two pools who do not make the semifinals.
In effect, this means India will play for the 11th and 12th places with the bottom-paced team in the other pool.
India is the only team in the Olympic men's hockey competition not to have gained a point in four matches.
Even if India win their last pool match against Belgium, they will still finish at the bottom of the group because all other teams in the group have four of more points.
All teams have a chance to improve their positions and just one thing is confirmed yet, that India will finish at the bottom.
Coach Nobbs said the Indian hockey fans ought to be disappointed with the performance of this team, which not only failed to secure a point, but did not show the heart for a fight.
"I owe an apology to the nation and the Indian fans for letting them down," said Nobbs, apparently disgusted with the poor show put up the team that he took over 11 months ago.
"You just get one chance in a lifetime and you just cannot walk out without performing," said Nobbs.
Former Indian international Mohammed Riaz, the assistant coach, said the team missed several chances before crashing to defeat against the Koreans.
"We played a bad first half and then put up a better show in the second session, but we missed seven chances in this match," said Riaz.
Indian captain Bharat Chetri said the Indian players had repeated mistakes one match after another.
"We're making silly mistakes, out trapping the circle was poor and we missed several chances because of this," said Chetri.
"Even our penalty corners are not producing goals as Sandeep Singh and V Raghunath have been off-target. We are a young team that does not have the experience of big events like the Olympic Games," he said.
"Look at our trapping, such poor performance is not expected from the team."
South Korean player Jang Jong Hyun said the Indian players began tiring in the second half and gave them a chance to breach their defence.
"I think the Indian players were getting really tired and we could feel that so we decided to attack even harder to take advantage of their weakened position," Jan said.
The Times of India
Narinder Batra should resign for misleading nation: Ex-coach Carvalho
NEW DELHI: Former national coach Joaquim Carvalho on Monday asked Hockey India official Narinder Batra to quit his post for misleading the nation and vindictively keeping players, who took part in the rebel World Series Hockey, out of Olympic Games team selection.
"I want Batra to resign as he misled the nation over the participation of WSH players in the Olympics saying they would not be allowed by FIH (International Hockey Federation). Then how are some Pakistan players who were seen in WSH, like Rehan Butt, taking part in the London Games," Carvalho told PTI from Mumbai.
Carvalho's tirade came a day after India lost its fourth straight game in Group B to fellow Asian outfit South Korea and will now have to fight to avoid the wooden spoon in the 12-team tournament in the minor placings match.
Carvalho, a top half back in his playing days and a member of the 1984 Olympic Games team, also asked Batra to resign from his HI post for his "vindictive" move to keep out WSH players from selection of the Indian squad for the London Olympics.
"When the Indian team did not qualify for the Beijing Games in 2008 through the qualifiers in Santiago, Chile, Batra was among the first to ask for my head as coach. Now I say, he should resign for misleading the nation over the WSH players issue. He was vindictive towards WSH players.
"WSH players like Arjun Halappa, Prabhjot Singh and Rajpal Singh have still something left in them to be part of the Indian team. Why were they not considered for selection. Olympic Games is not kid's party, the pressure is huge right from the time you check into the Games Village. I say it from experience," said Carvalho.
Carvalho said the very fact that some of the top Pakistan players like Butt, Wasim Ahmad and Shakeel Abbasi, are now representing their country in the Games after paying a fine to their federation for playing in the WSH, showed that Halappa, Prabhjot and Rajpal should have been considered.
"FIH had said that those players who had signed up for WSH before March 31, 2011, can play for their countries and it's obvious they have stuck to this stand," said the outspoken Carvalho.
Carvalho also slammed penalty corner expert Sandeep Singh for his flop show at the Olympics and said his decision to leave out the drag-flicker during his reign as coach has now been vindicated.
"He has performed miserably. He is capable of scoring goals only against the weaker teams. He had scored 16 goals in the qualifiers. He has been a total flop. I had dropped him when I was coach and there was a hue and cry," said the former half back.
Sandeep has scored only one goal, against New Zealand, via his dreaded penalty corner drag-flicks at the Olympics and his failure to find the mark has hurt the Indian campaign.
Carvalho also backed Indian coach Michael Nobbs's views that the Indian players appeared happy to have made it to the Games after missing the Beijing Olympics four years ago, the first-ever time the country failed to appear at the mega event since 1928.
"It appeared that way, they were happy to have qualified for the Olympics," said Carvalho.
Incidentally, some players like Shivendra Singh and Tushar Khandekar were playing their first Olympics though they have been on the scene for a long time.
Carvalho was also full of praise for the performance of Pakistan who are in the hunt for the semifinals.
"Pakistan have always troubled Australia. Even in 1984 when Australia and we were the top two seeds in Los Angeles, it was Pakistan who spoilt Australia's gold medal hopes by beating them in the semis and then went on to win the title. This happened after they were nearly knocked out of the league stage after drawing with a weak team like Kenya," the former international recalled.
The Times of India
Day 9 Olympic Preview...GB v Netherlands
Olympics 2012 GB women celebrating
Great Britain’s final Pool A match is against the world’s number 1 ranked side, the Netherlands.
Fixture: Great Britain v Netherlands
Date and time: 6th August - 19.00
Location: Riverbank Arena
Watch live on the BBC: Olympics 10(red button for Sky, Virgin and Freesat)
Great Britain #4
Head to head record
Goals for: 37
Goals against: 82
GB has faced the Netherlands 36 times but has only ever won 7 of these matches. GB’s last victory against the Dutch was in 2008 where they won 3 – 2. In their latest meeting at the Champions Trophy in Rosario in January 2012, it finished 2 – 2 with Crista Cullen netting twice from penalty corners. The two teams last faced each other at an Olympic Games in Atlanta 1996, which unfortunately saw the Netherlands knock GB out on penalty flicks (4 – 3).
Key to Great Britain’s progress to the semi-final will be the inspirational presence of captain Kate Walsh, while the home side will look to the likes of Alex Danson and Helen Richardson to provide the creativity and unlock the Dutch defence. With a vociferous support behind them at the Riverbank Arena, Great Britain will be confident of securing the result they need to reach the semi-finals.
Netherlands, the current Olympic champions are still on course for defending their title having already qualified for the semi-finals. Captain Maartje Paumen, the current World Player of the Year, lifted the London Investec Cup in May and will be hopeful of adding more silverware to the trophy cabinet by taking Gold in London 2012.
Player to watch: Great Britain
Midfield maestro Helen Richardson is one of the most experienced members of the GB team, entering her third Olympics. She is recognised at world level as one ofOlympics 2012 Helen Richardson the best in the business - shortlisted for the World Player of the Year Award in 2010, Helen has been named in the International Hockey Federation’s World All Stars Team three times - 2009, 2010 and 2011. She was part of the team that won silver in the 2012 Champions Trophy, scoring twice in the tournament and she cites her greatest moment in hockey as winning bronze at the 2010 World Cup in Argentina. When she played at the 2000 Olympic Games, she was the youngest British woman to represent GB in hockey at an Olympics.
Players to watch: Netherlands
We asked the GB team who they considered the players to watch are
Name: Maartje Paumen
Position: Defensive midfield
Paumen’s presence and awareness on the hockey field is exceptional – she is able to distribute play effectively with stunning passes but is also capable of breaking down the attacks of the opposing team. Named as the 2011 FIH Player of the Year, she is considered one of the best penalty corner strikers in the world.
Netherlands Kim Lammers
Name: Kim Lammers
Not only does Lammers movement upfront create many problems for defenders, but also her superb finishing ability. She is an experienced player who was part of the Dutch squad that became World Champions at the 2006 Hockey World Cup.
Regulation and Pool Phase Outcome
The pool stages are often a very tight affair and it is not uncommon for a number of teams to finish on the same amount of points. Great Britain go into the match against the Netherlands knowing that if China beat Japan, they will require a win or draw at least against the reigning Olympic champions to progress. Should Great Britain and China finish level on points in Pool A, here's how it is decided as to who will progress to the semi-finals:
a. If at the end of the pool matches two or more teams have the same number of points for any place in a pool, these teams will be ranked according to their respective number of matches won.
b. If there remains equality among two or more teams, then these teams will be ranked according to their respective goal difference. A positive goal difference always takes precedence over a negative one.
c. If there still remains equality among two or more teams, then these teams will be ranked according to their respective number of ”goals for”’.
d. Should there still remain equality among two teams, then the result of the match played between those teams will determine the ranking of the tied teams.
There are a further six regulations that are used to decipher the two semi-finalists in the unlikely event that there are still teams tied.
Great Britain Hockey media release
Black Sticks lining up shot at history
By Dylan Cleaver
New Zealand beat USA with a late Clarissa Eshuis goal. Photo / Brett Phibbs
The Black Sticks are poised on the edge of history.
A draw or win against Germany tonight and they become the first New Zealand women's team to compete in the semifinals of an Olympic tournament. One small problem: when they met Germany last month, the Europeans put five goals past them and dealt out what New Zealand coach Mark Hager described as a hockey lesson.
Hager said they would take a nothing-to-lose attitude into the match, even though it is almost the opposite in terms of ramifications.
"We've never beaten Germany at a major tournament," he said. "But that's the good thing about this team. They've [achieved] a lot of firsts over the last four years.
"They gave us a 5-1 flogging that night. They're very disciplined and structured and we have to make sure we're the same against them."
New Zealand beat USA with a late Clarissa Eshuis goal after squandering more chances than they would care to count. The Black Sticks made 31 circle penetrations to the USA's eight, got 15 shots on target and a load more that didn't come within cooee.
According to the official stats, the USA had two shots on target and scored both.
"We should have had the game won at halftime, we had enough opportunities," said coach Mark Hager. "But that's the nature of the game."
New Zealand are now equal top of Pool B on nine points, along with Australia and Argentina. When they meet Germany tonight, their destiny is in their hands.
Win and they go through, draw and they go through, lose and they'd need enormous good fortune.
What they need is better finishing. New Zealand have used their speed to great effect at this tournament, but too often that speed has come with wobbles - usually when it comes to applying the finishing touches in front of goal.
"I'm really pleased they're in the right position," Hager said. "We've got to have better shot selection. Creating chances is the No1 priority."
They also have a new-found discipline issue to work with. Against the USA, New Zealand spent a large chunk of the match reduced to 10. Cathryn Finlayson and Eshuis received green cards and Stacey Michelsen, not a noted rogue, two yellow cards from Argentine umpire Caroline de la Fuente, although both seemed harsh.
"Obviously two yellow cards in a match is not something you want to do to your team," she said. "The first one my stick just got caught between her legs, but the umpire must have seen something different. The second one? I'm not even sure."
Hager said the issue could have been one of "overexcitement" on behalf of the umpires, who were enjoying the Olympics as much as the players.
The New Zealand Herald
US faces South Africa in final preliminary match
LONDON – The U.S. will face South Africa in the final match of the preliminary rounds at 10:45 a.m. on Monday, August 6, at Riverbank Arena in London’s Olympic Park. The match will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network and NBCOlympics.com at 5:45 a.m. ET.
The U.S. had had high hopes of contending for a medal in London, but their Olympic dream was shattered Saturday night, when New Zealand walked away with a 3-2 victory.
South Africa is ranked No. 12 in the world and considered the underdogs of Pool B. They have struggled to secure a victory in the preliminary rounds and with a record of 0-0-4 are ranked last in their pool. South African striker Piete Coetzee holds the women’s hockey world record for goals, with more than 230 in her illustrious career and will be a scoring threat for the U.S. tomorrow. Both teams will be looking to finish their Olympic campaign on a high note.
Argentina, Australia and New Zealand are even with nine points apiece in Pool B, tallying three wins and one loss. However, Argentina leads the pool on goal differential, after recording a total of ten goals during a dominating performance over South Africa and Germany.
The Netherlands lead Pool A with twelve points, followed by Great Britain and China. The teams advancing to the semi-finals will be solidified tomorrow after the conclusion of pool play.
Monday, August 6 preliminary competitions:
Germany vs New Zealand
Pool B – 8:30 a.m.
South Africa vs USA ** Live on NBC Sports Network
Pool B – 10:45 a.m.
China vs Japan
Pool A – 1:45 p.m.
Belgium vs Korea
Pool A – 4:00 p.m.
Netherlands vs Great Britain
Pool A – 7:30 p.m.
Australia vs Argentina
Pool B – 9:15 p.m.
USFHA media release
A Semi Finals Berth on the Line for Australian Women
AUSTRALIA V ARGENTINA
Game: Tuesday August 7, 6.15 am (AEST)
Foxtel: LIVE on Channel 185 at 6:05am August 7
Players to watch: Jodie Schulz, Anna Flanagan, Toni Cronk
The Australia's Women's Hockey Team take on World number two, Argentina, in a match which will decide who will secure a semi-finals berth.
A win against the South American's will secure the Hockeyroos their first semi-finals appearance at an Olympic Games since Sydney 2000.
A drawn match will result in Australia and Argentina remaining on equal points, with Argentina ahead on goal difference by 5 goals. New Zealand currently sit on equal points with Australia and Argentina, and thus only a New Zealand loss to Germany in their final pool match will guarantee Australia direct access to the semi’s.
The last time the two teams met, in March 2012, Argentina defeated Australia 1-0 in a three-match test series in Perth, Western Australia. Australia fought out a nil-all draw and a 2-all draw, before succumbing to the hockey powerhouse 1-2 in the final match.
Australia will be looking for another blistering performance from star goalkeeper Toni Cronk, as well as defending duo and drag flick specialists, Jodie Schulz and Anna Flanagan.
Hockey Australia media release
'Miraculous' return for GB Captain Kate Walsh
Great Britain captain Kate Walsh leads her side out against China at Olympic Games London 2012
Kate Walsh proudly led her team out against China last night at the Riverbank Arena. Following the game GB Hockey's captain fantastic gave us an exclusive insight into what happened,
“I knew straight away [I’d broken my jaw]. You know how I play, I put my head in some silly positions. Sometimes you’re going to get hit and it’s my own fault."
"The surgeon, Simon Holmes, was very positive and so I had my faith in him. He said ‘well I’m going to do my job and you've got to get back and do yours’ and that’s what I’ve done. He did exactly what he said and now I’m back fighting with everybody else to get what we want out of this group and out of this tournament.”
“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind to be honest. I was in hospital and had the operation on Monday morning and came out Wednesday and managed to do a little bit of training on Thursday and Friday to make sure I was fit for the game. The hospital (the Royal London Hospital) have been amazing and the team have been amazing just focusing on the job in hand. I was keen that I didn’t want to be a distraction at all.”
Great Britain Hockey media release
Play Asian-style hockey to control Australia: Islah
“If Pakistan play their Asian-style, attacking hockey and match Australia’s fast pace, they can even slow them down to control the match and turn it in their favour.” -Photo by AFP
KARACHI: Pakistan had to win against lowly-ranked South Africa to stay in the race for the semi-finals and did well to gain three more points in their group, says former captain Islahuddin Siddiqui.
Speaking to Dawn from London after the Green-shirts’ fourth group match, in which they edged past South Africa 5-4, the Olympian said that the game was the most high-scoring hockey match in the 2012 Games so far.
“It was a fast-paced match where South Africa took the lead thrice and Pakistan restored parity all three times. And when Pakistan got ahead, South Africa also equalised. It was good that we scored our fifth goal right at the end when the opponents didn’t have time to equalise again.
“Otherwise, from the pace of the match, it could have gone either way. And it would have been a shame for Pakistan, who are ranked eighth in the world to lose to a team that is ranked 12th,” the former national coach commented.
“The good thing for Pakistan was that the forwards, midfielders and defenders scored with three in the winners’ tally scored coming through the forwards, one by a midfielder and another by a defender on a penalty-corner.
“But then we also missed where we weren’t supposed to, like when Shakeel Abbasi failed to take advantage of Waqas Sharif’s pass right in front of the goal. It is a miracle that Pakistan came out victorious after missing such a great chance.
“But then South Africa, too, had some three to four open-net misses,” he said.
“Pakistan have to control poor stopping and cover the crossing of the forward line, both towards the right and left, as the forwards just aren’t there on time to connect.
“Then out of the four penalty-corners that we got, we were only able to covert one. Meanwhile, South Africa got three and scored on two,” he added.
Lamenting Pakistan’s choice of goalkeeper, the senior Olympian said that Imran Shah helped Pakistan concede another four goals on Sunday.
“Going into the competition with one goalkeeper will remain a major blunder as Imran makes one mistake after another but cannot be replaced for there being no option. One of South Africa’s goals happened when Imran cleared the ball and their
forward stopped it to send it right in again.
“When a goalkeeper clears the ball, he is to send it sideways, left or right, but Imran was technically wrong in pushing it out at 90 degrees where the forward was ready to score on rebound,” Islah pointed out.
“Now Pakistan have to win their last group match with Australia to reach the semi-finals. In case of a draw, the matter of moving
into the last four will depend on the goals scored by the teams,” he said.
Saying so, he wished the team well while pointing out that Australia is known to play open and attacking hockey.
“That kind of open style allows both sides to score. If Pakistan play their Asian-style, attacking hockey and match Australia’s fast pace, they can even slow them down to control the match and turn it in their favour,” he concluded.
Pakistan play their final group match against Australia on Tuesday.
Victory against Australia only way to enter last four
By Mohsin Ali
ISLAMABAD - M Waseem's goal saved green shirts blushes and brought them back into contention from the brink of elimination in the all-important match against minnows South Africa.
Pakistan maintained their reputation of conceding early goals in the match as they were 1-0 down in just one minute and 20 seconds of the match. Their defence needs improvement and clear-cut strategy to mark the rival players. They have to overcome their mistakes to beat defending champion Australia in their last group match as defeat will end the green shirts hopes of making to the semi-final.
Pakistan forwards put up a brave show and for the first time in the entire event, they created numerous chances and posed serious threats to South African defence. Pakistan team management should take notice of poor goalkeeping as Imran Shah's reflections and anticipation were slow and poor in the last four matches and needs coordination with defenders to keep green shirts on track.
Pakistan had so far conceded nine goals and also scored nine as well in the four matches so the percentage of conceding goals is alarming because of lack of coordination among the defenders and goalie. Coach Akhtar Rasool should try to address the flaws as the match against Australia will be a daunting challenge for the defenders and especially for the goalkeeper. Haseem Khan's brace and a goal apiece from Sohail Abbas, Shafqat Rasool and the all-important from veteran full back M Waseem had managed to save the day for Pakistan and the expectations of the nation reached at new level. Now they are sensing the team can go on further and even win the gold after a hard wait of 28 years.
Australia on paper is a strong side, but not invincible as Argentina had managed to play a 2-2 draw against them while Pakistan is more than capable of taking one step further by beating them. The players had got the potential and hunger but they have to fully focus on the task ahead and play their natural attacking game.
Sohail once feared for his lethal short corners hitter but is not producing the wonders and needs to score more goals by slightly changing his style, as team’s had worked hard on his style of taking plenty corners.
If Pakistan play out a draw against Australia then they had to rely on Spain to beat England and worst come worst if green shirts lose the match then their Olympic dream will be over without any silverware.
Wheelchair hockey players have Paralympics dream
Suffering from several diseases, including muscular dystrophy, Michelle Donnelly still hopes to compete in the 2016 Paralympics. (CBC)
It's like the NHL playoffs for power wheelchair hockey players this weekend, as Ottawa hosts the North American championships for the disabled.
The championships started Friday and will windup on Monday at the University of Ottawa, with eight teams competing.
Participating means a lot to people with disabilities, who nevertheless, have a competitive streak. They even hope to have it declared a demonstration sport in the 2016 Paralympics.
"That's the goal, because these guys and girls are playing just as hard as a lot of the athletes in the Paralympics, and we would love to see them competing for their country,” said John-David Robb, coach of the Ottawa Capitals team.
One player on the Capitals, Michelle Donnelly, 29, is visually impaired, has muscular dystrophy and a number of other illnesses. But, she said, her competitive spirit is still there.
"I grew up in a family that was very active in sports. My mother won championships in lacrosse, and I felt like I didn't measure up. And then I found power chair hockey, and I made the championships.
“I can actually win tournaments, I can be competitive,” Donnelly said.
Robb agrees that the team is extremely competitive.
"Every year, we get just blown away by the level of competitors and how serious they take it,” Robb said.
There are problems to be solved before the league can be allowed into the Paralympics. North American teams play according to rules that resemble those of the NHL hockey. Here, loft shots for example are allowed, while in Europe they're not.
So, the goal is to meet halfway on the rules, find middle ground for defining the sport's regulations.
"It’s going to be a long road to get something done," said Matt Wimmergren, of the Minnesota Saints.
"We think hockey is a fun game, and we want to replicate that, and that what it's all about," he said.
"[The Paralympics in] 2016 would be great especially for a lot of our athletes, because they are dealing with [a] time limit,” Robb said.
"I was always told I would never see 30, and I'll be turning 30 this year."
While she may not get to fulfill her Paralympics dreams, Donnely hopes other may be able to do that. For now, she plays the game to appreciate the experience.
“It opened up the world to me," Donnelly said.
"It gave me a chance to make friends and meet people from across the country, and make friendships that I never thought were possible.”
Unlucky loss to Poland in Poznan
POLAND 3 SCOTLAND 2 (MEN)
Scotland went down 3-2 to host Poland in Poznan today in the build-up for the first round of the World League next month.
Poland were two ahead at the interval, and Scotland`s only real chance fell to Gavin Byers but the Grove Menzieshill player was too deliberate and the opportunity vanished.
Three minutes in the second half a good run by Ian Moodie set the chance up for Iain Scholefield who ran 40 yards to pick up the pass and nudge the ball home. The Scots then entered a 15 minute spell when they totally dominated proceedings and the Poles were forced to hang on to their 2-1 lead. During this time chances fell to new cap Fraser Hirst and Fergus Dunn, but in 61 minutes the Scots conceded a dubious penalty corner when the ball appeared to hit the hand of Russell Anderson while it was on the stick, the Poles took advantage and went into a 3-1 lead.
The Scots pulled one back with seven minutes remaining, Bain set up the penalty corner and a Dan Coultas strike flew low past the Polish goalkeeper. The Scots pressed for the equaliser in the final few minutes, the best chance fell to Coultas at another set piece but his effort was blocked by the goalkeeper.
"We were very unlucky to lose, there were lots of good team and individual performances, especially Willie Marshall in defence," said Eugene Connolly, Scotland`s manager.
Scottish Hockey Union media release
Europe tour to kickstart World Cup campaign
THE first phase of Junior World Cup training will start next week when coach K. Dharmaraj takes his charges on an European Tour.
Dharmaraj's players proved themselves by winning the Junior Asia Cup and qualifying for next year's Junior World Cup in India.
"We will be travelling to Europe on Wednesday. I will include five new players to play in friendly matches against top sides there," said Dharmaraj.
The first stop will be Valencia, Spain, where they will play two matches against Spain juniors, two against France juniors, two against Belgium juniors, and one against a Netherlands Division One side.
After that, they depart for Poland where two matches will be played against the Polish juniors and then the seniors.
The coach will leave behind established players Firhan Ashaari and Fitri Saari who opted out for a rest, and include five players picked from the recent Malaysia Games in Kuantan.
The five are Safeed Roslan, Azwar Rahman, Sobirin Ilias, Najib Abu Hassan and Meor Azuan.
Firhan and Fitri, who played in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh in May, had requested to be left out of the tour as they needed a break.
"The two played almost non-stop since last year's Sultan of Johor Cup so I agreed to give them a break as it will also give me the chance to field new players in Europe," said Dharmaraj.
The squad: Hazrul Faiz, Hafizuddin Othman, Faiz Helmi, Shahzrul Imran, Rashid Baharom, Kavin Kartik, Azri Hassan, Hafiz Zainol, Aslam Hanafiah, Shahzril Irwan, Fariq Saadon, Syamim Yusof, Izad Hakimi, Zulhairi Hashim, Safeed Roslan, Azwar Rahman, Sobirin Ilias, Najib Hassan, Meor Azuan,
New Straits Times