All the news for Friday 10 August - Women's Olympic Finals day
London 2012 Olympic Games - Hockey Competition Results
Thursday 9 August 2012
Classification Time Match Result
9/10 08:30 Argentina vs. New Zealand 1-3
7/8 11:30 Pakistan vs. Korea 3-2
SF 15.30 Australia vs. Germany 4-2
SF 20:00 Netherlands vs. Great Britain 9-2
Germany stun Australia with top final quarter display
Witthaus, Wess and Fuchs condemn Kookaburras to bronze medal match
2012 Olympic Games (men), London (Photo: Frank Uijlenbroek)
Australia vs Germany 2-4 (half-time: 1-1)
Germany produced a scintillating second half display to fully merit their Olympic men's final berth, finding their most fluid hockey of the tournament to gain a modicum of revenge on Australia. Trailing 2-1 after 43 minutes, Germany bossed Australia in a manner unseen in the tournament to date with Matthias Witthaus, Timo Wess and Florian Fuchs picking off a trio of delightfully crafted goals.
Pre-match, the European side came in with plenty of scores to settle, chief among them the 2010 World Cup final defeat and they appeared to initially cope well with the Aussies’ forceful, high press. Christopher Zeller looked in the mood. His powerful run left Joel Carroll in his wake while Kieran Govers and Matthew Swann also attempt to stall his run.
It sent the striker sprawling with a corner initially given before the video review confirmed the foul took place outside the circle. But he was the first to have a drag at goal as friendly fire clattered Matthew Butturini’s foot. Nathan Burgers stopped it well, clipping it away from the in-rushing Matthias Witthaus. The kookaburras hit the front, however, in the 22nd minute off the back of Glenn Turner’s brilliant incision. His thumping shot bounced up off Weinhold but Hamish Jamson held his whistle well and Govers walloped the ball through the German goalkeeper’s legs as he scrambled to try and block.
Sweet Eddie Ockenden and Jamie Dwyer touches almost yielded a second but Weinhold saved from Chris Ciriello – playing his 100thinternational – as well as from Govers from corners. Sandwiched between those efforts was the equaliser, Moritz Furste nailing a low corner bullet in the 26th minute, a goal that ensured parity at the half-time break. It was a pulsating battle, played at an incredible tempo throughout and this manner continued into the second half.
Glenn Turner restored the lead in the 43rd minute as a right-wing cross got hammed in Weinhold’s pads, Turner fished it out for Ockenden to slap back into the mix and the striker duly gobbled up his fourth of the campaign. The response, though, was immaculate. Oskar Deecke was denied one of the goals of the tournament by mere centimetres on a video referral when Oskar Deecke’s lob was controlled at waist-high and popped up and over Nathan Burgers’ shoulder without hitting the deck. His third touch was the one that denied the breath-taking moment, connecting just over shoulder height.
His side were level when Matthias Witthaus swept home from the right as Tobias Hauke’s pint-point pass in the 54th minute, rewarding a period of encampment in Aussie territory. And when a video referral worked in their favour to win a corner four minutes later, Timo Wess pushed home his first goal of the tournament off the back of Zeller’s spin-switch.
Then, the crowing glory. Australia, behind in a game for the first time in the tournament, pressed for an equaliser but could only find a brick wall of defenders. Hauke dispossessed them on his own penalty spot, starting a 90 metre move that set Benjamin Wess free on the left. Florian Fuchs hared forward the length of the pitch to slide onto his cross and win it with seven minutes to go.
For more information on AUS vs GER, click here
Note: As a coach this is Australian Coach Ric Charlesworths first loss at Olympic level competition whilst coach Australian teams. He has only suffered two losses at World Cup level, his first game with the Hockeyroos against Russia in Dublin 1994 and his first game with the Kookaburras against England in Delhi 2010.
The Netherlands dominate Great Britain to stun the Riverbank
Dutch inflict equal-heaviest defeat on GB in Olympic history
2012 Olympic Games (men), London (Photo: Frank Uijlenbroek)
The Netherlands handed Great Britain one of the most painful defeats in recent memory, as they were thoroughly out-gunned in front of their home support. It was a breath-taking display as the interplay of Roderick Weusthof, Teun de Nooijer, Valentin Verga and Floris Evers was too hot to handle.
Billy Bakker and Weusthof were the chief profiteers, claiming a hat-trick each, while they also ran up four penalty corners from their five attempts. It was the biggest Olympic semi-final victory since India beat France 10-0 in 1936 and equalled GB’s biggest ever margin of defeat in the Olympic Games. It took little time to get into the action with Bakker and Kemperman firing pot shots inside the first three minutes.
Klaas Vermeulen was carried off with a nasty looking shoulder injury soon after before the Dutch hit the front in the seventh minute. Kemperman found a foot just ahead of de Nooijer who looked certain to score but Weusthof duly potted the corner. He got his and the Netherlands’ second from an off-kilter corner which was not stopped cleanly but was worked back to the striker who was unmarked and he slammed home off James Fair’s instep.
Ashley Jackson’s brilliant low drag-flick roused the crowd in the 19th minute and Barry Middleton’s touch to Matt Daly’s ball shaved the bar. But it was brief respite as the Dutch had the two-goal margin restored by Mink van der Weerden’s seventh goal in six games, another corner. And the fourth was hammer blow just before half-time. It was an intricate beauty of a goal as Verga took a free quickly on half-way and, via close-range passes in the circle between Weusthof and Rogier Hofman, Bakker walked in the ball.
Britain enjoyed their best spell just after the break, having two corners charged down by Hofman, Daly thrashed an effort wide and James Tindall was set clear. His composure was off, though, and could only find a Dutch stick. By contrast, the orange-shirts were calmness personified as Weusthof and de Nooijer waltzed down the baseline to lay up another Bakker goal that well and truly killed off the tie in the 45th minute, 5-1.
Bob de Voogd’s drive through Fair was tipped in by de Nooijer, Floris Evers got in on the act a minute later. Bakker bashed another in with 19 minutes to go and Weusthof’s third closed off their scoring before Rob Moore pulled one back with a nice tip-in to Glen Kirkham’s cross.
Paul van Ass was left with two major worries though as Vermuelen looks to have broken his collar bone while van der Weerden was taken to hospital for a scan on a foot injury. The Dutch will play Germany in the final while Great Britain will meet Australia for bronze.
For more information on NED vs GBR, click here
Pakistan charges back from two deficits to take seventh place
Black Sticks early strikes lead the way to ninth place in London
2012 Olympic Games (men), London (Photo: Grant Treeby)
Pakistan vs. Korea: 3-2 (half-time: 1-2)
In Sohail Abbas’ 350th international match, Pakistan found their form in the second half ending their London campaign with a narrow victory over continental rivals Korea.
A Muhammad Imran penalty corner launch with nine minutes to play gave Pakistan their first and only scoreline advantage of the match.
The first half yielded circle penetrations for both teams, Shafqat Rasool found himself on the receiving end of a liberating pass from Muhammad Rizwan Sr, but he seemed to close his own angle to goal allowing Myung Ho Lee to block with ease.
Korea attacking from both endlines with Sung Hoon Yoon and Nam Yong Lee faced a blockade of green shirts that brought on a series of crosses that were only slightly more effective.
With five to play in the half, an attack through the middle found Hye Sung Hyun open for an easy touch at the right post giving Korea short lived lead. Muhammad Waqas replied emphatically within a minute with a resounding strike. Korea would not be denied their half time advantage as another Hyun tally at the end of a scramble survived a Pakistan team referral.
Pakistan held the advantage in the second half, Abdul Haseem Khan finding his own rebound off of Lee and calmly lifted the equalizer over the prone keeper. Korea pressed forward but was unable to find space in the crowded attacking quarter.
Imran’s winner came just after a similar drag flick from Sohail Abbas temporarily injured Lee in the Korean goal and perhaps limited his mobility on the decisive strike.
Pakistan leaves London with a seventh place finish and the consolation of being the highest ranked Asian team in the competition.
Argentina vs. New Zealand: 1-3 (half-time: 0-3)
A methodical performance by the Black Sticks highlighted by strong midfield and sharp finishing provided a comfortable ninth place finish over a slow starting Argentinian team.
While Argentina briefly controlled the opening minutes an errant free hit by Manuel Brunet was delivered into the circle by Simon Child for the awaiting Stephen Jenness to deflect past Jan Manuel Vivaldi for the first tally.
Matias Parades on the receiving end of a skillful give and go had his reverse bat find the side mesh, to cap a sequence of Argentina efforts that were a step short.
New Zealand extended twice, first with an immense corner flick by Richard Petherick and then quick reverse blast by Nicholas Wilson. Argentina finished the half with nine players having both Lucas Rossi and Matias Vila serving suspensions, personifying the overall team frustration.
Argentina was eager to start the second half but their chances were either lacking or rebuked. Kyle Pontifex stretching to make a penalty corner save on Peillat and then inducing the same to flick over the bar on his subsequent effort.
With eleven to play Pedro Ibarra solved the puzzle with a low PC drag, however the Argentine ascendency was initiated too late. New Zealand confidently absorbed the late charge to finish their campaign with a victory.
Classy Dutch defeat Great Britain in Olympic Semi final
A superb semi-final performance from the Netherlands denied Great Britain reaching their first Olympic final since 1988 as they defeated the home nation 9-2 at the Riverbank Arena tonight.
Hat-tricks from Billy Bakker and Roderick Weusthof, plus goals from Mink van der Weedan, Tuen de Nooijer and Dutch captain Floris Evers capped a fantastic display from the world’s number three side. Ashley Jackson and Rob Moore scored Great Britain’s goals.
Great Britain now play Australia in the Bronze Medal match on Saturday afternoon, while the Netherlands are rewarded with a final contest against their close rivals Germany.
Commenting on the game, Great Britain Head Coach Jason Lee said, “The Netherlands made the pitch very big for us. We had lots of one v one battles early on and we lost a lot of them. I think we were a little bit slack for a few of the goals but when it got to 4-1 our intention was to try and get back into the game so we kept on trying to attack and that’s what opened us up. We probably got reckless far too early and that’s why the result went away. The upsetting thing is we completely lost our game halfway through the second half and the match was gone.”
“I think at 3-1 we had a chance, at 4-1 we still had a chance but we just let a couple of sloppy goals in because we were trying to get back into the game. There’s no other way. We could have just shut it down, kept it at three or four one and it would have been a less embarrassing result but it wouldn’t have been what we said we were going to be about. Lots of goals get scored in international hockey. We didn’t perform how we aimed to perform but we did aim to win and that’s why we got so exposed.”
“Seven years ago we were ranked 11th in the world and we had ambitions to progress up the medal table. To my knowledge, I think the Netherlands have only missed one major semi-final in the last 30 years and this is only our third semi-final in that time. It [the semi-final] had a lot of risk associated with it. I had said before we could finish first or ninth because we were willing to take that risk.”
The opening minutes of the game provided half chances for both sides. The Netherlands had their first chance at goal when East Grinstead’s Iain Lewers found himself out-numbered with two Dutch players in the circle, but a great tackle from Wimbledon’s Ben Hawes saw the danger cleared.
Hawes then took the ball up the other end and made a darting run into the circle, but his shot in the end was an easy save for Dutch goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann.
The deadlock was broken after nine minutes when RobbertKemperman found Surbiton forward Matt Daly’s foot in the circle to win his side their first penalty corner. The shot from Roderick Weusthof was a sign of things to come as the ball went at a blistering pace past Cannock’s James Fair and East Grinstead’s Barry Middleton on the line into the top right hand corner.
Great Britain tried to push forward, but rarely found themselves in the attacking third thanks to some tireless pressing from the Netherlands who were playing the ball around with ease. After 15 minutes the Netherlands won their second penalty corner and scored their second goal. The initial ball was mis-trapped, but the Dutch players worked the ball around and found Weusthof in the circle who had space and time to line his shot up and watch it go through the legs of an exposed Fair in goal.
Having come back from 3-0 down against Australia to draw 3-3 earlier in the week, Great Britain had the belief they could fight back. Old Loughtonain’s Harry Martin put the ball onto a Dutch foot in the circle to earn his side their first penalty corner of the game, which East Grinstead’s Ashley Jackson fired home past the right foot of Stockmann to make it 2-1. The goal spurred Great Britain on and Martin, again in the thick of it, found Daly who played a great ball into Middleton in the circle, but his shot went over Stockmann’s crossbar.
The Great Britain comeback was short-lived and with 14 minutes to go in the first half the Netherlands started an unanswered seven goal ambush on the home-side. Two goals before half time took the score-line to 4-1; a penalty corner from Mink van der Weerden and then a great set play finished by Billy Bakker ensured the Dutch went into the break with a three goal cushion.
As Lee highlighted after the game, his side would approach every match at this tournament with an attacking mentality. It was clear from the start of the second half that Great Britain were valiantly sticking to their game-plan as they came out and won a penalty corner in the opening minute. Middleton played the ball into Daly who found a foot and although the Dutch appealed the video referral team were unable to offer clear guidance so the penalty corner stood. Jackson lined up again, but the Dutch ran the ball down well and cleared the danger.
Try as they might, Great Britain struggled to clear their defences and the Netherlands were happy to wait and pick off lose balls which they pounced on all night with devastating effect. From the 44th to the 51st minute they unpicked Great Britain four times to take away any chance of a great British comeback. Bakker finished calmly to score his second of the game thanks to some good work from Teun de Nooijer off the backline. De Nooijer then took his turn in the limelight as he found the target and put his side 6-1 up. Bob de Voogd this time with the initial shot, which Fair attempted to save, but the ball edged past him and de Nooijer pushed it over the line.
There were still three more Dutch goals to come in what was turning into a night to forget for Great Britain. The Netherlands Captain Floris Evers was the next name on the score sheet taking the ball past Loughborough Students’ Richard Smith and beating Fair with some great skills to finish the move. If Great Britain were having a night to forget, Bakker was having one to remember as he hit the target for the third time to make it 8-1. After taking a self-pass outside the circle he beat several defenders before pulling the ball back from the line and hitting an incredible reverse stick shot from the tightest of angles past Fair.
With 11 minutes to go, the Dutch scored their ninth and final goal of the night from a penalty corner. This time it was Weusthof’s turn to score a hat-trick for the Netherlands as he fired home into the top right hand corner of the goal.
With luck not on the side of the home nation, Jackson did score from a Great Britain penalty corner in the final minutes, but the whistle had already gone for a Dutch player breaking the line. The corner was re-taken and this time Jackson’s effort was well saved by Stockmann.
Great Britain finally pulled one back through Surbiton’s Rob Moore who slid in to nudge the ball home from Glenn Kirkham’s pass along the backline. The celebrations from the crowd showed their support and belief in the Great Britain men, but understandably the players’ reactions were muted. The final score stood at 9-2.
Following the match, a disappointed Great Britain Captain Barry Middleton said, “Sorry, that wasn’t really us. It’s hard to explain what happened. Credit to the Dutch, they played a good game. They just tackled, shot and ran around better than us. You don’t have many games where a team does every aspect better than you. We were definitely not where we wanted to be or where we could have been and that’s the disappointing thing. We need to look at it and find out what went wrong and make it right for Saturday.”
Great Britain will play Australia for the Bronze Medal at the Riverbank Arena on Saturday 11 August (15.30).
Meanwhile, Great Britain women will be aiming to finish the hockey competition on a high when they contest the Bronze Medal match against New Zealand at the Riverbank Arena tomorrow afternoon (15.30).
NETHERLANDS 9 (4)
Roderick Weusthof 9’ 15’ 60’ (PC) (F) (PC)
Mink van der Weerdan 22’ (PC)
Billy Bakker 33’ 44’ 51’ (F) (F) (F)
Tuen de Nooijer 47’ (F)
Floris Evers 48’ (F)
GREAT BRITAIN 2 (1)
Ashley Jackson 18’ (PC)
Rob Moore 65’ (F)
GREAT BRITAIN MEN’s SQUAD v NETHERLANDS
Name (Club) [Position]
James Fair (Cannock) [Goalkeeper]
Ben Hawes (Wimbledon) [Defender]
Alastair Wilson (Beeston) [Defender]
Iain Lewers (East Grinstead) [Defender]
Richard Smith (Loughborough Students) [Defender]
Ashley Jackson (East Grinstead) [Midfielder]
Glenn Kirkham (East Grinstead) [Midfielder]
James Tindall (Surbiton) [Forward]
Barry Middleton (HGC (Netherlands) [Midfielder/Forward]
Iain Mackay (Reading) [Forward]
Rob Moore (Surbiton) [Midfielder/Forward]
Matt Daly (Surbiton) [Forward]
Jonty Clarke (Reading) [Forward]
Nick Catlin (Reading) [Midfielder/Forward]
Dan Fox (Hampstead & Westminster) [Defender]
Harry Martin (Old Loughtonians) [Midfielder]
Great Britain Hockey media release
Team GB miss out on final after humiliating 9-2 defeat by Holland
By Emily Benammar
Humiliating: Billy Bakker, right, scored three times as Holland ran riot Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Great Britain's bid to end a 24-year wait to play for an Olympic gold medal came to a halt in the most humiliating of ways as they were subjected to their heaviest Olympic defeat in a 9-2 annihilation at the hands of Holland.
Jason Lee's side will now have to re-group from the scoreline which eclipsed the 8-1 mauling by Pakistan at the Sydney Olympics 2000, in time for their bronze medal play-off with world No 1 Australia.
“I'd probably say sorry to start with,” a despondent looking Great Britain captain Barry Middleton said afterwards. “That wasn't really us and it's hard to explain why it happened. I wouldn’t say we gave up but we made it easy for them to get a few more. It's tough out there when that's happening to you.
“It's one of the most disappointing days I've had and we have to get over it and make things right on Saturday.”
In the build-up to the semi-final there was much debate about whether Ashley Jackson and Middleton's time playing their club hockey in Holland would work to Great Britain's advantage or detriment. It proved to be the latter as not even the most gifted of psychics could have foreseen what unfolded at the Riverbank Arena.
Holland's midfield did a sterling job at keeping Great Britain's star men at bay while Teun de Nooijer, Roderick Weusthof and Billy Bakker ran riot around James Fair's goal.
Five minutes after the push-back, the Cannock goalkeeper was fishing the ball out of his net as Sander de Wijn found a gap in GB's defence, and while the goal was disallowed, it should have served as a warning sign for the home side. Holland were on the attack and GB's defence were being caught out by an ever-changing Dutch formation.
In the ninth minute Weusthof fired a drag flick into the top right corner to give Holland a well-deserved lead. Minutes later the 30-year-old scored his second from a similar position.
With penalty corners seemingly the theme of the match, Jackson added his name to the scoresheet after which the Riverbank Arena erupted, but the comeback was not on and GB remained on the back foot of a rampant Dutch attack as Mink van der Weerden, the top scorer so far this Olympics, made it three conversions from three set pieces for Holland.
Nothing was going GB's way and with 30 seconds left of the first half, Bakker made it 4-1 to almost guarantee an orange presence in the Olympic final.
If the first half had felt like the stuff of nightmares, there was worse to come. Four goals in six minutes, which saw Bakker complete his hat-trick, De Nooijer claim a second and Holland captain Floris Evers add to the tally, had the Dutch fans celebrating their team's inevitable place in the final, while a shell-shocked Great Britain team looked lost at the realisation that there were still 19 minutes to play.
Inevitably it got worse and Holland went a goal away from double digits as Weusthof completed his hat-trick. While their place in the final against Germany was a near certainty 15 minutes after the second-half started, this goal saw the Dutch players celebrate the fact they were assured at least a silver medal.
Rob Moore gave the British crowd something to cheer about 10 minutes from time but the goal will have meant little to a side that came into the match confident they could win and play for gold on Saturday.
As Holland celebrated with the orange army in the crowd, Middleton consoled his squad who were coming to terms with the fact that the wait for gold goes on.
Dutch fire nine past Britain to reach Olympic hockey final
LONDON: The Netherlands crushed Great Britain 9-2 on Thursday to reach the men's hockey final where they will tackle defending champions Germany for the gold medal.
The Dutch, who last took the title in 2000, overwhelmed Britain who struggled to contain the pace and unpredictable movement of Rogier Hofman, Billy Bakker and Valentin Verga.
By half-time the Dutch already had a firm grip with a 4-1 lead.
Two Roderick Weusthof goals put them two up inside a quarter of an hour, the second of them after fans had cheered a Dutch failure to score from a penalty corner, only for the ball to be played straight back into the danger zone.
Although the prolific Ashley Jackson pulled one back, the home crowd were soon quietened by goals from Mink van der Weerden and by Bakker.
Bakker scored twice more after half-time, and both Floris Evers and the 36-year-old Teun de Nooijers, who was a member of both the 1996 and 2000 Olympic gold medal winning squads, got on the scoresheet before Weusthof too completed his hat-trick.
By now the chants of Rule Britannia had begun to sound a little hollow, but there was some slight consolation for the home nation with a late goal by Rob Moore.
"It is difficult for me because my head is somewhere else now, and I am very happy and proud. We promised to come and play our game, which is to attack, and we did," said Evers.
"We knew the first 10 minutes of the second half would be important, and when they didn't score then, we knew it was going to be our day."
England coach Jason Lee said he was embarrassed by the loss.
"At 4-1 at half time it was our intention to try to get back in it, and that's what opened it up for them. We got a bit reckless too early and lost the basics and couldn't get them back," he said.
Earlier Germany had shown their mettle by making a great late comeback to overcome the top-seeded world champions Australia by 4-2.
It happened after Germany were denied an apparently brilliant equaliser, for dangerous play.
Oliver Korn's perceptive lofted pass was deftly controlled mid-air by Oskar Deecke and with a little aerial juggling, he nudged over the goalkeeper.
But it was disallowed, even though four Germans implored the referee to change his mind.
"The rules are changing all the time. Soon enough that will be a goal," said Australian coach Ric Charlesworth.
"It was very clever and a good move, but maybe the right decision. Unfortunately they don't know what to do with the overhead."
It seemed to give the Germans an adrenaline surge and very soon Tobias Hauke split the Australian defence with a diagonal ball from the left, putting in Matthias Witthaus to equalise, and quite quickly the Germans had a two-goal lead.
First they stopped play to ask for a video review which showed an Australian foot touching the ball inside the penalty area. The resulting penalty corner brought a goal from Timo Wess.
Then, with the Australians pressing hard to save the match, Florian Fuchs broke away to make a place in the final safe with a fourth goal.
"It was the kind of passionate game you need in a semifinal. It was a great match," said German coach Markus Weise.
Kieran Govers had put Australia 1-0 up but within three minutes Witthaus won a penalty corner from which Moritz Furste equalised.
Ten minutes into the second half, Australia had the lead again when the Germans got into a defensive muddle, and Glenn Turner thwacked the ball in from only a few feet.
The world champions seemed to be heading for triumph at that stage, until the match turned dramatically on its head.
The Times of India
Dutch clobber Britain to face Germans in final
The Netherlands dished out a 9-2 thrashing to Britain in their semi-final yesterday to advance to the men’s Olympic hockey final against defending champions Germany.
With both teams determined to play attacking hockey, the British gave the world’s number three team all the space they could have dreamed of to create chances and the Dutch duly delivered with great passing skills and inspired goals.
Roderick Weusthof put the Dutch, so far unbeaten in London, in the lead with a hard flick into the top right corner in the ninth minute. His second came when he reacted quickest to whack the ball across the line after a botched penalty corner effort.
Britain still had a chance to get back into the game when they pulled a goal back with a flicked penalty corner by Ashley Jackson three minutes later.
But the Dutch stepped up the pace, Mink van der Weerden scoring his seventh tournament goal with another penalty corner and Billy Bakker finishing off four quick passes inside the circle to give the Dutch a 4-1 halftime lead.
The second half saw the Dutch picking apart the British defence with fast passes.
Veteran Teun de Nooijer set up Bakker for their fifth, Bob de Voogd hammered a ball to the goal that de Nooijer just got his stick to, Floris Evers made it 7-1, and Bakker completed his hat-trick with a spectacular shot from a sharp angle.
Weusthof also scored a hat-trick with a penalty corner in the 61st minute before Britain’s Robert Moore snuck one past the Dutch goalie to complete the 9-2 final score.
The Dutch victory came at a price, however. They lost two players to injury. Klaas Vermeulen collided with Britain’s Glenn Kirkham and was led off the pitch with an injury to his shoulder, while van der Weerden’s foot was hit by a ball.
Australian Men out of Gold Medal Hunt
Germany has thwarted the Kookaburras Olympic aspirations for gold with a clinical display of disciplined hockey at Riverbank Arena in London this today.
Australia will have the next four years to ponder what could have been after going down 4-2 in their semi final encounter after heading to London as overwhelming favorites.
With the World Cup, Champions’ Trophy and Commonwealth Games in the bag all that has eluded them during the past four years has been an Olympic trophy.
But as so often in the past, their quest ended short of the gold medal game – instead they will be playing for bronze on Saturday afternoon London time.
The defending Olympic champions did most of their damage in just nine minutes of hockey scoring three times to turn a 2-1 deficit into an unassailable 4-2 lead with just seven minutes of play remaining.
Games between the two powerhouses have traditionally been close and this today was no different.
The Germans discipline and strength was evident all over the turf, which put enormous pressure on the world No.1 to execute their trademark free-flowing attacking game.
The contest started at a frenetic pace with both teams fiercely defending their possession.
While the Europeans were happy to slow the pace down looking for a high striker, the Kookaburras were happy to run the ball as their main form of attack.
Germany’s tactics put pressure on Australia’s ability to transition the ball through the midfield at speed making scoring opportunities more difficult.
A disallowed penalty corner on the German side, following a successful Australian request for a video referral, left the Olympic champions distracted which opened the door for Kieran Govers to score Australia’s opening goal.
Moritz Furste struck back with a low penalty corner conversion to level the score 1-1 heading into half time.
Glenn Turner used his strength to pounce on a scramble in the goal mouth to put the Kookaburras ahead 2-1 just seven minutes into the second period.
Australia continued to attack but missed some good looks at goal.
A defensive blunder opened the door for Germany to equalize when Matthias Witthaus capitalized on a loose ball.
Just five minutes later a penalty corner conversion by Timo Wess put Germany in a strong position to progress to the gold medal game with Florian Fuchs sealing the Kookaburras fate with an opportunist shot from the field.
Australia never settled into a comfortable pattern and did not provide themselves with enough opportunity in the circle or from penalty corners to score.
If Australia is successful in winning bronze, it will be their fifth in Olympic competition with just one gold, in 2004, and three silvers.
Germany has won two gold, a silver and three Olympic bronze medals.
AUSTRALIA 2 def by GERMANY 4
Olympic Semifinal Pool A (1) Australia v Pool B (2) Germany
Germany 4 (Moritz Furste 27 PC, Mattias Witthaus 54 FG, Timo Wess 59 PC, Florian Fuchs 63 FG) def Australia 2 (Kieran Govers 22 FG, Glenn Turner 42 FG)
Hockey Australia media release
Defending champions Germany down Australia to enter final
Pakistan defeat South Korea to claim seventh place
LONDON: Defending champions Germany staged a thrilling fightback to defeat world champions Australia 4-2 and reach the Olympic men’s hockey final on Thursday despite their goalkeeper playing with a broken hand. In the day’s other fixtures Pakistan twice fought back from a goal down to defeat South Korea 3-2 and claim seventh place while New Zealand clinched a 3-1 win over Argentina for ninth spot.
In a first half played at blistering pace, Australia went ahead after German keeper Max Weinhold failed to control a shot from Glenn Turner and Kieran Govers fired the volley rebound through his legs. Germany levelled minutes later with a low penalty corner flick by Moritz Fuerste and the 1-1 scoreline at halftime was a fair reflection of the action. Germany looked more dangerous at the start of the second half but it was Australia’s Turner who put his team back in the lead, sneaking the ball over Weinhold who had gone to ground to save two previous attempts. Germany had a goal disallowed 12 minutes into the second half when Oliver Deecke volleyed an aerial pass over the Australian keeper, the umpire deciding after a video referral that Deecke had raised his stick above shoulder height. Germany bounced back from the disappointment and levelled when Matthias Witthaus, completely unmarked in the D, converted a cross from Tobias Hauke. They went ahead for the first time through a penalty corner flick by Timo Wess with just 11 minutes to go. Australia, needing to score, pushed forward, giving Germany space to net another goal on a quick counter-attack with seven minutes to go. Benjamin Wess sprinted for a long pass down the left touchline, slammed the ball across the circle and Florian Fuchs dived in to deflect it over the line.
Pakistan defeat South Korea 3-2: The Pakistan-South Korea match eventually boiled down to a tale of two short corners. From one of them Muhammad Imran scored with a powerfully flicked shot which hurtled into the top right corner to put Pakistan ahead for the first time with just 10 minutes to go. From the other, two minutes later, Lee Seung-Il narrowly shot past the post, and it proved an omen, for despite all their subsequent pressure the Koreans could not find the equaliser. They had looked the more likely winners at half-time, by which time they had taken a 2-1 lead, with both goals coming from the dangerous Hyun Hye-Sung. The second happened after an almighty scramble and a delay of several minutes to inspect all seven camera angles before it was decided that there had been no fouls and that Hyun’s looped effort had in fact gone in. The ball had pin-balled around the penalty area, almost going in several times, and eventually only got over the line by about four inches after striking a post. Pakistan’s first goal came from a fine shot by Waqas Muhammad, and the second by Abdul Haseem Khan, at the third attempt. New Zealand produced an overwhelming first-half performance in a 3-1 win over Argentina, which gave them ninth place.
New Zealand overcome Argentina 3-1: Three goals within half an hour gave the Kiwis a psychological ascendancy they never really lost, even though Argentina battled hard to make an impression and pulled one back in the second half. New Zealand had come within one minute of beating Olympic champions Germany in a 10-goal thriller on Tuesday, and began as if they were going to score as prolifically again. Within three minutes they were ahead, thanks to a Stephen Jenness goal, and they applied steady pressure that brought two penalty corners and increasing expectations. Another penalty corner after 20 minutes did bring another goal, this time from Richard Petherick, and within another 10 minutes the outcome of the match was already becoming clear when Hugo Inglis scored the third. Argentina did better in the second half with Pedro Ibarra pulling one back with 12 minutes to go.
The Daily Times
Germany beat world champion Australians to reach final
Titleholders Germany beat world champions Australia 4-2 on Thursday to reach the men's Olympic hockey final with both teams giving their all in a high quality semi.
In a first half played at blistering pace, Australia went ahead after German keeper Max Weinhold failed to control a shot from Glenn Turner and Kieran Govers fired the volley rebound through his legs. Germany levelled minutes later with a low penalty corner flick by Moritz Fuerste and the 1-1 scoreline at halftime was a fair reflection of the action.
Germany looked more dangerous at the start of the second half but it was Australia's Turner who put his team back in the lead, sneaking the ball over Weinhold who had gone to ground to save two previous attempts.
Germany had a goal disallowed 12 minutes into the second half when Oliver Deecke volleyed an aerial pass over the Australian keeper, the umpire deciding after a video referral that Deecke had raised his stick above shoulder height. Germany bounced back from the disappointment and levelled when Matthias Witthaus, completely unmarked in the D, converted a cross from Tobias Hauke.
They went ahead for the first time through a penalty corner flick by Timo Wess with just 11 minutes to go. Australia, needing to score, pushed forward, giving Germany space to net another goal on a quick counter-attack with seven minutes to go.
Benjamin Wess sprinted for a long pass down the left touchline, slammed the ball across the circle and Florian Fuchs dived in to deflect it over the line.
Germany defeat Aussies to reach hockey final
LONDON - Defending champions Germany staged a thrilling fightback to defeat world champions Australia 4-2 and reach the Olympic men's hockey final on Thursday. For the first two-thirds of the match the Aussies had often looked the better team, but a controversial disallowed goal fired up the Germans who came back spiritedly from 1-2 down with three dramatic goals.
Germany were obliged to their goalkeeper Max Weinhold for two courageous saves in the first half, both from penalty corners. But he could not stop the Australians taking the lead when Glenn Turner, his shaven head gleaming in the sun, worked acres of space for himself on the left, cut in and shot hard.
Weinhold did manage to block it, but the rebound found Kieran Govers, bombing in down a centre right channel, and he scored with a flourish. The lead lasted only three minutes though. Matthias Witthaus did well to weave into the penalty area, and after the ball hit an Australian foot, he won a penalty corner.
Taken by Florian Fuchs it was rammed home by Moritz Furste. Early in the second half, Australia had the lead again when the Germans got into a defensive muddle. Weinhold appeared to have saved well again, but still the ball was not cleared, and Turner thwacked it in from a few feet. But the match turned around after Germany were denied an apparently brilliant equaliser, for dangerous play.
Korn's perceptive lofted pass was deftly controlled mid-air by Oskar Deecke and with a little aerial juggling, he nudged over the goalkeeper. But it did not count and after four Germans failed to get the referee to change his mind, the Olympic champions seemed to be fired up by the perceived injustice. Very soon Tobias Hauke split the Australian defence with a diagonal ball from the left, putting in Witthaus to equalise, and within a few minutes Germany had a two-goal lead. After that the Australians were forced to press hard and from an inevitable breakaway Fuchs made a place in the final safe with a fourth goal.
Pakistan battle back to claim seventh place
LONDON: Pakistan twice fought back from a goal down to defeat South Korea 3-2 and claim seventh place in men's field hockey at the Olympic Games on Thursday.
The match eventually hinged on a tale of two short corners.
From one of them Muhammad Imran scored with a powerfully flicked shot which hurtled into the top right corner to put Pakistan ahead for the first time with just 10 minutes to go.
From the other, two minutes later, Lee Seung-Il narrowly shot past the post, and it proved an omen, for despite all their subsequent pressure the Koreans could not find the equaliser.
They had looked the more likely winners at half-time, by which time they had taken a 2-1 lead, with both goals coming from the dangerous Hyun Hye-Sung.
The second happened after an almighty scramble and a delay of several minutes to inspect all seven camera angles before it was decided that there had been no fouls and that Hyun's looped effort had in fact gone in.
The ball had pin-balled around the penalty area, almost going in several times, and eventually only got over the line by about four inches after striking a post.
Pakistan's first goal came from a fine shot by Waqas Muhammad, and the second by Abdul Haseem Khan, at the third attempt.
New Zealand produced an overwhelming first-half performance in a 3-1 win over Argentina which gave them ninth place.
Three goals within half an hour gave the Kiwis a psychological ascendancy they never really lost, even though Argentina battled hard to make an impression and pulled one back in the second half.
New Zealand had come within one minute of beating Olympic champions Germany in a 10-goal thriller on Tuesday, and began as if they were going to score as prolifically again.
Within three minutes they were ahead, thanks to a Stephen Jenness goal, and they applied steady pressure which brought two penalty corners and increasing expectations.
Another penalty corner after 20 minutes did bring another goal, this time from Richard Petherick, and within another 10 minutes the outcome of the match was already becoming clear when Hugo Inglis scored the third.
Argentina did better in the second half with Pedro Ibarra pulling one back with 12 minutes to go.
The Times of India
PM should take action against PHF on Games debacle
By: Mohsin Ali
ISLAMABAD – Pakistan restored their pride by edging out Koreans 3-2 to finish seventh in the London Olympics Men's Hockey match played on Thursday.
Although it was not convincing victory but one had to appreciate the determination of the green shirts who never lost their composure and earned a well-deserved victory and finished the first half with a 2-1 deficit. They bounced back in the second half and levelled the match at 2-2 and then got scored the third goal on a short corner taken by Imran, who struck a powerful shot with such a speed that neither Korean goalie nor defender could even move as the ball smashed the net. Pakistan started the match at a brisk pace and put pressure on the Koreans but in that particular match too goalkeeper Imran Shah let the team down by conceding relatively easy goals much to the disliking of captain and team.
Pakistan hockey management must have to give the reason behind Imran Shah's selection ahead of Salman Akbar for reasons best known to the PHF. The selectors didn't even bother to at least have a goalie on the bench to replace Imran after countless blunders throughout the Games.
Now the time is ripe that Prime Minister of Pakistan, who is also a patron-in-chief of PHF, must take bold decisions and have some mercy on the nation, which is suffering ever since Qasim Zia took over the PHF charge as hockey reaches at lowest ebb during this period. There is still time left to save the fast declining fortunes of the national game and made team management accountable to save hockey from further disaster as youngsters already preferring to play any other game would completely turn their backs on national game that may result in ending of an era. The Europeans are still scared of green shirts that is why they kept on changing rules just to benefit their players and save their skins from hockey maestros of subcontinent.
Olympics failure: Cut hockey funds and help other sports, says chef de mission
By Fawad Hussain
KARACHI: The Pakistan contingent will be returning home empty-handed from the Olympics for the fifth time in a row and the country’s chef de mission, Aqil Shah, suggested a more equitable share of resources for all athletes, while lamenting the attention that hockey got for the mega event.
Shah called for a cut in the funds allocated to the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) and asked for focus to be put on other associations that are capable of winning medals.
“We’re spending way too much money on hockey,” Shah told The Express Tribune from London. “The PHF received a funding of Rs500 million from the government while assistance for other federations was minimal. Despite getting so much money, we failed to win a medal. We’ve clinched medals in wrestling and boxing in the past. But how can athletes perform when they don’t even have the money to eat the prescribed diet.
“Similarly our karate players don’t have money to buy proper kits. This difference between sports needs to end with an equal distribution of funds. A medal is a medal whether it’s through hockey or from a discus throw. What I feel is if had we spent equally, we could have earned better results than this.”
Shah ponders formation of ‘sports body’
The official, who is also the Khyber-Pakthunkhwa sports minister, said he was mulling to form a sports authority in the country.
“We will be working for its formation after the Olympics. The purpose will be promotion of sports through an equal distribution of funds. The sports bodies or sports ministries are not getting equal or enough funds from the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB).
“This body will include sports ministers of all the provinces as its core members to ensure transparency. I have faith that our chances to end the drought of Olympic medals will get better by ensuring equal distribution of funds. What I want is a different result in Rio 2016 than what we got in London.”
Pakistan took part in four disciplines this year as it received wild-card entries for shooting, swimming and athletics, while the hockey team qualified for the mega event after winning the Asian Games. Pakistan’s last medal in the Olympics was its hockey bronze in 1992.
The Express Tribune
Black Sticks Men win game and take ninth place
The Black Sticks Men have finished in ninth place at the Olympics, having beaten Argentina 3-1 at Riverbank Arena today.
Head coach Shane McLeod acknowledged that the team played a good game and was pleased for his side to go out with a win.
"It’s nice to have a win under the belt to finish off. What the Olympics brings out is the closeness of the games. There is always just one thing that will make a difference between second or first in your pool and finishing sixth or fifth in your pool. It's part of the excitement of sport. It's never a foregone conclusion,” said McLeod.
“We are all disappointed where we have finished in the table. The players have high expectations of what they want to achieve and it tests their resilience when they don’t get the results they are after,” said McLeod.
Captain Dean Couzins said although frustrated not to finish higher up the table, he was proud of his side’s performance today.
"Today in the first half we played really well, which is nice, because it's a difficult game to get yourself up for in some respects. There was some good hockey and some good pride shown by the boys," said Couzins.
It was a big game for Brad Shaw who played his 150th test match for New Zealand and Nick Haig who played his 100th.
New Zealand played one of their best halves of the tournament. Black Stick Simon Child passed to Stephen Jenness who was perfectly positioned to deflect it low into the goal in the fourth minute.
In the 21st minute, Richard Petherick scored from a powerful penalty corner drag flick and then Nick Wilson took a reverse stick shot and fired it low into the bottom left hand corner in the 28th minute.
In the second half, New Zealand held their 3-0 lead until the 59th minute when Pedro Ibarra edged one back for Argentina from a penalty corner drag flick. The statistics showed the Kiwis were the more dominant team, at one point having 10 more shots on goal.
Argentina stepped the pressure up in the final ten minutes with a number of close shots at goal, but New Zealand was tight in defence and held on for the victory.
Australia will play Germany in semifinal one (2.30am NZ time) and then the Netherlands will play home side Great Britain (7am NZ time) in semifinal two. The gold medal game will be played at 7am on Sunday (NZ time).
New Zealand (Stephen Jenness, Richard Petherick, Nick Wilson,) Argentina (Pedro Ibarra) HT: 3-0
Korea – 2-0 loss
India – 3-1 win
Netherlands – 5-1 loss
Belgium – 1-1 draw
Germany – 5-5 draw
Argentina – 3-1 win
NZ goal scorers
Nick Wilson x4
Simon Child x3
Richard Petherick x2
Stephen Jenness x2
Phil Burrows x1
Andy Hayward x1
Hockey New Zealand Media release
Olympic Title by the numbers
Renowned Indian statician B.G. Joshi looks at the head to head records for the Women's Olympic title game.
Women: Title Match in FIH tourneys
Argentina (won 7 titles) - Netherlands (won 14 titles)
Netherlands: Title won- Olympics-2 (1984, 2008), World Cup-6(1974, 78, 83, 86, 90, 2006), Champions Trophy-6(1987, 2000, 04, 05, 07, 11)
Argentina: Title won- Olympics-0, World Cup-2(2002, 2010), Champions Trophy-5(2001, 08, 09, 10, 12)
Argentina- Netherlands in Title Match (7nos)
|1974||Mandeliu||World Cup||Netherlands||1-0 extra time|
|2002||Perth||World Cup||Argentina||1-1,TB 4-4, Sudden death TB 1-0|
|2011||Amsterdam||Champions Trophy||Netherlands||3-3,TB 3-2|
Argentina face Dutch in top-two showdown
Argentina's players celebrate winning against Great Britain during the women's semifinal hockey match at the Riverbank Arena at the London 2012 Olympic Games August 8, 2012. REUTERS/Adrees LatifView Photo
LONDON - World champions Argentina will fight over Olympic women's hockey gold with title holders Netherlands on Friday in what could be a fast, thrilling and open match between the two top ranked teams in the world.
A victory for Argentina would not only give them the treble of the three most prestigious hockey titles - world, Olympic and Champions Trophy gold, it would also crown their captain Luciana Aymar's illustrious career.
Aymar, who turns 35 on the day of the final, has won all titles but Olympic gold. From her three previous Olympics, she has taken home a silver and two bronze medals.
This final will be Aymar's last stab at gold as the record seven-time world player of the year, has said she will retire from international hockey after London.
"It's going to be a classic. In the past few years Argentina have played Netherlands many times and set the standard of hockey," Argentina coach Carlos Retegui said.
"I just hope we see the best match in history. It would be great to do it in London, because we have a great stadium and the crowd are brilliant," he added.
Snatching gold from the Beijing winners will be no easy feat. The Netherlands have not dropped a point in the London tournament and, after scoring no goals in the group stages, their skipper found her goal-scoring form in the semi-finals.
Two penalty corners by Maartje Paumen, who scored 11 goals in Beijing, put the Dutch level with New Zealand, who had pulled ahead twice. The Dutch, however, had to go through a penalty shootout to get through to the final.
The Dutch and Argentines will face off at 7.00 p.m. GMT on Friday after Britain and New Zealand fight over bronze at 1430.
Britain will want to end their campaign with a victory, having lost three times in a row, while the Kiwis will want to secure their first Olympic women's hockey medal.
Day 13 Bronze Medal Match Olympic Preview GB v New Zealand
Olympics 2012 Sarah Thomas
Over 1.2 million people tuned in to see Great Britain women agonisingly lose to Argentina in their semi-final show down on Wednesday evening. Tonight, Great Britain women will be battling it out with New Zealand for the bronze medal, in their final match at the London 2012 Olympic Games. As Alex Danson aptly said after the defeat "our gold is now the bronze and we won't go away with anything less."
Their opponents, New Zealand, known as The Black Sticks, twice took the lead against World number 1 and defending Olympic Champions the Netherlands in Wednesday’s semi final. However, they were pipped to the gold medal match by the experienced Dutch, losing in the shoot out competition after golden goal extra time failed to produce a winner.
Fixture: Great Britain v New Zealand
Date and time: 10th August - 15.30
Location: Riverbank Arena
Watch live on the BBC: BBC 3
Great Britain #4
New Zealand #6
Head to head record
Goals for: 28
Goals against: 14
Great Britain has only ever faced New Zealand twice in an Olympic Games, and on both occasions they have been triumphant. At the 2008 Games in Beijing, the final score was 2 - 1 with Alex Danson and Crista Cullen netting for GB. In their most recent encounter, just prior to the Champions Trophy at the Cordoba Four Nations in Argentina, GB won 2 - 0. Alex Danson again found herself on the score sheet, but this time alongside captain Kate Walsh. Let's hope they can do the same tonight!
Player to watch: New Zealand
In 2011, Michelsen (pictured below left) was the first New Zealander to have won the FIH Young Player of the Year. At just 21, she is an exciting talent to watch. Her pace and superb stick skills make her a dangerous attacking threat.
Olympics 2012 Paumen and Stacey Michelsen (image courtesy of FIH)
Great Britain women’s Head Coach Danny Kerry says GB will need to be at their best to come away from Friday afternoon’s match against high flying New Zealand with medals around their necks.
“If they play like they did against Holland we’re going to have to play at our absolute best,” said Kerry in the aftermath of Wednesday’s heart breaking defeat to Argentina. “I thought they were exceptional in the semi final against Holland. Holland can count themselves lucky they got through that.”Olympics 2012 Danny Kerry
“We played them in the tournament in Cordoba in the New Year,” explains Kerry. “They’re probably the fastest counter attacking team in the world at the moment with Anita Punt, Gemma Flynn and a few others so we need to manage that very hard. They’re also very good in the attacking circle; they’ll throw their bodies to try and get on the end of things so there’s no way we’ll under estimate them. I have huge regard for the way they play their game and it will be a very, very good match.”
Great Britain Hockey media release
Black Sticks dry tears, eye 'extra jewellery'
JONATHAN MILLMOW IN LONDON
DRY YOUR EYES: Kayla Sharland of New Zealand celebrates scoring the first goal against the Netherlands. Getty Images
Who can rally their heart-broken hockey squad the best?
Will it be Black Sticks coach Mark Hager or will it be Great Britain's Danny Kerry.
Tears have been flowing leading into tomorrow morning's (Saturday 2.30am) bronze medal match; even the coaches have had their moments.
This is high stakes. Not the highest - that slipped from the grasp of both sides on Thursday - but an Olympic bronze medal in women's hockey is still a treasure.
Players from both sides have put the last four years of their life on hold. Jobs have been quit and relationships put on hold as players uprooted themselves to a central training spot.
Win or lose the Black Sticks can hold their head high. No one from New Zealand has punched above their weight more in London than the Black Sticks, save maybe road cyclist Jack Bauer.
A special character has emerged over the last fortnight, her name is Kayla Sharland.
The 26-year-old Black Sticks captain has a command over her side that we normally associate with the leadership of Richie McCaw and Stephen Fleming. When she is not barking orders, she is slicing up defences or scoring goals.
When she is on the turf the Black Sticks press, when she is off, they hold.
It takes some convincing that Sharland is 100 per cent fit. Her knee is heavily strapped and she required back treatment on the sideline before the semifinal, but nevertheless she vies for player of the tournament alongside the two ladies that lead their teams into the final - Argentina's Luciana Aymar and the Netherlands' Maartje Paumen.
Others can decide if she is New Zealand's finest ever female hockey player but the history book shows the Black Sticks are in uncharted waters, their previous best Olympic effort being sixth on three occasions.
Sharland has been anything but a lone hand. Most of their squad have had their moments and the names Stacey Michelsen and Samantha Charlton are ones to paste in the hat for the future.
Goalkeeper Bianca Russell has not been far behind Sharland, in terms of form and influencing results. She is seldom seen or heard, but speaks from the heart.
"I'm just trying to do my job and do it well," she said.
"I like big games. For me, consistency is my key and all I want to do, every game, is do the bread and butter stuff well, anything else is a bonus."
Like so many, she fought back tears after the penalty shoot-out loss to the Netherlands, but if truth be known she summed up matters best.
"When we started this tournament we would've been thrilled to bits with any medal, so we have to keep everything in perspective now.
"Of course we are disappointed, we were so close to the shiny ones but any extra jewellery going home is good by me. We'll give it a crack."
A capacity crowd of 16,000 is expected at Riverbank Arena tomorrow, understandably most of them cheering for the home side.
Great Britain cried foul after their 2-1 loss to Argentina. The Black Sticks chose to look within. That tells you something.
Dejected Black Sticks vow to regroup for bronze
JONATHAN MILLMOW IN LONDON
REGROUPING: New Zealand players Gemma Flynn and Kayla Sharland. IAIN MCGREGOR/Fairfax NZ
If you had offered the Black Sticks women an Olympic bronze medal a couple of weeks ago they would have flashed a smile and said thank you very much.
Now the question being asked is can this greatly improved team put their gut-wrenching semifinal loss to the Netherlands behind them and beat Great Britain tomorrow morning (2.30am NZ time) for third place.
The players say they can.
“It is hard at the moment to be proud but it is awesome how we've gone,” flying winger Anita Punt said.
“But we aren't finished yet, we want a medal. We are here to get a medal, that is what we are after. We just have to move on now and focus on the bronze medal match.” A lot of energy and emotion was spent against the Netherlands, which was decided on a penalty shootout.
Already a couple of players look to be tiring, but others such as Stacey Michelsen look as though they could play for another two weeks.
Coach Mark Hager has the challenge of lifting his side, not an easy task given the level of their dejection yesterday.
Still, Hager has turned water into wine here and you sense that he has a couple more tricks up his sleeve.
Captain Kayla Sharland is as determined as they come. She stares down the barrel and says an Olympic medal can still be won.
“We will be quite disappointed tonight and again in the morning, but when we head back to training it is about refocusing for the next match,” Sharland said.
“We have come a long way in this tournament and we don't want to leave empty-handed now.
“We've pushed hard right throughout this tournament, it's about a never-say-die attitude, that is something we have installed in this group and if we run, run, run and chase, chase, chase, I think we can get there.”
The Black Sticks will never forget how close they came to making the Olympic final. They were up twice in regulation time against the Dutch only to finish at 2-2 and the scores stayed that way after golden goal extra time.
Unfortunately for the Black Sticks they hadn't been as thorough as they should have been and their lack of penalty shootout training left them exposed. Michelsen held her nerve to score but Sharland, Punt and Gemma Flynn all missed as the Dutch won 3-1.
“Unfortunately we kept going the same way and she [goalkeeper Joyce Sombroek] was watching what way we were going. We repeated the same three shots in a row,” an exasperated Sharland said.
Punt says composure is the key in the shootout. “Stacey Michelsen is a legend at it,” she said.
Black Sticks down but not yet out
By Dylan Cleaver
The women have to get up again against the Brits after a harrowing loss to the Netherlands. Photo / Brett Phibbs
New Zealand yesterday played one of the more extraordinary hockey matches in their history, losing 3-1 to the Netherlands on a shootout.
In normal time they held 1-0 and 2-1 leads against the No1-ranked side in the world. They had chances to win, but then again, so did the Dutch.
New Zealand, under the tutelage of Mark Hager, now have the difficult task of lifting themselves out of despair as they prepare to face Great Britain in a bronze medal playoff.
Unlike boxing, where losing semifinalists are awarded a medal by rights, you don't get anything free in hockey. This has been an amazing campaign full of firsts for the Black Sticks, but the question remains whether they can achieve one more: a maiden Olympic medal.
The Herald talked to some of the main protagonists from an incredible match.
Katie Glynn was whacked across the back of her head in the first half of the semifinal when Ellen Hoog did not notice she had got between her and the ball as she was about to shoot.
Glynn left the field dazed and bloodied and was not expected to return.
At 2-2, with the match on the line, Glynn decided she was more use to the team on the field so returned to the fray, her head in a bandage. It was stirring stuff, one for the annals of NZ sporting bravery. In the end, it was her heart hurting more than her head.
What can you remember about the accident?
"I felt a bit of pain and everything went a little quiet. When I hit the ground it took me a while to get up. I'm [still] a little bit dizzy."
What have been the keys to this team's success at this tournament?
"We are a team that works hard. Just want be there as a group, got ourselves through and worked to the end. We had some self-belief to get where we are."
How tough is it to lose on a shootout? "It is obviously a pretty cruel way, but we've got to be proud of how close we came. Now we pick ourselves up for the bronze."
Along with Kayla Sharland, Stacey Michelsen was the pick of the Black Sticks against the Netherlands and has been consistently good this tournament. Michelsen's ability to consistently beat her marker with superb close control draws in other defenders and creates space for others.
"Obviously it's so disappointing for us but we took it to them and did everything we could," she said. "We missed some opportunities but so did they. It was such an even game so even though we're so disappointed we didn't go through in the end, we never gave up and just kept going."
New Zealand came into this tournament ranked sixth, but have not looked overawed or overmatched against anybody.
"Teams are respecting us. We've improved so much. We are getting closer to the best teams," Michelsen said.
The 21-year-old showed calm beyond her years in the shootout, when she was the only player to beat Joyce Sombroek.
"I knew if I got myself too worked up I'd make a mistake. I tried to go into it calm because if you go in too nervous you could easily make a silly mistake."
Michelsen said there was no chance the team would struggle to raise themselves again for one last match after such a crushing disappointment.
"Come today we'll focus and we'll be really coming out to win the bronze. We won't be still depressed from this game. You don't want to finish on a bad note."
Anita Punt was the last Kiwi to miss in the shootout, dissolving into tears when Hoog subsequently scored to take the Netherlands through to the final. Minutes later she was happy to talk through her thought processes before her ill-fated attempt.
"It's personal preference where you want to go. Until you run out you don't really know what you're going to do. You have a fair idea what you're good at, but it depends on the goalie. If they come out you've got to try to get them down so you can dribble around them. If they stay up, crush it past them. At the time you have to make quick decisions. You feel the pressure because I knew if I missed mine and they got theirs, it was all over. It's just part of the game."
Bianca Russell has been a standout in goal for New Zealand. Filled with emotion and pride with the way the side played, she talks about the key ingredient she believes will earn her side their first Olympic medal.
"We're not lacking in character, this team. When we started this tournament we would have been thrilled to bits with any medal, so we've got to keep everything in perspective. We've got a bit of time to turn it around. Of course, we're going to be disappointed. We're so close to the shiny ones [medals], but any extra jewellery going home is fine by me."
* The Blacks Sticks men beat Argentina 3-1 in their playoff for 9th and 10th last night.
The New Zealand Herald
Australian Women Look to Finish London in Style
Australia will play for pride, but more importantly experience, when they take on Beijing Olympic silver medallists China in a play-off for fifth in London at 8:30pm AEST tonight.
Australia tied with Argentina and New Zealand on points after Pool B games missing out on the semi finals on goal balance for the second Olympic campaign in a row.
China, who lost to the Netherlands in the gold medal-game in Beijing four years ago, failed to progress after finishing third in Pool A behind the Netherlands and Great Britain.
Four years ago China ended Australia’s campaign, when they scored two more goals than Australia in the rounds to progress to the medal rounds, and this time round it has been New Zealand who inflicted the same fate by just one goal.
As painful as the prospect of going without a medal for another four years may be, the composition of the team suggest real optimism for the future.
Australia had one of the youngest and least experienced teams at the Olympics with half the group having played less than 80 Tests and three players, Emily Smith, Anna Flanagan and Georgia Nanscawen, all celebrating their 20th birthday this year.
Ironically it was those three players who provide the greatest optimism for the future with their effervescent play throughout the tournament.
One of our most experienced players in London has been Casey Eastham, the baby of the Beijing team, and she is just 23 years old.
Most of the team veterans are in their early to mid 20s and will be in their prime when Rio de Janeiro comes round in 2016.
Coach Adam Commens has done a phenomenal job fast-tracking a new young group after taking over the coaching job just 18 months ago.
“The future looks great and I would envisage we won’t have more than two or three retirements after the Games which means we have created good depth moving forward,” Commens said.
He said it has been difficult to prepare a team for the Olympics in just 18 months and never expected them to reach their full potential for a few more years.
Captain Madonna Blyth said the players worked hard throughout the two-week campaign be needed to score more goals.
“We didn't have a field-goal scored against us the whole tournament - our defence was very good, but we just couldn't put the goals away,” she said.
Goalkeeper Toni Cronk, the only player with three Olympic campaigns to her credit, said they played their best hockey in their last game against world champions Argentina and to emerge with a draw, and miss out on the medal round, was heart breaking.
“But we'll come together as a group, we're a pretty strong and resilient unit and the next game is important for us to win,” she said.
Australia’s last significant win was at the 2003 Champions’ Trophy.
Hockey Australia media release
India aim to avert bottom finish in Olympic campaign
LONDON: Their reputation in tatters, Indian hockey team would look to salvage at least one victory from their disastrous Olympic Games campaign that has pushed them into a playoff to avert the bottom place finish in the 12-team competition.
India will take on South Africa on Saturday in the playoff to decide the 11th and 12th spots, a match-up similar to that of the 2006 World Cup in Monchengladbach, where India managed to put it across the Southern African rivals to finish 11th.
The Indian team's mental fragility has been exposed during their five league matches that left the jittery and fumbling Indians struggling against opponents, who were determined to leave their mark in the Olympic competition.
India, making a return to the Olympic arena after failing to qualify for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, struggled to find their feet and the players did not show any determination to be combative against opponents who had superior physique and used it effectively to dispossess the Indians.
"We have struggled throughout the tournament. The players are aware that they have not given a good performance of their skills," coach Michael Nobbs said.
"We've occasionally got the basics right and managed to get into the circle, but the finishing has been poor. At the other end, we've continued to concede soft goals," he said.
Nobbs says the Indian team faltered badly where it mattered most.
"Performing at the other events ahead of the Olympics does not matter. This is what was the big stage where we should have played better," Nobbs said.
Only South Africa have conceded more goals than India in their respective preliminary league matches on these Olympics.
But India were the only side not to have secured any point from five group matches, while South Africa had one point to show from a drawn game.
Under the rules for positional play-offs at the Olympic Games, there will be a direct encounter between teams of two pools in similar spots in the respective groups, other than those who advance to the semifinals.
Indian hockey has a mixed bag of memories associated with London. It was in the capital of Great Britain that the hockey team clinched the 1948 Olympic gold medal in what was independent India's first major international sporting achievement.
Thirty-eight years later, when London was the venue of the 1986 World Cup, the Indian team was pushed to the bottom of the 12-team competition, losing the playoff to Pakistan for the last spot.
Pakistan have finished seventh in these Olympics after recalling some other their senior players who had defied directives from the hockey chiefs and featured in the World Series Hockey, a tournament deemed unsanctioned by the International Hockey Federation.
Other than not qualifying for the 2008 Olympics, eight-time gold medallists India's previous lowest position in the Olympic Games, was the eighth place in 1996 at Atlanta.
The Times of India
Sardar should be inspiration for players: Nobbs
India's Sardar Singh in action against South Korea at the Summer Olympics 2012. File photo
India’s hockey players have a role model within their ranks and should look at play-maker Sardar Singh for inspiration, says coach Michael Nobbs.
Sardar has stood out among the fumbling Indian players, continuously feeding the strikers from his centre-half position and also bolstered the defence that has repeatedly shown signs of crumbling under the slightest of pressure.
“Look at Sardar Singh and the effort he puts on the field. Even when things have gone wrong for the team, he has played his heart out,” says Nobbs, facing the enormous task of getting the team spirits up for India’s last match which they need to win to avert a bottom place in the 12-team Olympic Games hockey competition.
Nobbs acknowledged that his players had struggled in India’s return to the Olympic Games after missing out on the qualification for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
The coach said the Indian players had improved their fitness following an extended training programme, but they were unable to produce the game they were capable of.
“Sardar is an exception. Thank God he’s in this team and had played the game expected from someone representing his country,” Nobbs said.
“If only the other players had been inspired by seeing the effort he has put in,” said Nobbs of the star mid—fielder, who made his Olympic Games debut soon after receiving a stinging blow just under his knee during India’s tour of Europe before arriving in London.
But he was back on his feet, training for the Olympic Games within a few days, and never allowed that injury to curb his domination of the midfield.
Nobbs accepts that there is a huge difference in Sardar’s game and those of several others in the team.
As the team continued to suffer one defeat after another, Sardar made a comment that the Indian players seemed to be having some problem in mental conditioning for tournaments of this level.
“If Sardar says it, he is probably right,” said Nobbs, who has also acknowledged that the Indian players did not show the heart for a fight when confronted with rivals who were bigger physically.
Nobbs said he understands Sardar’s frustration at the way things have gone.
“When you have a role model like Sardar in the team, the players ought to be inspired by his presence and his game,” the coach said.
India finished at the bottom of Pool B after losing all five matches. They were the only team not to have gained a single point and had conceded three or more goals in every match.
Under the rules for positional playoffs at the Olympic Games, there will be a direct encounter between the teams of two pools who do not make the semifinals.
South Africa, India’s opponents in the playoff for the 11th and 12th spots on Saturday, were the last-placed team in Pool A. Even South Africa drew one of their five matches to gain a point.
Eight-time gold medallists India’s previous lowest position in the Olympic Games, other than not qualifying for the 2008 Olympics, was the No. 8 finish at Atlanta in 1996.
Indian hockey players cornered, and rated
by Shashank Gupta
Many in the hockey fraternity often rue their sport never gets mass attention. Now they can be sure why it is so. Most Indians followed Olympic hockey like never before and it was right opportunity for Indian hockey to grab its due attention, but as usual it did the reverse.
With news channels, websites and social networking site vie with each other in updating second-by-second info, Indian hockey has got unprecedented visibility during London days -- much higher than the Asian Games, the Commonwealth Games and even the 2010 World Cup. There is no doubt on that.
Therefore, when the Indian team lost 5 out of 5, gave away goals three times more than they scored, there is a valid reason for the nation to be disappointed and disheartened – even dare to discount hockey as a prestigious sport of us.
Before blaming anybody and everybody, it is better to assess each player based on some sound data, when done so, it throws fascinating picture.
It’s a general belief that a player never plays to lose or to say the least, a player always gives his heart out, but the dismal performance and the supporting statistical information, proves otherwise.
A volume of data are provided for analysis in the official sources. This writer used them to derive a performance matrix.
Here are the performances of the forwards: This indicates goal scored/attempts made in first five matches:
Danish Mujtaba (0/2),
Gurwinder Chandi (1/2),
SV Sunil (0/5),
SK Uthappa (0/6)
Total chances for our forwards: 35
Goals scored by forwards: 4
This means, on an average, in each match, our forwards got 7 chances to score field goals and our conversion rate remains a pathetic 0.8 goal per match. Bring in Raghunath (1/5) and Sandeep (1/8) and that makes it a little above 1 goal per match!
The grand total becomes:
Chances to score: 48
Goals scored: 6
Now consider the load that various players have shared:
In 5 matches, Sardar Singh was on the turf full time without a break, i.e. all 70 minutes, each match!
Similarly, Ignace Tirkey was on the field for a whopping 63m per match! This was followed by Raghunath and Sandeep Singh for 38m each. Guess what this means – in the defense, one Ignace is equal to Raghunath plus Sandeep!
In the midfield, Manpreet topped with a crazy 62 minutes, followed by Birendra Lakra (57m) and Gurbaj Singh (39m).
The same figures for the forwards are: Danish Mujtaba (60m), Tushar (56m), Sunil(53m), Shivendra (53m), Dharamvir (52m), SK Uthappa (38m) and Gurwinder Chandi (34m).
Similar statistics for the goalkeepers Chetri and Sreejesh are 45m and 25m, respectively.
What these numbers mean? Ideally, these numbers should have been equally distributed. Check it out! Chandi and Uthappa, have been fielded for much lesser durations in comparison to Danish Mujtaba who was on the field for 60m (on avg.) each match, but created only a petty two chances to score!
Why is there such a big mismatch between Manpreet and Gurbaj? Was our skill-set in the mid-field so skewed that Manpreet plays for 62m, Sardara for 70m and Lakra plays for 57m and Gurbaj plays only half a match? If Gurbaj wasn’t good enough, he shouldn’t have been at London, at the first place!
This certainly puts coach’s use of players under cloud.
A look at the individual games of all the players is surely a heart-breaker: 1) Gurbaj Singh will always try to whack the ball from the right flank, mostly blind ones, leaving someone out there (read, middle flank or left flankers) to rescue it. I sometimes feel even God would not have been at ease to use Gurbaj’s rank bad blinders. He is adept at gifting penalty corners. He gave away a lot. Score: 4/10
2) SV Sunil, otherwise a highly athletic player with immense talent, his work would end as he sprints down with the ball over the back line. As he touches that line, he will release the ball, never sure to whom it will reach. He did that and kept on doing it repeatedly. Score: 5/10
3) Tushar: he would never look up while running, keeps the ball with him for a long time, would release it to another player almost in a hopeless situation. Barring a few instances, where showed his team spirit, Tushar would come so close to the goalpost at the back-line that he himself didn’t know what next can be done now. Score: 5/10
4) V R Raghunath has improved with his defense skills. He was in fact responsible for many clearances and kept on doing the hard work. Compared to a Sandeep Singh, he stands out. However, Raghunath has momentary temperament issues. The consequences were disastrous, he conceded goals for India, and at least India lost its referral only because of his adamant insistence of his claim. He is also guilty of gifting many few penalty corners which are mostly avoidable. Score: 6/10
5) The less is said about Danish Mujtaba, the better it is. His job was to go down the center-lane but could hardly make an entry into the opponent circle. Instead, he failed to trap properly, and on the other hand, kept offering his foot inside the Indian circle. Indian woes kept increasing each time he did so. Score: 1/10
6) It’s high time that the hype that comes along with Sandeep Singh comes to an end. Mere one conversion out of 8 penalty corner is disgusting. He is a normal player and that is where the whole gaga must end! His defending skills have improved but nowhere close to desirable. Score: 2/10
7) Ignace Tirkey, the silent warrior, along with Birendra Lakra, should be honored for clearing so many onslaughts of the opponents with a brave heart. His performance was surely a heart-warming one. One can only hope that the coach would have realized that a single player can’t take that much load as Ignace took. Score: 9/10
8) Birendra Lakra is surely the find of the tournament. He stood between India and rivals, helped reduce our margin of defeat. Score: 8/10
9) Manpreet Singh is extremely talented and many a times was seen putting his heart into blocking many moves and creating penalty corners. Score: 7/10
10) Dharamvir Singh a lighter version of Danish Mujtaba. Score: 3/10
11) During 2010 World Cup, Shivendra Singh was suspended for two games. The hot-selling theory was the Tournament Director, an Australian, contributed his bit for the upcoming match between India v Australia because Shivendra was the sharpest weapon in the Indian armory. Two years on, (mind you that’s not a long time) that theory sounds like a big joke. Shivendra stands guilty of not being able to reach out to any of the passes that were directed towards him. notwithstanding the fact, many passes were far from perfect ones, but on the rest, Shivendra couldn’t do even what an upstart college-level player would have done. Score: 1/10
12) Although, Chetri showed character in many saves, but there are certain angles where he has no clue whatsoever, about the direction in which the ball would fly for instance. The response time by Chetri at the penalty corners was unacceptable. Score: 5/10
13) Whatever little time Sreejesh was fielded in each match, he showed his class. If he goes like this, India has a very good option in him. Score: 8/10
14) India remains too dependent on Sardar Singh. Apart from the maintaining the high-bar that he is set out for himself, many a times, he struggled in controlling the midfield, not because of any lack of skills, but because of a strong opponent, who made sure that the other mid-fielders and forwards are out of reach of Sardar. Europeans seemed to have learnt how to render him ineffective. Sadly, our coach had no answer when Sardara’s wings were thus clipped – that happened in almost all games. Score: 7/10
15) Uthappa’s in-experience showed up as he kept missing simple hits in the circle. If a raw and talented player like him can’t match up to the high pressure situation like this, why was he there at all? He should have had much more exposure than what he got before being selected to Olympics. Score: 3/10
16) One always felt Gurwinder Chandi fared better than a Shivendra, a Danish, a Dharamvir or a Sunil. Why coach showed more faith in failing forwards than this promising youngster, remains a mystery. Score: 7/10
Unfortunately, Indian players crime list on the field – random passing, no concept of one-touch deflection, poor trapping, poor finishing, no game plans, no counter-plans – is endless.
Most hockey fans wonder why the team went there at the first place when they had to eventually contest for the 11 place (out of 12 contestants)! They wasted our time and energy and theirs too!
Balbir Singh Senior: The performance of the Indian hockey team has shocked me
Balbir Singh Senior is an iconic veteran star of hockey, one of the champions who steered India to a flurry of gold medals in past Olympics and the first Indian to have been awarded the Padma Shri in the sports category in 1957. Speaking with Arun Sharma, Singh discussed why the Indian team performed so poorly at the London Olympics, the condition of Indian hockey today - and how he figured in the Olympics buzz this year too:
You've been to the London Olympics 2012 - please tell us about your trip?
I have been selected to be a part of the 16 all-time great sportspersons of the world. I was accorded the rare honour of representing the Olympic story in an exhibition titled 'The Olympic Journey: The Story of the Games' at the Royal Opera House in London from July 28 to August 12. I am the only hockey player in the world to be chosen among 15 other iconic sportspersons such as Jesse Owens of America. It is a real privilege and all thanks to my parents, family, coaches, teachers, teammates and well-wishers. I gratefully share this honour with them all.
However, Indian hockey fans are shattered by our team's current performance, the worst in many years. Could you explain India's hockey debacle?
Well, hockey is my first love and the performance of the Indian team has shocked me. I am yet to recover from it.
First of all though, there is no quick-fix solution to set things in order. A solution has to be initiated from the grassroots level, like cricket is organised. Currently, our attack is very weak and in defence too, our players fail to know whom to watch. Our thwarting action is also poor. I do have plans to help improve the situation but won't discuss that now.
Could you tell us a few reasons outside the team's way of playing that also impacts hockey in India?
Well, for one, there are two parallel national bodies here and secondly, talented players are more interested in money-earning sports today. To some extent, cricket has overshadowed the game while administrative rows have also taken their toll.
However, on the upside, it is encouraging to note that of late, financial incentives in hockey are increasing gradually and there are many young children interested in the game. They should be encouraged.
How did you get into hockey?
Hockey was the main sport at my school, the Dev Samaj High School in Moga. The school hockey field was about four yards in front of my house - hence, the love i deve-loped for this fascinating game was natural. I started in the game first as a keeper and in grade nine, i moved ahead as a deep defender. I went on to play in several tournaments, including three Olympics and two Asian Games.
Later, I was made chief coach by IOA president Raja Bhalindra Singh. In 1975, i was appointed manager only a day before the team left for the World Cup which India won. I have learnt that in life, nothing is easy. Extreme sacrifice and hard work were involved.
But your efforts, both at playing and coaching, paid off?
Well, we won three gold medals in three Olympics - 1948, 1952 and 1956. It was all thanks to my hardworking teammates.
The Times of India
Indian hockey hits its nadir
Indian hockey’s dismal performance at the London Olympics is an unexpected result which none of us could have anticipated.
With Michael Nobbs at the helm, I thought this was a step towards building a good team and expected them to play at least for the 5-6th places. But after watching their first match against the Dutch, I had my doubts.
The lack of a potent forward line was visibile in that match which became our bane at these Games as we went on to lose all our group stage games.
It’s a shame that we lost so badly after getting a chance to play at these Olympics since our last appearance in 2004.
After such a beating, I would say that Indian hockey has hit the nadir and will have to start from zero.
The other problem area I observed was that we focused on playing defensive hockey. We have opted those tricks of European hockey that was good for them, but not for us.
We have stopped finding, grooming and fine tuning the breed of attacking players, opportunists and schemers. And the result is in front of our eyes in the form of this debacle.
Let me also say that these shortcomings have not surfaced right now. For me, the alarm bells rang when we lost 0-8 to Australia in the final of the Commonwealth Games in 2010.
We should have alerted ourselves to the deficiencies. But we have got ourselves into the habit of hype. We win tournaments featuring two to four teams and play it up. And the world thinks these are the best players in the world when it’s not so.
Another area of concern for me is the selection of players. I fail to understand the continuous entry and exit of players like Rajpal Singh, Prabjot Singh and Deepak Thakur.
The selectors also need to answer why a mediocre player like Sandeep Singh is in the squad and why Ignace Tirkey and Gurwinder Singh Chandi have been included at the last minute.
I remember preparing for the 1976 Games on a field from which the grass was shaved off and dung applied so as to give an idea of the fast astroturf surface.
Players today have the facilities and funds at their disposal. However, they seem to have lost the focus of their primary job, playing hockey.
That’s where, probably, a coach or a manager, could have stepped in as a mentor and helped the youngsters from being swayed away by other things. But that’s not the case any more.
Ashok Kumar is a former Olympian and son of legendary Dhyan Chand. He spoke to Surender Negi
The Asian Age
Olympian Kindo demands removal of India hockey coach Nobbs
Upset over India's disastrous show at the London Games, Olympian Michael Kindo today demanded removal of coach Michael Nobbs immediately for openly slamming players when they were midway through the Games.
"While I feel very sorry for the players, I did not like Nobbs’ negative views after the team lost a couple of matches. The job of a coach is to motivate players and get then ready for the next one without dissecting the results of the lost one," Kindo, a member of the bronze medal winning team in the 1972 Munich Olympics, said.
"But (instead) Nobbs criticised the players, so he should be sacked forthwith," added the 1975 World Cup winning team member.
Still waiting to taste a win in the 12-team tournament in the ongoing Olympics, India would now play for the last two positions.
"How sad, to watch India playing for the last two positions, the worst performance by us in the Olympic hockey history, as the winner of maximum eight gold medals and ending up at the bottom simultaneously,” he said.
Advocating early merger of Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation, Kindo expressed disappointment at leaving out some good players from selection for the Olympic team just because they had played World Hockey Series.
"In the interest of the players and to revive the glorious days, both Hockey India and IHF should merge without any more delay," Kindo added.
Pillay blames politics for debacle
Hockey stalwart Dhanraj Pillay, on Thursday, blamed poor selection and lack of commitment from the players for the Indian team’s debacle in the London Olympics.
According to Pillay, the players should have played with a lot more responsibility. “It has never happened that we’ve had five consecutive losses. The players have to be blamed for this. If not 100 per cent, they should have given at least their 40-50 per cent in every match,” said Pillay during the ‘Cheer for Champions’ panel discussion.
Pillay said the players should not have made tall claims before going to the Olympics. He alleged some main players were not selected due to politics.
“The country is losing because of the fight between Hockey India (HI) and the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF),” he said.
The famed striker said it was high time the Union Sports Ministry took the final call. “The HI and IHF officials should be called together and a new federation should be formed. Hockey players should be included in the administration of the sport,” he said.
‘Tried our best’
Speaking about her journey at the London Olympics, badminton player Ashwini Ponappa said she and her doubles partner G. Jwala had given their best.
“Our first match was bad. But the second and third matches were good. Japan was supposed to beat Chinese Taipei. If that had happened, we would have become second (and qualified). Unfortunately, it was pre-decided. They (Japan) had the easier option of losing (to Chinese Taipei) so that they could meet China at a later stage,” said Ashwini.
Ashwini expressed her disapproval of the group format in the Olympics and expressed hoped that it would be rectified in future.
Former India cricket captain Dilip Vengsarkar, prominent footballer I.M. Vijayan and cricketer Anjum Chopra stressed on the importance of crowd support for any sportsperson. “In the 1983 World Cup final, even after being bowled out for 183, we won because of crowd support. Lots of Indians based in England cheered us,” said Vengsarkar.
Anjum said crowd support was an “external motivation which helps when a player is a little down.”
Pillay said cheering spectators in the stands always enhanced the confidence of a player, while Ashwini recalled how she enjoyed performing before the home crowd during the 2010 CWG.
A survey report, TenVicks Report: Measuring India’s Cheer Quotient, was released on the occasion. According to the survey, 14 per cent sportspersons believed that Indian people stood by them even when they were losing as compared to 42 per cent in England and 36 per cent in Australia.
I want to be part of hockey administration: Pillay
NEW DELHI: Putting the blame squarely on the long-standing power struggle between Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation for the death of the national game, former captain Dhanraj Pillay on Thursday expressed his keen desire to join the administration of the sport.
Dhanraj said he was appalled by the dismal performance of the Indian hockey team in the London Olympics, where the eight-time champions finished their group campaign with an all-loss record and will now play South Africa for 11-12 spot classification match on Saturday.
"Indian hockey is dying because of the ego clash between HI and IHF. Since the start of the Olympic Games in 1936, we never lost five matches on the trot," said the mercurial striker, who played in four Olympics (1992, 1996, 2000, 2004).
"If HI continues to rule Indian hockey, our performance will not improve in the next five years. There is plenty of politics in our country and I am a victim of politics. If not for politics I could have played another Olympics."
He called on Sports Minister Ajay Maken to solve the dispute between HI and IHF and said sportspersons should play an integral role in the administration of sports federations in the country.
"It's high time the Sports Minister should take a final call now. He should dissolve both HI and IHF and form a new unified body which should have sportspersons in it. I am ready to be part of it. I want to be in the administration (of hockey)," Pillay said.
Insisting that foreign coach is not a necessity in Indian hockey, Pillay also held the players responsible for the shoddy performance of the team in London.
"Indian hockey doesn't need foreign coach," Pillay said, pointing fingers at Australian Michael Nobbs.
"Having said that players should also take the blame. Just before the Olympics, Sandeep Singh said he is eyeing to score 2-3 goals in every match, but he failed to give his 100 per cent in a single game.
"A player is never above the game," he said during the unveiling of a survey report -- "TenVicks Report: Measuring India's Cheer Quotient".
Pillay said shoddy selection policy also played a part in the debacle as the national selectors ignored six to seven senior players -- Arjun Halappa, Vikram Pillay, Rajpal Singh, Deepak Thakur, Prabhjot Singh and others -- from the London-bound team.
The Times of India
An Olympic legacy
By Jugjet Singh
THE family's Olympic torch was first lit by his father in Tokyo 1964, and Stephen van Huizen went on savour his own moment in Los Angeles 1984 to continue the legacy.
"My father (Lawrence) played in the 1964 Olympics and it inspired me to follow in his footsteps. As he always said 'once an Olympian, always an Olympian'," said Stephen.
And Stephen still leads the strict life of an athlete, even after going on to coach the Malaysian hockey team in Sydney 2000.
"It is a totally different feeling when one plays or coaches in the Olympics. It opens the mind to a different perspective and the moment is to savour for life. Nobody can take the Olympian feeling out of you," said Stephen.
His moment as a player was being in the stadium watching Carl Lewis winning the 100 metres in 9.99s in Los Angeles, and then as a coach, he got a photo opportunity with Muhammad Ali at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics Games Village.
Stephen played and coached hockey at every level, continuing the tradition of the Van Huizen hockey pedigree.
He was captain of the 1979 Junior World Cup in Paris, played for Malaysia in the 1982 and 1986 Asian Games, 1984 Olympics and 1982 World Cup. He reached the pinnacle of his playing career by captaining the team to the 1986 Asian Games.
As a coach, he was assistant to Terry Walsh at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, to Volker Knapp at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and 1998 World Cup, and to Paul Lissek in the 1998 Commonwealth Games and 2002 World Cup.
He was the national coach for the 1998 Asian Games and 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Today, he is glued to his television set after working hours.
"Of course I watch hockey a lot, but this time, I also surprised myself by being an avid fan of archery and beach volleyball.
"Archery was never a favourite until I saw how difficult it was to hit the bullseye and win by one arrow. The gold medallists have nerves of steel and this impressed me.
"Beach volleyball is a crowd favourite in London, and one needs to be very fit to be able to lay their hands on the Olympic gold medal," said Stephen.
Stephen is featured in NSTP's "Honouring Our Olympians -- A Visual Tribute" ongoing exhibition at Bangsar Shopping Centre.
New Straits Times
Paragon keeps faint hopes alive
The outcome of two disciplinary matters involving newly crowned champions Notre Dame, which is before the T&T Olympic Committee, has kept Paragon’s slim hopes of lifting the T&T Hockey Board Women’s Championship Division alive. Paragon whipped Shandy Carib Magnolias 5-3 at the National Hockey Centre, Tacarigua, on Wednesday night. Avion Ashton scored in the 12th and 65th minutes, while Zene Henry (27th), Alanna Lewis (30th) and Kristin Thompson (52nd) added one each as Paragon led 3-0 at the half-time interval. For Magnolias, whose position in the title race is also dependent on the decisions taken by the Disciplinary Committee, veteran Stacey Siu Butt got a double (49th & 59th) after Brianna Govia had reduced the score to 3-1 in the 46th minute. The win improved Paragon to 25 points and two matches left against Defence Force and Harvard Maritime Checkers, while leaders Notre Dame has 31 points with matches left against Checkers and Defence Force.
Should the Dames lose the three points from the win over Magnolias which is under protest, it will be reduced to 28 points and need victory over Defence Force to be certain of the title. The table leader also has a matter before the Disciplinary Committee involving Checkers, but could still afford to lose that match and win the title, providing it beats Defence Force handsomely. Magnolias, can still catch the top two, but must get the protest result in its favour, win its two matchesand hope the top two falter. The men’s title is expected to go down to the wire when joint-leaders, reigning champion Petrotrin, faces off with “Big-Four” winners, Paragon. Currently, Petrotrin and Paragon, both have 30 points from 12 and 13 matches respectively while the Oilmen, who also has a match against third placed Defence Force also have a superior goal-difference of plus-40 to Paragon’s plus-34. Defence Force has 27 points with two matches remaining but must beat the Oilmen and Paradise, then hope for a draw result between the top two teams when they face off.
Paragon 5 (Avion Ashton 12th, 65th, Zene Henry 27th, Alanna Lewis 30th, Kristin Thompson 52nd) vs Magnolias 3 (Stacey Siu Butt 49th, 59th, Brianna Govia 46th)
Teams P W D L F A Pts
Petrotrin 12 10 0 2 62 22 30
Paragon 13 10 0 3 57 23 30
D/Force 12 9 0 3 37 23 27
QPCC 13 8 0 5 59 35 24
N Dame 13 6 1 6 24 30 19
Fatima 12 2 1 9 34 62 7
Paradise 12 1 3 8 19 69 6
Malvern 13 1 1 11 17 48 4
N Dame 12 10 1 1 51 10 31
Paragon 12 8 1 3 39 17 25
Malvern 13 7 2 4 37 26 23
Magnolias 12 6 3 3 34 18 21
Checkers 10 6 1 3 16 7 19
Ventures 12 3 1 8 19 35 10
D/Force 9 1 0 8 4 39 3
Paradise 12 0 1 11 4 46 1
The Trinidad Guardian
Hockey fraternity holds vigil for President Mills
The Ghana Hockey fraternity held a memorial service to celebrate the life of the late President John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills at the Hockey Stadium in Accra on Wednesday evening.
It was attended by Regional Associations and the various hockey clubs who took turns to read their tributes to the late President.
The Minister of Energy, Mr. Oteng Adjei, urged the association to carry on with the legacy he left behind by making his plans for the sport a reality. He advised them to uphold the qualities of late Prof. Mills to serve as example for the youth in the sport.
International Hockey Federation (FIH) and the African Hockey Federation (AfHF) also said the late President was a friend, an ally, a mentor, an inspiration and a great personality who served his country and the hockey world selflessly and with distinction.
Oko-Nikoi Dzani, the President of the Ghana Hockey Association, said the late President touched many lives which had resulted in the emotional and mourning state of everyone.
The Veterans Hockey Club which the President was a member also said, on the hockey pitch, he was a stalwart striker who was feared by opposing keepers.
They described him as the gentlest of all souls although he was a Professor and taxation expert adding that “his Kindness to the youngsters in the club knew no bounds as he served duty, first as a Team Manager and later as Club President.”
Tributes were also received from the Citizens Hockey Club, Veteran Hockey Ladies Association, Multistix, juveniles in hockey, Security Services (SESSA) hockey teams and NDK Financiers Hockey Club.
The gathering was entertained by hymns sung by the Tema Youth Choir. Prior to the service, the Senior and Under-21 male and female teams played a testimonial match to honour their departed mentor.