All the news for Saturday 11 August 2012 - Men's finals day at the London 2012 Olympics.
South Africa hand wooden spoon to India
Disappointing competition for former Olympic powerhouse
2012 Olympic Games (men), London (Photo: Grant Treeby)
(11th-12th) South Africa vs. India: 3-2 (half-time: 2-1)
South Africa went ahead in the 8th minute of play and never relinquished the lead, pushing back India into last place of the competition.
South Africa opened the scoring early by Andrew Cronje, finding the ball in a wild goalmouth scramble in front of PR Sreejesh in goal for India today, before Sandeep Singh equalized on penalty-corner, only his second goal of the tournament. His weak performance on the set-play, India’s most potent weapon in recent past, has certainly contributed to the Indian poor results in this competition.
Play was balanced and lively for the remainder of the period, with both teams launching spectacular runs with the ball. Sardar Singh gave glimpses of his immense class and Danish Mujtaba twice shot from close range, but Erasmus Pieterse was up to the task in the South African goal. It was finally Timothy Drummond who managed to break the deadlock, shovelling the ball under the Indian keeper in the final minute of the period to give South Africa a one-goal lead, and momentum, going into the halftime break.
Play resumed as animated in second period. Indian keeper PR Sreejesh had to clean-up a few times behind his permeable defense while Erasmus Pieterse was having a phenomenal match for South Africa, saving huge shots from SV Sunil and Dharamvir Singh. The match switched to overdrive in the final minutes, with goals from Lloyd Norris-Jones, receiving a gem ball from Wade Paton and slamming it in goal, before a goal by Dharamvir Singh reduced the gap to one goal.
India had a late desperate surge, but it was too little and certainly too late and they finished this competition with the wooden spoon, a far cry from their pre-Games expectation, when Captain Bharat Chetri was optimistically talking about a semi-final berth. South Africa finished 11th, one spot higher than their entry ranking. They will take away some strong performances against Great Britain (2-2), Spain (2-3) and Pakistan (4-5).
For more information on RSA v IND, click here.
SA men's hockey finish 11th
Andrew Cronje in action for the SA men's hockey team. Gallo
The South African men's hockey team ended their Olympic campaign on a high after beating India 2-1 in the teams' 11th/12th playoff classification match at the Riverbank Arena in London on Saturday.
The win sees them finish 11th overall, lifting themselves off the bottom of the pecking order and restoring some pride in the national side as they defeated India for the first time in a major international tournament.
SA suffered a poor campaign, after finishing with a single point, after playing to a 2-2 draw with Great Britain in their second match of pool A, but losing four fixtures in their pool.
The South Africans opened the scoring through Andrew Cronje seven minutes into the tie, after the veteran defender put the ball into the net following a goal-mouth scuffle.
India hit back soon after, as Sandeep Singh scored from a penalty corner (PC), beating South African goalkeeper Rassie Pieterse with a rocketed effort.
The match seemed destined to stay level going into the half-time break, but a superb effort from Timothy Drummond saw the South African take the lead with two minutes to the half-time siren.
The second period started slowly, but not without action as Pieterse made a number of breath-taking saves to keep his side in the lead.
After a solid first half where he was unlucky not to score, SA striker Lloyd Norris-Jones stretched his team's lead to two, as he slotted home past Indian keeper Sreejesh Parattu Raveendran.
India once again hit back straight away, with Dharamvir Singh putting India back into the game after he beat Pieterse to claw one back to 3-2.
Singh had the final say, as the scores remained the same following a nervy final five minutes where SA had to keep their heads to see out the clash.
India lose to SA, finish 12th
South Africa gave the finishing touches to India’s disastrous campaign in the Olympic men’s hockey competition with a 3-2 win in the classification match for 11-12 positions here Saturday.
India thus ended their worst-ever Olympics in 12th position after failing to win or draw any of their six matches, five of them in the league.
Though the Indians showed some purpose against the South Africans, their overall performance in the match was no improvement on their showing in the previous outings.
A weak defence yet again allowed the South Africans to score through Andrew Cronje (8th), Timothy Drummond (33rd) and Lloyd Norris-Jones (64th) while Sandeep Singh converted a penalty corner in the 14th and Dharmavir Singh (66th) reduced the margin for India.
For India, it was a most forgettable Olympics outing that was preceded by much hype after winning the qualifying tournament at home in Delhi for the Games while South Africa achieved their first-ever win against India in a major international tournament.
The first-half proceedings, the three goals notwithstanding, were largely pedestrian with neither side able to establish supremacy or dictate the flow.
The game began rather ominously for India whose defender Manpreet Singh was stretchered out after being hit on the side of the head when he ran into the swinging stick of Lloyd Norris-Jones in the very fourth minute.
A key member of the midfield, Manpreet, however, returned to the field for the second-half after medication and a huge bandage around his head.
South Africa dominated the early minutes and struck in the eighth when Julian Hykes latched on to a long ball into the circle and essayed a push that a diving goalkeeper Sreejesh stopped, but the ball slipped from underneath and a lurking Cronje pushed home.
The lead lasted a mere six minutes as India forced their first penalty corner that Sandeep Singh converted with a low and firm drag-flick past goalkeeper Erasmus Pieterse.
Thereafter, the ball swung from end to end, but with both teams being error prone, the exchanges never looked to result in any goal and so it proved to be.
In the last 10 minutes before the break, the teams showed some urgency and India had a couple of scoring chances, but failed to convert. Rather, the Indians were reduced to 10 men two minutes from half-time with defender Ramachandra Raghunath receiving a yellow card suspension.
The South Africans took advantage of the situation and found the net for the second time through Drummond who put home a Jonathan Robinson pass with about 90 seconds left on the clock.
On resumption, the pace picked up noticeably with both teams putting together some fast attacks, but goalkeepers Sreejith and Pieterse were in their elements to bring off several good saves to keep the score-line pegged at 2-1.
India, besides wasting two gilt-edged chances from open play, failed to convert two penalty corners as Sandeep Singh’s attempts were parried by Pieterse.
The lapses were punished as South Africa struck a third time, Norris-Jones converting a Wade-Paton pass before India hit back at the other end with Dharmavir flicking in Shivendra Singh’s pass.
London 2012 Olympic Games - Hockey Competition Results
Friday 10 August
Classification Time Match Result
11/12 08:30 Belgium vs. USA 2-1
5/6 11:30 China vs. Australia 0-2
Bronze 15.30 New Zealand vs. Great Britain 1-3
Gold 20:00 Netherlands vs. Argentina 2-0
London 2012 Olympic Games – Hockey Competition (Women) Classification
3. Great Britain
4. New Zealand
10. South Africa
Dutch delight as they have golden touch once more
Argentina again the bridesmaids after titanic tussle at the Riverbank Arena
Paumen celebrates her stunning goal (Photo: Frank Uijlenbroek)
Gold Medal Match: Netherlands vs Argentina 2-0 (half-time: 0-0)
The Netherlands painted the Riverbank Arena orange as they emulated the feat of four years ago in Beijing, winning the Olympic final 2-0 having been locked at 0-0 at the interval. That time it was China in Beijing; this time around, Argentina were the victims of a truly dominant performance after the break in London that did the damage as the South Americans could struggled to gain enough possession to cause a threat after an even first half showing could not separate the sides.
Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel put the Netherlands in front with a sharp penalty corner rebound from Eva de Goede’s low drag-flick before Maartje Paumen provided the games enduring image. Goal-less throughout the group stages, she fired two vital semi-final goals and her second killed off any Argentine hope. The manner in which she did it was suitably spectacular, picking out the top corner with a truly thunderous drag-flick. From there, the Dutch were never likely to offer up a lifeline and they played out the closing quarter with the constant support of the orange hordes in the stands.
It left Carlos Retegui and his side devastated after another near miss, their fourth successive medal but the gold still eludes. Among their number was Luciana Aymar whose silver makes her Argentina’s greatest ever-female Olympian and the first woman to medal in four Olympic hockey tournaments. But her 35thbirthday will remain a bitter memory as she was consoled at length by her team-mates.
Chances were at a premium in the first half as both sides probed for openings but the two defences were on top for the most part. In a rousing opening, the Dutch did get two early sights, Eva de Goede’s reverse and a Naomi Van As baseline run wreaking havoc with Jonker hovering around in front of Florencia Mutio’s goalmouth.
Delfina Merino and Florencia Habif combined to win the first corner that Noel Barrionuevo fired wide and Rosario Lucchetti reversed over from another decent chance. Late in the half, the pendulum swung back the Dutch direction but they were unable to cash in on either of their penalty corners, charging one Maartje Paumen flick down while her second, on the half-time hooter, rebounded to Van As but her near post shot was comfortably stopped by Mutio.
The second half was more clear-cut, however, as the Dutch earned a string of corners. From the fourth, the Dutch went ahead though Argentina felt they should have had a free in the build-up, arguing at length, though any review was barred as their claims fell outside the 25-metre line.
Dirkse van der Heuvel duly popped in the rebound from the subsequent corner. Argentina did respond immediately, earning their only corner of the half but Silvina D’Elia’s effort was charged down, allowing the Dutch to counter at pace. And soon after, Paumen had her moment, going past Alyson Annan’s prior record of 13 Olympic goals in the most emphatic way possible, taking gold with it.
For more information on NED vs ARG, click here
Bronze for Great Britain as they rock the Riverbank
Trio of corners ends New Zealand's hopes despite their best ever Olympic Games
Great Britain celebrate their bronze medal win (Photo: Stanislas Brochier)
Bronze medal match: New Zealand vs Great Britain 1-3 (half-time: 0-0)
Great Britain claimed their first women’s Olympic medal since 1992 as their penalty corner machine put paid to New Zealand’s brave efforts, themselves producing their best ever performance at the Games.
The hosts pulled all their switches out of the bag for Alex Danson, Crista Cullen and Sarah Thomas to all chip in gleefully received second half goals. In doing so, they recorded their second medal since women’s hockey was brought into the Games in 1980.
The first-half ended scoreless with Britain setting most of the tempo but struggling to find their forward runners in the circle. When they did, Hannah MacLeod and Alex Danson raised the crowd’s decibel levels, winning a couple of corners but Bianca Russell produced two decent saves to keep out Crista Cullen.
New Zealand, meanwhile, were lively down the right flank with Krystal Forgesson creating a couple of chances. From Stacey Michelsen’s lay-off, she struck the outside of the goal while she found Cullen’s foot to win her side’s only corner a minute before the break. The deflection move between Clarissa Eshuis and Charlotte Harrison did not quite connect.
And the bruised Katie Glynn – her stitch-protecting head-gear developing a fan club of its own – came within centimetres of earning the lead 40 seconds into the second half.
Cathryn Finlayson’s left wing charge bounced her way and she wrong-footed Beth Storry but the ball bounced onto the face of the post just as the kiwi striker began to celebrate.
From there, however, GB were in the box seat and a wealth of second half penalty corners eventually took their toll. Danson won her side’s third from which the wide push-out created a brilliant angle for captain Kate Walsh to push to the flick spot where Danson was sliding in. Her touch was perfect and created a lead her side were not to relinquish.
The game was made safe with two more corner goals between the 59th and 63rd minutes as Cullen took the direct route and, amid a whirlwind phase, MacLeod won a corner which Walsh again located a deflector, this time Sarah Thomas on the mark.
New Zealand got a consolation when Michelsen tipped in an Eshuis’ drive. Their tournament performance proved the biggest rise from one tournament to the next, jumping from 12th in 2008 in Beijing to fourth this time round – a result which also lifts them to third in the world rankings.
But this was GB’s party in front of their raucous fans, equaling their best ever Olympic result as the union jacks waved proudly.
For more information on NZL vs GBR, click here
Hockeyroos edge China for 5th place
Belgium leave wooden spoon to USA
2012 Olympic Games (women), London (Photo: Stanislas Brochier)
(5th-6th) China vs. Australia: 0-2 (half-time: 0-0)
Battle for 5th place was a tight fight, but Australia were slightly better at converting their chances.
In front of another capacity crowd of 16,000 spectators enjoying the hockey and the sunshine, China slightly dominated possession in the early stages of the match, but there was no danger whatsoever for the longest time for either goalkeeper, Toni Cronk for Australia and Zhang Yimeng in her bright pink jersey for China.
China could not take advantage of a series of penalty-corners, weakly taken, and the best opportunity of the first twenty minutes was for Megan Rivers, receiving the ball with space at the top of the circle but shooting just wide. Georgia Nanscawen was very active around the circle, creating chances for her teammates, and on a penalty-corner Anna Flanagan thought that she had scored, but the goal was called back after a video-referral.
Madonna Blyth then Jade Close had strong, but unsuccessful, attempts on goal and the two teams were still tied at 0-0 going into the half-time break, despite a last second penalty-corner for Australia.
Anna Flanagan scored again on a penalty-corner early in second period, but China appealed again to the video-umpire and the goal was denied again... The crowd was getting annoyed by the constant arguing of the Chinese players, but they could not talk their way out of a penalty-stroke in the 41st minute, superbly converted by Jodie Schulz to finally open the scoring.
Australia were now camping in the Chinese half and had a handful of penalty-corners but they could not manage to beat Zhang Yimeng in goal, leaving themselves exposed to the Chinese counter-attacks. On one of them, Li Hongxia found Song Qingling in the circle but her shot crashed on the post with the keeper beaten. Australia had another scare on a Ma Yibo penalty-corner and finally gave themselves some breathing room when Jade Close received the ball in the circle and slammed it in goal with 10 minutes to go.
Australia finished in 5th place, higher than their entry ranking of 7th. They will however regret the opening day defeat by New Zealand (0-1) that made the difference for semi-final qualification.
China, with inconsistent results in this competition, finished 6th, one spot lower than their entry ranking, a far cry from their silver medal performance in Beijing.
For more information on CHN v AUS, click here.
(11th-12th) Belgium vs. USA: 2-1 (half-time: 1-1)
Playing in their first ever Olympic competition, Cinderella Belgium overcame an early USA goal to finish with a 2-1 win and a strong performance considering their World ranking of 16th.
The USA were quick off the mark and Paige Selenski opened the scoring in the 7th minute of play, shooting after a decisive circle penetration then coolly picking up the clearance from a defender to slam it in the roof of the net.
Charlotte de Vos had a strong shot on goal soon after but it was well paraded by Amy Tran-Swensen in the American goal, before Alix Gerniers capped a period of Belgian domination with a swift run around the USA defense and a sudden reverse shot past Tran for the equalizer.
The USA had a series of penalty-corners and tried various strikers but the half-time break was reached with the score tied at 1-1.
In second period, both teams decided to play an open attacking game for their last appearance on the Olympic scene and goalkeepers were called into action at both ends. Shannon Taylor thought that she had scored for the USA but a Belgian video-referral proved that there was a foul, and it was Erica Coppey who finally broke the deadlock for Belgium, finding the ball in a furious goalmouth scramble that followed a messed-up penalty-corner.
Desperate to tie the score, the USA replaced their goal-keeper with an additional field player with 8 minutes to go, an unusual move. Their gambit nearly backfired on the first Belgium attack before kicking-back Lauren Crandall managed to clear her circle. However, even with the additional player, they never managed to pressure enough a Belgian defense throwing everything in the ring to protect their narrow lead.
Belgium, the Cinderella of the competition, finished 11th for their first Olympic appearance. They were never outplayed and surprised many observers when they tied much higher ranked China (0-0) and Japan (1-1).
The USA finished with the wooden spoon; they were certainly hoping for a better conclusion, especially after defeating World Champions Argentina (1-0) on the second day of Olympic competition.
For more information on BEL v USA, click here.
Dutch double on as women win hockey gold
The Netherlands team celebrate during the victory ceremony at the Riverbank Arena. -Photo by Reuters
LONDON: The Netherlands won their second successive women’s Olympic hockey gold by beating world champions Argentina 2-0 on Friday with both goals scored from second-half penalty corners.
The Dutch netted from their third corner in the 45th minute through Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel’s rebound and nine minutes later Maartje Paumen got their second to wrap up the victory.
The two sides had largely cancelled each other out in the first half but the Dutch took control after the break – leaving Argentina hardly any space to threaten.
“We saved the best for last. We were so on the ball, so aggressive. Crazy,” said Naomi van As, who already won gold in Beijing.
“Maartje and me, we looked at each other during the break and I said to her ‘we’re going to grab it’. We dominated.”
So they did in the second half. Argentina keeper Florencia Mutio saved Paumen’s direct shot but had no chance with Van den Heuvel’s rebound.
That set the sea of orange fans roaring and a Dutch brass band picking up their tunes before Paumen scored with a hard drag flick just below the crossbar from a penalty corner.
Paumen, who scored 11 times at the Beijing Games, has an Olympic record total of 14 goals, though the Dutch skipper had not scored in London until the semi-final against New Zealand when she grabbed two penalty corner goals that kept her side in the tournament after they trailed twice.
“I promised. I told you that the goals were coming when they matter,” a beaming Paumen said, wearing her gold medal.
“Four years ago it was also an amazing feeling. It’s amazing again now. Four years ago I was another player. Both are really great, but this (medal) is bigger and heavier.”
Max Caldas, the Dutch coach, said the victory showed his side’s global dominance.
“The girls made a commitment to be better than better,” Caldas said.
“To be the best in the world is better than to be world champion. To be world champion, you do it only once and to be the best in the world you do it every day. My girls are amazing.”
The Dutch victory again shattered Argentina captain Luciana Aymar’s dream of achieving her first Olympic title.
But the record seven-times world player of the year, who celebrated her 35th birthday on Friday, refused to rule out that she would come back trying for Olympic gold at Rio in 2016.
Aymar, who has won every major title except Olympic gold, had said as recently as last week she would retire from international hockey.
Asked after the match about her plans, however, she said repeatedly she just did not know.
“I don’t know. It’s going to be extremely difficult not to find me on the pitch again.”
Wrapped in an Argentine flag Aymar, who was in tears when she took the lap of honour, quickly picked herself up again as her team encircled her to celebrate the silver medal and her career.
“I decided to overcome my sadness and celebrate that we had won silver,” Aymar said.
Earlier, hosts Britain beat New Zealand 3-1 to take bronze, their first Olympic medal in 20 years, winning a match played mostly in midfield in which all the goals came from set-piece penalty corners, just like in the final.
Britain, who came sixth in Beijing and failed to qualify for Athens, showed fighting spirit throughout the tournament, not least when their captain Kate Walsh broke her jaw in the team’s first match.
Walsh came back to play six days later, having had a titanium plate inserted, but could not save her side from a semi-final defeat to Argentina.
Britain seemed to have digested that setback better than New Zealand, who lost to the Netherlands in a penalty shootout, and New Zealand captain Kayla Sharland said some of her players had not taken the bronze medal match seriously enough.
“I’ve lost my voice in the last 10 minutes shouting and celebrating it. This means everything,” said Britain’s Ashleigh Ball.
“This is what it’s all about. To put in a performance when it mattered and come away with bronze, we’re just over the moon.”
Netherlands retain title and beat world champions
The Netherlands beat world champion Argentina 2-0 at Riverbank Arena. Photo / Brett Phibbs
The Netherlands retained its women's Olympic field hockey title by controlling the second half to beat world champion Argentina 2-0 at Riverbank Arena.
The Dutch scored off two penalty corners after the break to join Australia as the only three-time Olympic champions.
At the final whistle, the Dutch celebrated with a mass hug in their circle after shutting down one final Argentina attack.
Winners of all seven of their games, they gave the Dutch men's team extra incentive to record the first-ever Olympic double when it meets Germany in that final on Saturday.
The women's final between the world's best two teams was riveting for being tight rather than breathtaking until Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel scored from a rebound off Eva de Goede's corner in the 40th minute.
Then the Dutch turned rampant, and after captain Maartje Paumen had a corner saved in the 53rd for the second time, the specialist didn't miss her next chance a minute later.
Paumen's penalty corner stuttered throughout the tournament, but came good when it mattered. She scored two in the semifinal and her final goal brought her Olympic tally overall to a record 14.
Argentina's storied captain, Luciana Aymar, lived up to her reputation as the best player in the game, but couldn't celebrate her 35th birthday by leading her team to victory in her last match before retirement.
The Dutch have been the bane of Argentina at the Olympics. Las Leonas, as the Argentina team is known, lost to the Netherlands in the 2004 and 2008 semifinals and finished with bronze medals, to go with their silver in 2000.
The Netherlands played the majority of the match pressing in Argentine territory while Las Leonas attempted to hit on the counterattack.
The Dutch twice missed chances in goalmouth scrambles in the first three minutes.
Then Argentina's corner specialist Noel Barrionuevo sent her first effort wide left in the 9th, and Dutch goalkeeper Joyce Sombroek saved a low backhand shot from Aymar after her 35-meter run.
The match paused when Mariela Scarone was hit under the left eye by the stick of Ellen Hoog, who also hit New Zealander Katie Glynn in the head in the semifinals. Scarone, with a towel staunching the flow of blood from a cut under her eye, walked off but returned in the second half.
Dirkse van den Heuvel finally broke the deadlock smashing in the corner rebound on the volley.
Argentina had a second corner soon after, but Silvina D'Elia was saved.
Paumen's second corner, after giving two attempts to De Goede, was saved again, but another chance straight away was a chance too many for Argentina, and Paumen flicked it home high and to the right.
With the two-goal cushion, the Dutch controlled the last 16 minutes to ease to victory.
The New Zealand Herald
Netherlands beat Argentina for women's hockey gold
LONDON: The Netherlands beat world champions Argentina 2-0 to retain their women's Olympic hockey title Friday, raising the prospect of a Dutch double with their men set for a gold medal match against Germany.
The reigning champions took a long time to break down their nearest rivals, but eventually were a little more incisive in front of goal, thanks to their captain Maartje Paumen.
Surprisingly Paumen had not scored at all in the earlier matches, saying that she was saving her goals for the final -- and she delivered magnificently.
The first came when Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel's shot was too fierce to control and Paumen pounced on the rebound with a predator's instinct, undeterred either by the angle or the fact that she was leaning backwards.
The second was quite different -- a brilliant shot from the edge of the penalty circle which needed to find the top corner to avoid the goalkeeper's dive. It did just that.
"We saved the best to last. It was like we were playing in Holland -- the whole crowd was orange," said Paumen, who now has a record 14 goals in all Olympics.
"Every game we look at a video and watch how our opponents defend from corners and then choose our tactics accordingly... Winning four years ago in Beijing was amazing, but this was just as good."
It took fully 45 minutes to make the first breach in Argentina's defence, and 53 minutes to make the second. This meant that the Dutch knew, if they continued to pass the ball with control in a match with few openings, they would retain the Olympic title.
Argentina never gave up, even if there were signs of frustration towards the end, when Silvina d'Elia had to leave the field for two minutes after getting a green card for pushing.
This was unsurprising. It was after all the Netherlands who beat Argentina at both the Athens and Beijing Olympics too, in the semi-finals. The Dutch have now won medals in four consecutive Olympics.
The result also means Argentina captain Luciana Aymar, 35, wins her fourth straight Olympic hockey medal but was unable to claim her first gold -- the only missing major title of her career.
Aymar was at the centre of her country's best efforts early on, but became less influential as the match progressed. One of Argentina's least likely heroines was Florencia Mutio, a late choice goalkeeper, who made some good saves and one brilliant one, right at the end of the first half, to keep the world champions well in contention.
But gradually the Netherlands' dominance increased, even when they could not carve out real chances. Although they have had more field goal attempts than any other team in these Olympics, both goals this time came from penalty corners.
These were nevertheless the result of cumulative pressure, with some fast running and skilful passing, with Naomi van As particularly dangerous in the first half, and Maartje Goderie in the second.
This persistent, self-confident performance by the Dutch women may help their men as they take on the tough task on Saturday of playing Germany, the world champions, in the other final.
Earlier Great Britain's women equalled their best Olympic finish when they beat New Zealand 3-1 and earned a bronze medal -- something they last achieved 20 years ago in Barcelona.
It did however it take a long time to break down the fiercely motivated Kiwis who were as close to a women's Olympic hockey medal as they have ever been and already certain of their best Olympic finish.
Britain's goals, from Alex Dawson, Crista Cullen and Sarah Thomas, all came from penalty corners, as befitting a team with the best conversion rate in the tournament, of more than 40 percent.
And all of them were taken by Kate Walsh, the British captain who fractured her jaw only a week ago and yet came back to play an influential part.
"I didn't think I would be able to play when that first happened," she said. "But the surgeon was very confident. I think it's going to hit me in a few weeks time what a crazy fortnight it's been."
The Times of India
Netherlands pip Argentina 2-0 to retain title
Netherlands’ players celebrate beating Argentina in the women’s hockey final in London yesterday
The Netherlands retained their women’s Olympic field hockey title with a 2-0 win over world champion Argentina at Riverbank Arena yesterday.
The Dutch scored off two second-half penalty corners to join Australia as the only three-time Olympic champions.
The final was riveting until Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel scored from a rebound of Eva de Goede’s corner in the 40th minute. Then the Dutch turned rampant, and after captain Maartje Paumen had a corner saved, she didn’t miss the next chance a minute later in the 54th. Her 14th Olympic goal and third in London gave her sole possession of the overall record.
The two goals took the air out of the Argentines, who were seeking their first gold medal.
Meanwhile Great Britain, inspired by skipper Kate Walsh who broke her jaw just a week ago, beat New Zealand 3-1 to earn an Olympic bronze medal, something they last achieved 20 years ago in Barcelona.
It did however take a long time to break down the well-ordered and fiercely motivated Kiwis who were as close to a women’s Olympic hockey medal as they have ever been and already certain of their best finish.
The crucial phase of the match began 10 minutes into the second half, when Great Britain began to make their extra pressure count, and during which they scored three goals in 17 minutes.
All of them came from penalty corners, as befitting a team with the best conversion rate in the tournament, of more than 40 percent.
And all of them were taken by Walsh, who fractured her jaw last week and yet came back to play an influential part.
“I don’t think it will hit me what a crazy fortnight it’s been until a few weeks’ time,” Walsh said.
“We were heart-broken after the semi-final (with a 2-1 loss to Argentina) and vowed we would not go away from here empty-handed.
“The result was that we played our best game of the tournament by miles. It’s amazing.”
Walsh also claimed that fitness was a factor in their being able to break down the Kiwi defence more often in the last quarter of the game, though also important was scoring the first goal, which enabled the under-pressure home team to play with more freedom.
Netherlands retains women’s hockey crown
The Netherlands clinched their second successive Olympic women’s hockey gold medal as they beat world champions Argentina 2-0 on Friday.
Second-half goals from Carlien Dirkse van den Houvel and captain Maartje Paumen gave the Dutch women their third Olympic gold, having won in Beijing four years ago and in Los Angeles in 1984.
The Netherlands took the lead five minutes into the second-half when Dirkse van den Houvel slammed in from close range after a penalty corner by Paumen had only been parried by Argentina goalkeeper Rosario Luchetti.
And Paumen doubled their lead nine minutes later, lifting a penalty corner high into her top right corner.
Great Britain won the bronze medal with a 3-1 victory over New Zealand earlier on Friday.
Aymar backtracks on retirement after missing gold
Argentina's Aymar with team mates greets spectators after being defeated by Netherlands during their women's gold medal hockey match at Riverbank Arena at London 2012 Olympic Games
LONDON - Argentina's women's hockey team captain Luciana Aymar, regarded as the game's finest female player, refused to close the door on her international career after her team lost the Olympic gold medal final on Friday.
On her 35th birthday, the seven-time world player of the year failed to clinch an Olympic gold - the only medal missing from her glittering collection - and later appeared to backtrack on plans to retire at the end of her fourth Games.
"It's going to be extremely difficult not to find me on the pitch again because I do love this sport," she said. "Physically I think that I could continue, and my team mates do try to convince me to continue."
"Right now the most important thing for me is to rest physically and mentally and after that I may consider whether I want to continue playing and whether coaches decide I'm fit for playing."
That blurred a line which was clear last week when she told Reuters she would retire after the tournament, but added that she may continue playing at club level, not for her country.
The 2-0 defeat by the Netherlands gave Aymar a second silver medal to add to bronzes won in Beijing and Athens and left her coach wondering how they would cope if she did call time on her international career.
"Her absence is going to be a big void for the Argentinian team. She's a huge athlete, she compares to Maradona, Michael Jordan, Juan Manuel Fangio," said Argentina coach Carlos Retegui.
But even he was not certain Aymar was finished, adding she still had the opportunity to continue playing and he hoped she would compete at the 2014 Hockey World Cup.
For all Aymar's uncertainty over her future, there was one thing she was certain of - asked what she felt like doing next, she said simply: "I just want to take my shoes off right now."
GB Women win Olympic Bronze with emphatic performance
It turned out to be a glorious afternoon at the Riverbank Arena as the Great Britain women gave an emphatic display against New Zealand to win 3-1 and secure their first Olympic Bronze Medal since 1992.
Watched by the Duchess of Cambridge, Dame Kelly Holmes and Kath Grainger the GB women never looked like going away with anything less than the Bronze Medal as they put on their best performance of the tournament to take the victory.
The first half saw plenty of action with Great Britain winning penalty corners and creating half chances, but the score-line remained goalless as the sides went in for the break. The second half told a different story as Great Britain dominated play with goals from Alex Danson, Crista Cullen and Sarah Thomas. New Zealand did pull a goal back through Stacey Michelsen but it wasn't enough and the celebrations could start for the home-side.
The momentous afternoon had an added bonus for Laura Bartlett as she collected her 50th cap for Great Britain.
After the match, Great Britain Head Coach Danny Kerry reflected the fantastic achievement of his team, "I'm just really content, it was a lot of hard work. I thought the girls were incredibly thorough and professional. We were the deserving winners today. We didn't allow New Zealand to create opportunities, which they have done against every other team. We executed our corners, bar one. It’s been seven-and-a-half years of my life, and I’m just content."
Great Britain created a goal-scoring opportunity as early as the first minute when Reading’s Laura Bartlett threaded a dangerous through-ball into the circle, but her club team-mates Alex Danson and Helen Richardson got in each other’s way and neither could conjure up a shot on goal.
New Zealand produced their first chance on goal in the 11th minute when Krystal Forgesson found Stacey Michelson in free space inside the circle, but the midfielder’s shot on goal failed to trouble Reading’s Beth Storry as the ball fizzed wide of the target.
With Great Britain dominating much of the first half possession, the home nation had two penalty corner opportunities to make their dominance count. A surging run from Leicester’s Hannah Macleod in the 14th minute was illegally halted by the New Zealand defence but the shot on goal from Leicester’s Crista Cullen was easily saved by goalkeeper Bianca Russell. Four minutes later, a shove on Danson was penalised and with Cullen’s goal-bound drag-flick heading for the corner of the net, the ball was brilliantly stopped by Russell and cleared for a long corner.
With nerves perhaps playing a part for both sides, chances were few and far between during the remainder of the first half and the match reached half-time at 0-0 with the deadlock yet to be broken.
New Zealand started the second half brightly and they had a gilt-edged opportunity to open the scoring in the 36th minute. Cathryn Finlayson found herself in free space on the left hand touchline but her cross into the middle of the circle could only be guided onto the post by Kathy Glynn before Storry was able to clear the danger from the resulting re-bound.
Great Britain took heed from the warning shot and began to impose their dominance on the New Zealanders once again. In the 45th minute, their efforts were eventually rewarded when Danson won a penalty corner following a foot infringement by Michelson. Inspirational Great Britain captain Kate Walsh stepped up to take the penalty corner and her strike was brilliantly deflected past Russell by Danson’s outstretched stick to send the Riverbank Arena wild and give Great Britain a 1-0 lead.
The home nation could have extended their lead in the 49th minute when a swift counter-attack led to Sarah Thomas finding space on the right hand touchline with only two New Zealand defenders between her and the goal. Unfortunately, she couldn’t find Slough’s Ashleigh Ball free at the back post and the danger was snuffed out by the New Zealand defence. Moments later Bowdon Hightown’s Sally Walton forced a save at Russell’s near post with a snap-shot from the edge of the circle.
Great Britain’s early second half pressure eventually paid off in the 59th minute when neat interplay from Danson and Ball earned a penalty corner for dangerous play by Russell. Following the injection from Clifton’s Georgie Twigg, Cullen dispatched an unstoppable drive past Russell’s attempted save to double Great Britain’s advantage at 2-0.
The atmosphere inside the Riverbank Arena was at fever-pitch and Great Britain put themselves out of sight when they scored their third goal from another penalty corner in the 63rd minute. A break by Macleod along the baseline led to a foot infringement inside the circle. With Walsh taking over the duties from Cullen this time, the cleverly worked set-play from the 31 year-old found Thomas at the back post and she diverted the ball past Russell to make the score 3-0 to Great Britain.
Two minutes from time, New Zealand managed to pull back a consolation goal when Michelson deflected a penalty corner set-piece past Storry.
As the hooter sounded at full-time, the Riverbank Arena erupted to celebrate Great Britain’s 3-1 victory over New Zealand. As the ecstatic Great Britain players embraced each other in a huddle to celebrate winning the Bronze Medal, the crowd rose to their feet to acclaim a superb achievement for the whole team.
Speaking after the side’s victory, Great Britain Captain Kate Walsh said, "I don't think it's going to hit me for a couple of weeks to be honest. I've been so focused on our job that I don't think I've thought about anything other than the next game, recovery and the next game after that. Once I stand on that podium I think it may hit me and a couple of weeks later it's going to sink in."
"We were heartbroken after our semi-final. The team was devastated. People couldn't talk. They were absolutely gutted. Everything we dreamed of was that gold medal. We knew we couldn't get it, but we vowed that we weren't going to go home empty-handed. We knew that we had the game. We knew that we had the mental capacity. We just had to put it all together."
Sally Munday, Chief Executive of Great Britain Hockey said, "I am relieved. Of course it is phenomenal, but my first reaction is one of relief. Relief for the players, the coaching staff and the families, they have all invested so much into this."
"It is just so important for the whole hockey family. Hockey in this country has been on an incredible journey over the past seven or eight years and we have made some fundamental changes to the way things are done. This is payback, not just for those immediately involved, but for the hockey clubs and everyone involved in the sport. The country has really got behind us and become emotionally involved with us."
Great Britain men are also aiming to secure a Bronze Medal from the London 2012 Olympics when they face Australia tomorrow afternoon (15.30) at the Riverbank Arena.
NEW ZEALAND 1 (0)
Stacey Michelson 68’ (PC)
GREAT BRITAIN 3 (0)
Alex Danson 45’ (PC)
Crista Cullen 59’ (PC)
Sarah Thomas 63’ (PC)
GREAT BRITAIN WOMEN’S SQUAD v NEW ZEALAND
Name (Club) [Position]
Beth Storry (Reading) [Goalkeeper]
Kate Walsh (Reading) [Defender]
Emily Maguire (Reading) [Defender]
Crista Cullen (Leicester) [Defender]
Laura Unsworth (Reading) [Defender]
Ashleigh Ball (Slough) [Midfielder]
Laura Bartlett (Reading) [Midfielder]
Chloe Rogers (Leicester) [Midfielder]
Helen Richardson (Reading) [Midfielder]
Georgie Twigg (Clifton) [Midfielder/Forward]
Alex Danson (Reading) [Forward]
Sally Walton (Bowdon Hightown) [Defender]
Anne Panter (Leicester) [Defender]
Nicola White (Slough) [Forward]
Sarah Thomas (No Club) [Forward]
Hannah Macleod (Leicester) [Midfielder]
Great Britain Hockey media release
First medal for 20 years, and a royal fan for women's GB hockey team
By Sam Marsden
The Duchess of Cambridge, who was captain of her school hockey team, joined the 16,000 cheering fans who watched the bronze medal play-off match against New Zealand Photo: 2012 Getty Images
It was the first Olympic medal won by a British women’s hockey team for 20 years and it was witnessed by one of the team’s most avid fans.
The Duchess of Cambridge met the team afterwards to congratulate them on winning Britain’s second Olympic medal in the women’s event yesterday.
The Duchess, who was captain of her school hockey team, joined the 16,000 cheering fans who watched the bronze medal play-off match against New Zealand.
After the game, which Britain won 3-1, the Duchess privately met the squad to applaud their performance and commiserate with them on missing a place in the final.
The Duchess was also present at the open-air Riverside Arena in the Olympic Park on Wednesday, when the Team GB players’ dreams of winning gold at their home Games were crushed by a dominant Argentine side in the semi-final.
British forward Alex Danson, 27, who scored the first goal in the play-off match, said it was a “complete honour” and a “privilege” to have the royal support, which she said gave the side a lift.
She said of the post-match meeting with the Duchess: “She just said 'congratulations’. She said she was so disappointed for us on Wednesday and desperately wanted to be a part of it today and see us hopefully get that win, which we’re just so proud that we were able to do.”
Danson added: “The support has meant so much, and particular to have Kate here makes you feel so proud to be British. That has made us feel that we really have a job to do.
“I hope we’ve put on a performance that she’s enjoyed. She looked like she had a fantastic time.”
The Duchess, 30, sat in the stadium next to Katherine Grainger, the rower who finally won an Olympic gold at London 2012 after silvers in the past three Games, and in front of Dame Kelly Holmes, the double gold medal-winning former middle-distance runner.
Wearing a white Team GB T-shirt and white skirt, the Duchess cheered when Britain scored and nervously pulled her hair in front of her mouth when New Zealand closed on goal.
It was a convincing victory for the home side, with the Leicester defender Crista Cullen and the Wales international Sarah Thomas both scoring from penalty corners before New Zealand’s Stacey Michelsen pulled one back with two minutes to go.
When the final whistle blew, the Duchess joined in a standing ovation for Britain, holding both thumbs up to the team. The Duchess, who captained the first XI at Marlborough College, visited the squad during pre-Games training at the Olympic Park in March, when she tried out the bright blue pitch herself.
After an emotional group hug, the British women carried out a victory lap of the pitch, clapping to show their appreciation to the supporters and waving Union flags over their heads.
Danson, who plays for Reading, said the atmosphere at the Olympics had given the team a huge boost.
“The most incredible thing about London is how much it’s completely united our nation,” she said.
“We’ve been so blown away by the support we’ve had — people who’ve never seen hockey before who want to see medals, who want to see success, and I really hope that we’ve made everybody proud. I personally couldn’t feel prouder and I couldn’t be more happy to be a part of this squad.”
GB captain Kate Walsh, 32, added: “We were heartbroken after the semi-final but we vowed we weren’t going to come away empty-handed. We played our best game by miles and I’m so proud of the girls.”
The only previous occasion when a British women’s hockey team has won an Olympic medal was at Barcelona in 1992, when they took bronze in a play-off against South Korea.
GB women claim hockey bronze after 3-1 victory over New Zealand at London 2012 Olympics
By Emily Benammar
Winning feeling: Great Britain celebrate their bronze medal victory Photo: PA
Great Britain women's hockey team have ended a 20-year wait for an Olympic medal by beating New Zealand 3-1 in the bronze play-off at the Riverbank Arena.
Just 48 hours before the match got underway, both sides had left the blue and pink pitch in tears after losing their semi-finals and as such it was going to be a question of how effectively they were able to re-group but whatever was said in the GB locker-room clearly had an impact.
Drawing on their experience of the World Cup 2012 where they lost their semi-final on penalty strokes to Holland before beating Germany for the bronze, GB had clearly taken their time to grieve and, as Kate Walsh had promised they would, they put their game faces on and were ready to fight.
Their first-half display was outstanding - lessons had clearly been learnt after Wednesday's 2-1 defeat to Argentina. Walsh led a tight and controlled operation at the back even when Anita Punt made a nuisance of herself while Alex Danson spearheaded a patient yet forceful attack.
Great Britain played a focused game, they didn't panic and they frustrated their opponents; all that was missing was a goal.
Crista Cullen had the two best opportunities of the half after heavy challenges from the NZ defence earned GB two penalty corners, and while the Leicester defender hit them with her trademark sting, both efforts were deflected away.
The patient approach continued and though the sides went in level at the break, GB's calm approach paid off 10 minutes into the second-half when defence and attack combined. Walsh's flick off the third penalty corner was tapped in by Danson and the Riverbank Arena erupted.
New Zealand's frustrations were showing through and moments that could have led to an equaliser ended a number of sticks bearing the brunt of their owner's anger.
With a medal at stake, GB were starting to run riot and after defending NZ's two penalty corners, the set piece that followed was sublime. It was third time lucky for Cullen who smashed the ball low and right to double the lead with 12 minutes to play.
With one foot on the podium, GB were not done and their sixth corner of the game was awarded after a failed appeal by NZ. It was an almost exact replica of their first, Walsh flicked and this time Sarah Thomas was on hand to convert. The medal was theirs.
New Zealand scored with two minutes remaining but it was too little too late from a side who had clearly been drained by extra time and a shoot-out on Wednesday.
As the final whistle went, Walsh and her squad huddled and cheered before giving a lap of honour to a crowd the hockey group has referred to as “Rodney Riverbank, our 12th player”.
Britain overcome New Zealand to take bronze medal
LONDON: Great Britain, inspired by skipper Kate Walsh who broke her jaw just a week ago, beat New Zealand 3-1 on Friday to earn an Olympic bronze medal, something they last achieved 20 years ago in Barcelona. It did however take a long time to break down the well-ordered and fiercely motivated Kiwis who were as close to a women’s Olympic hockey medal as they have ever been and already certain of their best finish.
The crucial phase of the match began 10 minutes into the second half, when Great Britain began to make their extra pressure count, and during which they scored three goals in 17 minutes. All of them came from penalty corners, as befitting a team with the best conversion rate in the tournament, of more than 40 percent. And all of them were taken by Walsh, who fractured her jaw last week and yet came back to play an influential part. “I don’t think it will hit me what a crazy fortnight it’s been until a few weeks’ time,” Walsh said. “We were heart-broken after the semi-final (with a 2-1 loss to Argentina) and vowed we would not go away from here empty-handed.
“The result was that we played our best game of the tournament by miles. It’s amazing.” Walsh also claimed that fitness was a factor in their being able to break down the Kiwi defence more often in the last quarter of the game, though also important was scoring the first goal, which enabled the under-pressure home team to play with more freedom. When that happened the goals came amidst bursts of extra support and adrenaline with Alex Dawson, Crista Cullen and Sarah Thomas all netting, though even then the New Zealanders’ resistance never slackened. They were were rewarded with a goal three minutes from the end when a Stacey Michelson instigated attack produced a penalty corner from which she herself scored.
Three-times Olympic champions Australia finished fifth after chiselling out a 2-0 win over China. It means the Australians have conceded only two goals in six matches all tournament – but once again, despite dominating long periods of play, they found it hard to score. It took them till the 41st minute for them to take the lead through Jodie Schulz from a penalty corner, and until ten minutes before the end before Jade Close scored the second after good work by Hope Munro.
The lack of cutting edge left Australia vulnerable to a demoralising counter-attack strike, which almost happened as the tenacious Chinese fought back well in the last 15 minutes. During this high-octane phase Song Qingling hit a post after great work by Li Hongxia, after which China won three penalty corners from which they were unable to score. From the last of them Song got the ball into the net, and a goal was awarded, only for it to be disallowed after an infringement became evident during the video replay Australia requested. It was Australia’s first win over China in a major international tournament since 2005.
The Daily Times
Britain take bronze in hockey with 3-1 win over New Zealand
Britain's women beat New Zealand 3-1 to take Olympic hockey bronze on Friday, winning a match played mostly in midfield in which all the goals came from set-piece penalty corners.
Britain controlled the game but had few chances from open play and could not convert two penalty corners in the first half, giving New Zealand the chance to build up pressure towards the interval.
The Kiwis upped the pressure in the second half and struck the post in the first minute but Britain pushed to force errors in the D to take advantage of their strong penalty corners. In the 45th minute, that tactic paid off and the hosts scored from a penalty corner when Alex Danson deflected a pass from captain Kate Walsh for her fifth goal in London.
Crista Cullen scored from a well-placed drag flick penalty corner in the 59th minute and Sarah Thomas deflected another corner into the goal four minutes later.
The Kiwis, whose previous best Olympic placing was sixth, pulled back a goal with a penalty corner deflection with just two minutes left. The Netherlands will play world champions Argentina for the gold medal at 1900 GMT.
How Kate's jolly hockey trip took her medal haul to ten: Duchess jumps for joy as British team beat New Zealand to bronze in 3-1 win
By Bianca London and Toni Jones
The Duchess of Cambridge attends the Women's Hockey bronze medal match between New Zealand and Great Britain on Day 14 of the London 2012 Olympic Games
After witnessing more than a dozen events and nine British medals, it may have looked as though there was nothing left on the Olympic schedule for her to get excited about.
But that's without reckoning on the Duchess of Cambridge's first true love – hockey.
Kate, who was captain of the hockey team when she was a pupil at Marlborough College, was enthusiastically supporting the British women's hockey team yesterday as they won their first Olympic medal in 20 years, taking the tally of medals she has seen to ten.
Goal! The Duchess of Cambridge was joined at the Riverbank Plaza by Dame Kelly Holmes and both women were delighted with the result. cheering and clapping throughout the game
Kate surprised fashion fans by swapping her skinny jeans for a tennis inspired all white outfit
Kate is shown to her seat at the Riverbank Arena, and shows off her legs in an a-line skirt
The Duchess of Cambridge looks like she's joining in a huddle with Team GB's women's hockey team after their bronze medal match against New Zealand
Kate is a huge fan of hockey and members of the team said they had enjoyed playing in front of the future Queen
Wearing a sleeveless white Team GB top with her access all areas pass around her neck, she jumped up and down clapping and cheering as the girls beat New Zealand 3-1 to win the bronze. After the match, Kate went to congratulate the players and posed for pictures with them at the Riverbank Arena in Stratford.
She told the team: 'Well done, I really enjoyed the game and the atmosphere.'
Alex Danson, 27, who scored the first goal, said Kate had been 'lovely'. 'She came to see us afterwards and said congratulations,' she added.
'She said she desperately wanted to be a part of it today and see us get that win, which we're just so proud that we were able to do.
'She used to play hockey at school and she's got a hockey background so she could probably give us some tips.
'Her support has meant so much. To have Kate here makes me feel so proud to be British.'
The hockey fan hides her face behind her long hair as the tension builds
Victory: Kate is delighted at the result, Britain's best for 20 years
The Duchess appeared relaxed in her sleeveless white Olympics shirt as she talked to her seatmate GB President Richard Leman
The Duchess and group share a joke as they enjoy the afternoon match
The Duchess has been a tireless supporter of the London Games. Her trip to the hockey was her 19th Olympics engagement since the Games began, including the opening ceremony and meetings with athletes and volunteers. And she seems to be something of a lucky mascot given the number of medals she has seen Team GB win. Five of the ten have been golds.
The Duchess has chosen to make solo visits to a number of less well-known sports, as well as joining the royals on their usual outings to events like the dressage.
Earlier this week she surprised spectators by turning up alone to the raucous women's boxing final.
Kate happily took a ringside seat among crowds of noisy, beer-swilling fans to watch what was to become one of the most boisterous events of the Olympics. Judging by her facial expressions, she hadn't been entirely prepared for how brutal the fight would be.
She was seen wincing and hiding behind her hands as boxer Nicola Adams slugged it out with arch-rival Ren Cancan, from China, at the ExCel centre.
But the Duchess was praised for raising the profile of the under-funded sport and recognising the success of Adams, who fought her way up from a Leeds council estate to win the first ever women's boxing gold.
In another low-key appearance, Kate sat down next to star-struck 19-year-old British gymnast Kristian Thomas at the gymnastics on Sunday and chatted to him as they watched his colleagues on the pommel horse. And she has cheered on the British handball team and British synchronised swimmers at their events.
She has also made three separate trips to visit athletes and volunteers to thank them for their contributions to the games.
The 30-year-old met the Team GB hockey squad in March to wish them luck, and impressed by managing to score a goal during an impromptu game, before being presented with a special squad shirt with 'Cambridge 1' on the back.
The Duchess of Cambridge made pink jeans famous when she played hockey with the GB hockey teams at the Riverside Arena in the Olympic Park in March
Black Sticks Women finish fourth at Olympics
The Black Sticks Women have lost the bronze medal match 3-1 against Great Britain at the Riverbank Arena today. It was a game the young New Zealand side wanted so desperately to win, in a tournament where they have surprised the best in the world and outperformed their sixth world ranking position.
Finishing fourth is the highest ranked a New Zealand women’s hockey side has ever placed at an Olympics.
At the post match press conference, Black Sticks head coach Mark Hager noted how proud he was off his team during this tournament and said that the players were disappointed that they did not perform as well as hoped today.
"We were outplayed for the whole game, I think. That had to do with discipline, we had people not running in the right spots. But all credit to Great Britain, they were the better team by far today," said Hager.
"Great Britain were desperate, they came to the ball first, they won the 50/50s and then the crowd started roaring. When that happens we tend to struggle. We haven't played like we played the rest of the week. Maybe because we had such a good tournament and a great game against the Netherlands, we thought it would just flow on."
Co-captain Emily Naylor said she thought the team was a bit apprehensive today.
“We didn't put it out there like some of the other games. They seemed to attack a lot and really put the pressure on us. We didn't create as many opportunities as we have in the other games. If you don't create chances, you can't score goals," said Naylor.
Great Britain earned the match's first penalty corner in the 14th minute with a run into the New Zealand circle but Crista Cullen’s strong hit was kicked away by goalkeeper Bianca Russell.
Black Stick Krystal Forgesson hit a shot wide early on, but New Zealand's best chance of the first half came in the closing minutes, a Charlotte Harrison deflection from a Clarissa Eshuis penalty corner going just wide.
Just minutes into the second half and with no goals on the board, Black Stick Cat Finlayson found some space down the right and played the ball into Great Britain's circle. Katie Glynn’s deflection went through goalkeeper Elizabeth Storry’s legs and hit the right post before being cleared to safety.
Great Britain's third penalty corner came in the 45th minute and captain Kate Walsh took responsibility, received the ball and pushed towards goal where Danson deflected the ball into the net from near the penalty spot to make it 1-0.
Cullen helped make Great Britain's penalty corners count in the second half, making it 2-0 in the 59th minute with a strong flick to Russell’s right and then Sarah Thomas scored in the 63rd minute.
Stacey Michelsen gave New Zealand hope in the 68th minute with a penalty corner deflection from an Eshuis flick, but Great Britain held on for a 3-1 victory and the bronze medal.
New Zealand 1 (Stacey Michelsen) Great Britain 3 (Alex Danson, Crista Cullen, Sarah Thomas) HT: 0-0
Great Britain – 3-1 loss
Netherlands – 2-2 draw at full time. Argentina won 3-1 in a penalty shoot-out
Germany – 0-0 draw
USA – 3-2 win
Argentina – 2-1 loss
South Africa – 4-1 win
Australia – 1-0 win
NZ goal scorers
Kayla Sharland x4
Clarissa Eshuis x2
Charlotte Harrison x2
Krystal Forgesson x1
Gemma Flynn x1
Cat Finlayson x1
Stacey Michelsen x1
Hockey New Zealand Media release
Brave Black Sticks miss out on bronze
JONATHAN MILLMOW IN LONDON
The Black Sticks women have copped a roasting from their coach and captain after turning in a shocker in their Olympic Games bronze medal hockey match against Great Britain in London today.
After a brave and entertaining campaign, the Black Sticks saved their worst for last to go down 3-1 in front of a full house (16,000), which included Prince William's wife Kate Middleton.
Coach Mark Hager pulled no punches afterward, describing the performance as "standoffish" and "apprehensive" while captain Kayla Sharland questioned the headspace of her teammates.
The match was scoreless at halftime but the floodgates opened soon after with Great Britain scoring three times from penalty corners before Stacey Michelsen grabbed a consolation goal at the death.
"We were outplayed for the whole game," Hager said.
"We didn't come to play, we were too apprehensive and standoffish and we didn't recover from that.
"The disappointing thing for me today is Kayla led so well but not enough players followed.
"They didn't want it bad enough, we were hoping we would bronze rather than going out and winning the bronze."
Alarm bells were ringing from the outset, with the Black Sticks off their game with miss traps and players running down blind alleys.
There was also a strange lack of desperation given an Olympic medal was at stake. On the contrary, Great Britain hoed into their work, led by their inspirational skipper Kate Walsh, who wore a guard to protect her broken jaw.
"We thought it was going to happen because we had a good tournament and a good game against the Dutch... but they were just more desperate," Hager said
"When I saw Walsh diving in defence with a broken jaw, to me that said they wanted it and we didn't have people prepared to get on their guts and dive and win the 50/50 ball."
Sharland was visibly annoyed after the final hooter. Her body is shot but she tried to inspire her team by words and actions. However, the emotional and physical drain of the penalty shootout loss to the Netherlands appeared to have had taken its toll on them.
"Maybe individuals didn't prepare as well as they should have for this game," Sharland said.
"You are supposed to be doing the same individual preparation you do for every game. I don't know if everyone did that today or were just a little bit off. It's a learning curve, we are a very young side and they didn't play their game today.
"We had enough time to recover and get ourselves out there. It's frustrating to stumble at the last hurdle."
The manner of the defeat has taken some of the gloss off the Black Sticks' campaign. However, it is worth remembering they arrived in London as sixth seeds and the previous best finish by the women at the Olympic was sixth.
"I don't think we have done well," Hager said.
"We have achieved okay, but we didn't win a medal and we let one slip unfortunately."
Sharland gave the campaign a pass mark.
"You don't get in these situations at an Olympics Games very often so to stumble at the last hurdle is pretty frustrating and disappointing. But overall it has been pretty good, but not satisfying."
There was one "what if" moment when Black Sticks striker Katie Glynn tapped a volley against the post when the game was still scoreless early in the second half. Apart from that, the Black Sticks constructed little until Michelsen scored from a late penalty corner.
Great Britain's goals came in a 18 minute period with Alex Danson (45th), Crista Cullen (59th)
Women's Black Sticks feel the pain of defeat
GREG FORD IN LONDON
Samantha Harrison feels the pain of defeat after the Black Sticks lost their bronze medal playoff against Great Britain 3-1. Lawrence Smith/Fairfax Media
Oh the pain. Oh the despair. Witness its palpable rawness at the Riverbank Arena this morning - caught expertly through the lens of Lawrence Smith - when the New Zealand women's hockey team's Olympic dreams were shattered.
Sam Harrison's soul looks lost. Tears stream down Cathryn Findlayson's face. Look a bit closer and you can see the team's bubble bursting in the imagery.
If it looked painful to be at Riverbank, I can assure you it was.
It's not often a New Zealand team puts themselves in contention for a medal on the back of a tidal wave of excellent form and team unity for it to all come crashing down in one heaped pile of broken hearts and minds.
But was the upshot of Great Britain's 3-1 win this morning.
No one embodied the Black Sticks campaign more than Katie Glynn.
She played through the pain barrier against the Dutch when conked on the head. Playing this morning with stitches in her melon, tears again rolled down her cheek when she attributed her team's demise to that oldest of sporting hazards.
"We did exactly what we talked about not doing. We let the crowd get on top of us and they can be intimidating. That is frustrating and it is disappointing to feel as if you let yourself down."
The Blacks Sticks timed their worst performance for the worst possible moment and while coach Mark Hager's eyes were dry - as was his wit - he admitted his team was handed not so much a hockey lesson but a "life lesson".
He went on to offer an apology to "the British people" for a testy live BBC interview after the game in which he said he came across like a "sad sack" and also spoke one undeniable truth; that Great Britain just had more desire and passion for the bronze medal.
You only had to look at their skipper Kate Walsh for evidence of that.
The 32-year-old defender played with a broken jaw.
Earlier in the tournament she spent three nights in The Royal London following surgery to have a plate inserted in her face.
"You only had to see her diving around for the ball to see they wanted it more," Hager noted ruefully.
"My girls thought the win was going to happen because we had had a good tournament and because we had a good game against the Dutch."
Australia Secure Fifth Place in London
It may not have been the victory Australia were hoping for but they will still be celebrating after beating Olympic silver medallist China to finish fifth at the London Olympics.
After narrowly missing out on the medal rounds, Australia only had pride to play for but showing great character by beating their Asian rivals 2-0.
Australia will leave London without a medal but with a great deal more experience for the future.
On the positive side, coach Adam Commens has identified some exciting young talent who will be able to take their London experience into future championship campaigns over the next four years.
Defensively, Australia was outstanding throughout the tournament not conceding a single field goal throughout the two weeks.
Spearheaded by Kobie McGurk, sensational young talent Anna Flanagan and Teneal Attard, Australia repelled the early attacks which became less penetrating as the game progressed.
Australia totally dominated in attack but China’s defenders made clear shots difficult.
Australia controlled the midfield with another youngster Georgia Nanscawen, Casey Eastham and captain Madonna Blyth creating an abundance of opportunity.
The youngest member of the team, Emily Smith, impressed as one of the hard workers in the circle.
After have two goals denied by the video referee, Schulz finally broke through for Australia’s first goal in the 41st minute, with a penalty stroke, following a deliberate breach by China in the goal circle.
Close and Hope Munro combined with a two-on-one opportunity in the 60th minute which left goalkeeper Zhang Yimeng defenceless.
Australia was more enterprising throughout the game but had difficulty breaking down the defence which repelled an enormous amount of pressure.
Australia depart London with an excellent record, securing 4 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss. Australia can count themsleves unlucky to not have had the opportunity to play for a medal.
Olympic Hockey: Women's Play-off for fifth: Australia v China
Australia 2 (Jodie Schulz 41 PS, Jade Close 60 FG) def China 0
Australian Women’s Hockey Team Results
London 2012 Olympic Games
Game 1: Australia def by New Zealand 0-1
Game 2: Australia def Germany 3-1 - Goal scorers: Anna Flanagan, Fiona Boyce, Hope Munro
Game 3: Australia def USA 1-0 - Goal scorer: Anna Flanagan
Game 4: Australia def South Africa 1-0 - Goal scorer: Jade Close
Game 5 Australia dw Argentina 0-0
5th-6th Play Off: Australia def China 2-0 - Goal scorers: Jodie Schulz, Jade Close
Hockey Australia media release
Australia beat China for fifth place
LONDON: Three-time Olympic champions Australia finished fifth in the women's hockey tournament on Friday after chiselling out a 2-0 win over China with a hard-fought but sometimes rather toothless performance.
It means the Australians have conceded only two goals in six matches all tournament -- but once again, despite dominating long periods of play, they found it hard to score.
It was this which more than anything which prevented them reaching the semis.
It took them till the 41st minute for them to take the lead, through Jodie Schulz from a penalty corner, and until ten minutes before the end before Jade Close scored the second after good work by Hope Munro.
The lack of cutting edge left Australia vulnerable to a demoralising counter-attack strike, which almost happened as the tenacious Chinese fought back well in the last 15 minutes.
During this high octane phase Song Qingling hit a post after great work by Li Hongxia, after which China won three penalty corners from which they were unable to score.
From the last of them Song got the ball into the net, and a goal was awarded, only for it to be disallowed after an infringement became evident during the video replay Australia requested.
It was Australia's first win over China in a major international tournament since 2005.
Disappointing finish for US in London
LONDON – The U.S. had high hopes of finishing their rocky Olympic campaign on a high note. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen for Team USA this morning. Their final match at Riverbank Arena in London’s Olympic Park ended with a disappointing 2-1 loss to Belgium, leaving the U.S. with a last place finish in the tournament.
"We are disappointed to be finishing where we have here and this outcome is a bitter pill to swallow,” said Head Coach Lee Bodimeade. “I felt that we had enough chances in the first half to put the game out of Belgium's reach, but they were tough and hung in and got two goals when we were unable to do so."
Paige Selenski (Shavertown, Pa.) opened the scoring and tallied her first Olympic goal in the 7th minute of play.
Not long after, Belgium began to find a rhythm and sent a reverse shot past Amy Swensen (Grantville, Pa.) in goal for the equalizer. Despite three penalty corners for the U.S., the score remained a 1-1 draw at the end of the half.
Shannon Taylor (Midlothian, Va.) thought she recorded a second goal for the U.S., but a video review showed there was a foul prior to the shot and her goal was denied. Belgium quickly capitalized on Team USA’s disappointment by converting on a penalty corner.
Desperate to even the score at two apiece, the U.S. replaced Swensen in cage for an additional attacking field player with a little over eight minutes to go on the clock. Their gambit wasn’t enough. Belgium finished one goal and one placement ahead of the U.S.
"We have finished where we deserved to,” said Rachel Dawson. “We just didn't take our chances in this tournament so 12th place is what we go home with. It's been a humbling experience for us all. Humility gives you the desire to work harder and teaches you the discipline to execute better games. We've done an OK job here, but we know we can be better."
The U.S. went 1-4 in the preliminary rounds of the Olympic tournament. The one win was to Argentina, who will play in the gold medal match against the Netherlands this evening. The dominant performance and powerful 1-0 victory over Pan American rival Argentina (again) proved that the U.S. can hold its own with the very best in world.
"It's been so close every game, but not gone our way. In our games against opponents ranked higher than us, we took it to them and kind of shocked the world,” said Katie O’Donnell.
"We have amazing kids coming up," Keli Smith-Puzo said. "The young talent is going to be amazing. I think Rio 2016 is going to be a completely different team."
Puzo, the two-time Olympian and mother-of-two put on her Olympic uniform one last time today.
“I will miss playing but I know it is the right time for me to move on in my life. It is definitely a bittersweet moment. I am looking forward to helping inspire other young athletes.”
“Keli’s performance is shown that she is worthy of being a duel Olympian,” said Bodimeade. “What Keli has brought to this group isn’t really identified from the outside but is certainly known on the inside.”
Despite the final the result, the U.S. was one of twelve teams in the world to qualify for the Olympic Games and has represented Team USA on the world’s largest sporting stage.
"I've really enjoyed competing here and London has been a brilliant host city. Our results are disappointing so it's hard to fully enjoy it right now, but I do feel very blessed to have been a part of it," said Dawson.
“I think London has done an amazing job,” said captain Lauren Crandall. “Riverbank Arena was very nice and playing in front of packed crowds was very special. We knew we had a high task to compete and try to get wins against good competition and we fell short of that. Yes, we are all disappointed in how we finished and how we played, but we look forward to coming back, competing and representing Team USA again.”
USFHA media release
USA women lose to Belgium finishing the Olympics in last place
By Jawwad Qamar
USA women ended their Olympics with a 2-1 loss to Belgium for the 11/12 classification thus finishing in last place or as they say, with the “wooden spoon.”
A Paige Selenski goal in the 7th minute gave the Americans the start they were looking for against the 16th ranked Belgium. Selenski pounced on a clearance attempt by Stephanie de Groof of Belgium, sending the ball high into the net, after she was nicely set up for her initial shot by Katie Reinprecht.
A reverse stick from the top of the circle by Alix Gerniers in the 21st minute leveled score at 1-1 for the Belgians as USA captain Lauren Crandall was slow to challenge her. The first half ended with Team USA being 1 for 7 in field goal attempts and 0 for 3 on penalty corner opportunities. While Belgium was 0 for 1 on penalty corner try and 0 for 5 in field goal attempts.
The second half saw more attacking hockey from both sides but goalkeepers were equal to the task on each end. However, Gaelle Valcke gave Belgium the lead on a goalmouth scramble on her team’s second penalty corner in the 52nd minute. Looking for an equalizer, with little over eight minutes left in the game, USA coach Lee Bodimead took out goalkeeper Amy Swensen in favor of an extra field player but no luck and Belgium earned their first ever Olympic victory.
In total, USA played six matches at the Olympics, winning only one (Yes, against Argentina), losing five and scoring only 5 goals while giving up 15. They were lacking on both offense and defense equally.
It has to be extremely frustrating and embarrassing for USA Field Hockey to have spent millions on the women’s program including the coaching staff, not to mention the High Performance Director, and have not much to show for it. The last time the US women had a podium finish at the Olympics was in 1984 in Los Angeles where they took bronze. It’s been downhill ever since.
It’s amazing that a country with the largest field hockey playing female population and all the resources available can put such dismal performance!
Netherlands and Germany meet in clash of the titans
Galvanised European pair all set for Riverbank showdown
Germany and Netherlands battle for the Olympic title this evening (Photo: Frank Uijlenbroek)
Germany and the Netherlands are set for yet another major clash in their storied histories together this evening when they meet in the final match (8pm) of the 2012 Olympiad. Both sides are seeking their third Olympic title in the last 20 years as they have won four of the last five Games since 1992, broken only by Australia’s Athens win.
For the Dutch, they will be hoping to become the first nation to win both men’s and women’s competitions in the same year. Much was made prior to the tournament of Paul van Ass’s decision to drop Teun de Nooijer and Taeke Taekema earlier this year but it appears to have been part of galvanising force. De Nooijer came back into the fray a rejuvenated force, refreshed and ready to embark on a journey that has already yielded a fourth Olympic medal.
Whether this one will be his third gold remains to be seen but they have shown a real touch of finesse in winning all six of their games to date. The link-up play of Valentin Verga, Billy Bakker and Roderick Weusthof has been a delight in the forward line while Mink van der Weerden stepped into Taekema’s goal-scoring shoes with seven set-piece goals. But they have injury worries as Klaas Vermeulen has a broken collar bone and has been replaced in the panel by Tim Jenniskens.
Markus Weise is another man with Olympic history on his side, becoming the first coach to lead both a nation’s male and female teams to glory. Indeed, he is looking for a third successive title having led the women to the Athens title and subsequently the men in 2008 in Beijing.
German skipper Max Mueller praised his coach’s method of peaking by the latter stages of the competition and their victory over Australia was a spectacular improvement on earlier rounds. Dismantling one of the most aggressive presses in the game with clever overheads and pin-point counter-attacks, Weise and chief lieutenant Mortiz Furste played a masterclass.
Florian Fuchs has been the tournament top scorer from play – shared with Billy Bakker – on six goals, showing both sides have highly attacking intentions. The rivalry with the Dutch is always an intense one and the pair played out a cracking European final last August in Monchengladbach, the Germans winning out 4-2.
A year earlier in Delhi, the laurels were shared 2-2 while the 2011 Champions Trophy saw the Dutch the victors on a 3-2 scoreline, illustrating the tight-knit history between the sides.
It sets the scene for a huge night at the Riverbank as both sides looked to cement their place in history. They will be preceded by the Great Britain and Australia men at 3.30pm in the bronze medal match.
For the hosts GB, it is their chance to bounce back from their semi-final horror show against the Dutch, losing 9-2, and claim their first medal in 24 years. Australia have looked unstoppable at times but came a cropper in the semi-final 4-2 to Germany. They have medalled at each of the last five Olympics with bronze in both Athens and Beijing to their name.
Olympic final by the numbers
Renowned Indian Statistician B.G.Joshi gives us the head to head record of the Men's Olympic Finalists.
Men:Germany-Netherlands in Olympic History
Particulars Germany Netherlands
Coach Markus Weise Paul van Ass
Captain Maximilian Muller Floris Evers
Current Titles Reigning Olympic Champions (2008) Nil
Olympic Appearances 17* 17
Gold Medals 3 (1972 as West Germany,1992,2008) 2(1996,2000)
Silver Medals 3(1936,1984 and 1988 as West Germany) 3(1928,1952,2004)
Bronze Medals 3(1928,1956,2004) 3(1936,1948,1988)
Matches Played in Olympics 104 113
Wins 65 69
Drawn 17 16
Lost 22 28
Goals For 257 281
Goals Against 124 178
Biggest Victory 9-1 vs. Spain in 5th place match in 1976 9-2 vs. Britain in SF in 2012
Biggest Defeat 1-8 vs. India in final in 1936 0-6 vs. Pakistan in pool in 1968
All Time Records Keller family won 5 Gold and 4 Silvers Ties Kruize scored 17 goals in an Olympics in 1972
Golden Arms Stefan Tewes and Jan Peter Tewes in 1992,
Christopher Zeller and Philips Zeller; Timo Wess and Benjamin Wess in 2008 won the Gold. Jeroen Delmee and Sander van der Weide are cousins, they won Gold in 1996,2000 and Silver in 2004
Compiled by B.G.JOSHI(India)
GER-NED: In Olympic Hockey Matches
Year Venue Match Winner Score
1928 Amsterdam Pool Netherlands 2-1
1936 Berlin SF Germany 3-0
1952 Helsinki QF Netherlands 1-0
1972 Munich SF Germany 3-0
1988 Seoul SF Germany 2-1
1996 Atlanta SF Netherlands 3-1
2000 Sydney Pool Drew 2-2
2004 Athens SF Netherlands 3-2
2008 Beijing SF Germany 1-1,TB 4-3
2012 London Pool Netherlands 3-1
Total-10, GER wins-4,NED Wins-5,drew-1,both scored 16 goals each
Compiled by B.G.JOSHI(India)
*In the 1964 Olympics, GDR (German Democratic Republic) beat FRG (Federal Republic of Germany) in 3-Match playoff to represent Germany in the Olympics. In the 1968 Olympics, both FRG and GDR participated separately. GDR’s record in the 1964 and 1968 is not included, FRG (1968-1988) records merged in Germany.
Curran appointed to Olympic final
Ged Curran is the first Scottish umpire to be appointed to the men`s Olympic final, today between the Netherlands and Germany - and that at his first Olympic experience.
It was a nervous wait for the Dundee-based official, his appointment depended on the outcome of the semi-final clash between Great Britain and the Netherlands, but Jason Lee`s all-English outfit were crushed 9-2 by the rampant Dutch, and Curran was free to take charge of the ultimate Olympic encounter.
"My head is still buzzing from the news," said the Taysider. "Before the tournament I set myself some targets and goals, now I`m delighted that I`ve achieved them, and more.
"There is no doubt in my mind that this is the pinnacle of my umpiring career, and it will be an occasion I will never forget. I`ve already taken charge of the finals of three Champions Trophy, the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, and more recently the Olympic Qualifier earlier this year in Japan, but the Olympic final surpasses all that went before."
The London Games has had an additional significance for Curran, he recorded his 100th international cap in his first game of the tournament between New Zealand and India.
Curran, and his colleague for the final David Gentles from Australia, took charge of the pool match between Germany and the Netherlands, with the latter winning 3-1.
Asked if this might be a disadvantage for the final, Curran said: "The previous game is not important to the handling of the Olympic final, both teams will be going for the victory on the day, one will get gold and the other silver, and my job is to see that the better team wins fairly. In any case, both coaches were very complimentary at the end of the first match."
But Curran and Gentles will not be alone for the game at the Riverside Arena, they will have the additional support of the video umpire, in this case Ireland`s Colin Hutchinson.
Curran is a convert to the use of technology. "The use of the video umpire has moved our game forward, avoiding the glaring mistakes that can be made by umpires, it helps to minimise those errors and avoids decisions affecting a fair outcome for both teams."
This represents the zenith of Scottish umpiring involvement in the Olympic Games in recent years, it started with Craig Madden in Seoul and Atlanta, then David Leiper for two Games, and finally Andy Mair who took charge of the bronze medal match in Beijing. Scotland`s women have also been prominent with Margot Barr, Jean Robertson, Janice MacDonald and finally Anne McRae.
Scottish Hockey Union media release
GB umpire to whistle Olympic final
Ged Curran, Olympic umpire at London 2012
Congratulations to Ged Curran, who will take charge of this evening’s Olympic men’s final at the Riverbank Arena.
Scotsman Ged is officiating in his first Olympic Games, having umpired at some of the world’s biggest tournaments. Since first becoming an FIH International Umpire in 1996, Ged has umpired almost 100 senior international matches, including four Champions Trophy tournaments, encompassing the 2009 and 2010 Finals, and the final of the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
He was reserve umpire for the final of the 2010 Men’s World Cup and whistled the finals of both Champions Challenge 1 and 2 in 2011. An umpire both outdoors and indoors, Ged first officiated at an indoor club tournament in his home town of Dundee in 1992 when a shortage of umpires saw him offer to help out. As a player, he began as a 12-year-old before playing for Lawside FP and Dundee Wanderers. He is Principal teacher of Physical Education at St John’s Roman Catholic High School in Dundee.
Ged’s appointment to the final alongside David Gentles of Australia means that there has been a British umpire in charge of every major international men’s final since 2010.
Those appointments were:
World Cup 2010 – Andy Mair
Indoor World Cup 2011 – Ged Curran
Euro Nations 2011 – Andy Mair
Commonwealth Games 2010 – Nathan Stagno
Champions Trophy 2011 – Hamish Jamson
Olympic Games 2012 – Ged Curran
Congratulations too to Britain’s Hamish Jamson, who has been appointed as the reserve umpire for the match.
Great Britain Hockey media release
History beckons Germans but they face massive Dutch challenge
Defending Olympic champions Germany gave an exhibition of their steely nerves coupled with brilliant strategy to stop the Australian winning spree with a 4-2 semifinal victory that gave Maximillian Muller's team a chance of becoming only the third team in Olympic Games history to clinch two successive men's hockey gold medals.
After India's six-goal winning sequence from 1928 to 1956, only Netherlands have won two successive gold medals in men's hockey by climbing the victory podium at Atlanta (1996) and Sydney (2000).
But to achieve that on Saturday, the clinical Germany need to overcome a massive challenge in the form of a dazzling Netherlands, who announced their intentions in no uncertain terms by giving Great Britain a 9-2 hammering.
Netherlands' victory margin has got the record keepers busy in trying to find the instances of such results in the past. Big scores are now the order, but a seven-goal victory even in this era of fast-paced hockey is a rarity, especially in the semifinals.
Germany were expected to run into World Cup holders Australia in the title encounter, but for a hiccup suffered by the Germans in the pool outing against Netherlands that had the two top-ranked teams clashing in the semifinals.
But the rematch between Germany and Netherlands has the making of a fascinating contest. It will be a treat for hockey lovers.
It required an outstanding performance to stop the title winning sequence of the Australians since Charlesworth took over as their coach.
Winners of the World Cup, the Commonwealth Games and three successive Champions Trophies under Ric Charlesworth, the robust Australians cannot be faulted for believing that the Olympic title was theirs for the taking. After all, they were the No. 1 team in the world.
Germany have fielded quite a different side from the one that won the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. As is coach Markus Weise's habit, he tends to play down their chances.
But Germany can never go into the tournament without tons of expectations from hockey watchers. Such is the structure and strength of their domestic competitions that young players, capable of taking on the worldm will always be ready whenever a vacancy arises in the national squad.
The Germans, under Maximillian Mueller will be eager to settle a score with Netherlands. The dramatic transformation of the Dutch, from their opening outing against India to the rampaging outfit that humiliated hosts great Britain in the semifinals, has given the German squad's think-tank something to think about.
Dutch veteran Teun De Nooijer already has two Olympic gold medals and a silver in his collection, which he wants to decorate further with another glittering one from London 2012. The turnaround and growing confidence of the Dutch has altered the scenario since they opened the campaign against India.
Netherlands only managed to beat the tentative Indian team 3-2, but look at the way the fortunes of these two teams have shaped since then. The Dutch have burst into the final and are now seeking the gold medal, while India is hoping to win at least one match in these Olympics to avoid the bottom spot in the competition.
Indian hockey's memories of London include the first gold medal for independent India in the 1948 Olympic Games, and then the dejection of the last-place finish from among 12 nations in the 1986 World Cup.
It takes a lot of effort to regroup from the sort of debacle this Indian team has experienced. There are problems that have been exposed, but it is a challenge for the team to come out and produce a better show against South Africa so that India does not finish at the bottom of the table on their return to the Olympic Games after failing to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Day 14 Bronze Medal Match Olympic Preview - GB v Australia
London Olympics 2012 Jonty Clarke jumps on Richard Smith as they celebrate his goal against Argentina
Seoul 1988 was the last time Great Britain men won a medal at an Olympic Games. 24 years later and GB have the opportunity to win bronze in front of a home crowd. Despite a disappointing defeat in their semi-final on Thursday evening to an outstanding Dutch side, the Great Britain men still have everything to play for in their final match of the London 2012 Olympic Games .
Their opponents, Australia, lost out on their place in the gold medal match to Germany. Despie leading 2 - 1, the Germans determinedly clawed their way back into the match and were eventual winners with the final score standing at 4 -2.
Great Britain #4
Head to head record
Goals for: 56
Goals against: 119
The last time Great Britain men beat the Kookaburras was at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, where GB impressively won the gold medal! This is the second time that GB and Australia will go head to head at the London 2012 Games as both teams were in Pool A - Australia topped the group with GB finishing second. GB's determined attitude really showed in the last match as the boys came from 3 - 0 down to draw 3 - 3 with the best side in the world. Jonty Clarke, Barry Middleton and James Tindall all got their names on the scoresheet in the space on 20 minutes.
Player to watch: Australia
Jamie Dwyer Australia
Name: Jamie Dwyer
Position: Attacking midfield
Dwyer has impressively been voted FIH World Player of the Year for the past three years and five times in total. He is a fast player, who has great vision and good all round stick skills. He has earned over 250 caps for Australia and scored over 150 goals. A superb talent.
GB's Ali Wilson taking on Australia's Jamie Dwyer in their most recent fixture
Great Britain Hockey media release
Australian Men Attempt to Ruin Hosts Party
Australia will leave London without the Olympic gold medal they had hoped for, but there will be opportunity for redemption when they take on hosts Great Britain in the bronze medal-game at Riverbank Arena at 3:30pm London time today or 12:30am AEST, Sunday August 12.
The two teams have an even record against each other in Olympic competition, but Australia has never forgotten one of the team’s most painful losses against Britain in the semi-finals in Seoul in 1988.
Back then coach Ric Charlesworth was the highest profile player in the team during a remarkable career spanning five Olympics.
Charlesworth will be reminding his players of that loss when they take the field for the last time in London.
Australia, who has won every major tournament under Charlesworth, blew their chances of playing in the gold medal-game when they squandered their lead to bow out against Germany 4-2.
Britain on the other hand was on the wrong end of annihilation by the Dutch, 9-2, the greatest semi-final margin in Olympic competition since India defeated France 10-0 in 1936.
It also equaled Britain’s biggest ever losing margin at the Olympics setting the stage for a face-saving contest against Australia.
Australia has contested 12 Olympic competitions since 1964 reaching the semi-finals 11 times, but has played in just four finals.
Australia’s first and only gold medal came in Athens in 2004 with current teammates Jamie Dwyer, Liam de Young and Mark Knowles members of that campaign.
This has been the first time in Charlesworth’s career a team he has coached has not won gold.
"It's very disappointing for the players and all of us, but when you play sport you go in knowing there will
be a winner and a loser and we fell short at the last hurdle,” Charlesworth said.
Australia have played a robust, high tempo attacking game under Charlesworth which has come with risk which was apparent during the Games.
Leading into the semi-finals, Australia had created the most chances, had the most penalty corners, scored the most goals and conceded the least.
However, the five goals they conceded were all late in a game against Argentina and Great Britain, forcing a draw in each game. The late goals syndrome re-asserted itself to devastating effect against Germany in the semi-finals.
He said it has been difficult getting the players ready for the bronze-medal match.
"It's very difficult, but that's the task. It's not easy, but our players are ambitious and it's still a chance to win an Olympic medal."
Hockey Australia media release
McLeod stepping down after sub-par Olympics
JONATHAN MILLMOW IN LONDON
STEPPING DOWN: Shane McLeod will not look to extend his contract with the men's Black Sticks. PHIL WALTERS/ Getty
Black Sticks men's hockey coach Shane McLeod is stepping down.
McLeod confirmed his decision after the side's disappointing Olympic campaign ended on a winning note when they beat Argentina 3-1 in the playoff for ninth.
McLeod's contract runs out at the end of the year and he said he had no plans to continue.
"My plan is not to continue," he said.
"I've had six years, I've enjoyed it, but it's time for someone else."
The Black Sticks have one more major assignment this year, the Champions Trophy in Australia from December 1-9.
McLeod is unsure whether he will have the coaching reins for that trip or if New Zealand Hockey will usher in his replacement.
"I'm pretty relaxed," he said.
"I need to discuss that with them."
Hopes were high that the Black Sticks would make a real impression in London.
A couple of months ago they won the Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia for the first time in 14 attempts and they arrived at the Olympics with a good mix of youth and experience.
But they got off to a rocky start against Korea (lost 2-0) and never recovered. McLeod admitted it was the low point in his lengthy tenure.
"This would be up there," he said.
McLeod would not be drawn on the future of his veteran players, nor did he throw anyone under the bus in the wake of the disaster.
Dean Couzins, Blair Hopping, Ryan Archibald, Phil Burrows and Kyle Pontifex are all in their 30s and could be considering retirement.
"My suggestion to them is to let the dust settle then re-assess things in three or four weeks," McLeod said.
The post-mortem for their lacklustre campaign is already underway, but the answer appears to lie in the mirror.
"The Olympics are a really important stage and we didn't handle it as well as would've liked," McLeod said.
"We needed to be more aggressive. It's disappointing we didn't show our best, so you finish where you finish. We had the potential to finish much higher."
We did much better than India: Pakistan hockey coach
KARACHI: Pakistan hockey coach Khawaja Junaid on Friday rubbed salt into the already beleaguered Indian team's wounds by saying that his players have performed "much better" than their arch rivals in the Olympic Games.
Junaid, who has been criticised by some former Olympians here after the Pakistan team failed to make the semifinals, said that India had fared worse than Pakistan.
"When you compare our performance with that of India we did much better although no one gave any chance to us and India were being seen as a team that could cause upsets," Junaid said.
"I'm disappointed we didn't make the semifinals but satisfied that we finished the Olympics as the top ranked Asian team ahead of India and Korea," the former Olympian added.
India, who will be playing their 11-12th classification match on Saturday, lost all their pool matches in the Games, while Pakistan finished seventh after beating Korea in the play-off match on Thursday.
"Korea finished eighth, while India will be avoiding a bottom-place finish. This has proved our Asian supremacy which we gained with a gold medal at the Asian Games two years ago."
Junaid was especially pleased that Pakistan finished ahead of traditional rivals India.
"There's always a sort of competition against India and finishing ahead of them is a respite. We were going well before the match against Great Britain. Australians were favourites but we had a chance of winning against Britain. But there are no excuses for the huge loss against Australia."
The coach though said that the team deserved to play the fifth-sixth position match.
Meanwhile, Pakistan captain, Sohail Abbas has said that he has not decided on his retirement from international hockey despite the heavy defeat against Australia.
The Times of India
Easier group saved us from rock-bottom finish: Islah
Shakeel Abbasi (C) of Pakistan goes past defenders of South Korea. -Photo by AFP
KARACHI: Pakistan could have been playing the 11th position match instead of the seventh position one had the Green-shirts been playing in Group ‘B’ instead of ‘A’ at the London Olympics, said Olympian Islahuddin Siddiqui.
Speaking to Dawn from London soon after Pakistan edged past Korea 3-2 in the classification match to end up seventh in the Olympic hockey event, Islah said we could have been in India’s shoes but were lucky to be playing in the easier group among teams that didn’t carry that much weight.
“So the boys and team management should be ashamed of themselves if they think they achieved something by coming seventh out of the 12 participating teams,” he fumed.
Laying bare the statistics, he said: “In the five group matches that Pakistan played in the current Olympics, they won two, lost two and drew one. Doing so, they scored nine goals and conceded 16.
“Then if you look at our penalty-corners, we managed to get 12 of them in the first four matches as the last one against Australia saw us not even getting a single penalty-corner. Of these 12 we managed to convert just three.
“This shows a 25 per cent conversion rate in the group matches while the minimum should be 35 per cent. Meanwhile, the other five teams got 21 penalty-corners against us,” he pointed out.
“So looking at the goals conceded, one can figure out our team’s defence. And speaking of defence, what to say about the key person there, our goalkeeper Imran Shah! Now, if we had the seasoned Salman Akbar in the squad we may not have conceded so many goals. If any of the other 12 teams taking part in the competition also brought one goalkeeper, it was their best and most experienced man as no one takes such a big risk on a newcomer.
“Looking at our poor defence, we never had a chance to make it to the top four,” the expert pointed out.
“Obviously disappointed at having to play for seventh place, South Korea played the placement match halfheartedly though Pakistan really looked like they wanted to win this match to come back and tell the nation that they have bettered their eighth position of four years ago [in Beijing] by a spot,” said the former captain and coach.
“And yet they missed nine chances while their opponents missed eight in the placement match. Constant missing by Shafqat Rasool, Waqas Sharif was witnessed and the rest of our forward line. Pakistan got three penalty-corners, too, and captain Sohail Abbas couldn’t convert them as only the last one was converted by Mohammad Imran,” he said.
“Our missing ratio was very high in all the six matches that we played. It just shows that the team lacked proper training and was playing without any strategy,” he lamented.
“So this is where we stand, at number seven. And if we want to improve on that, we will now have to wait for the next Olympics in Rio De Janeiro in 2016. But seeing how things are at the moment who knows if we’ll even qualify for those Games,” he concluded with a sigh.
‘Time for seniors to hang up their boots’
LONDON: Hockey selector Chaudhry Arshad has suggested to the senior players in the Pakistan team to hang up their boots to help the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) raise a new-look team for the 2014 World Cup.
Talking to Dawn, Arshad a former Olympian said: “I believe the seniors have played their innings and now the next big event is World Cup 2014, so we have time to raise a formidable side for the event.
“All the seniors should follow their colleague Waseem Ahmed who called it a day soon after the South Korea game,” he said.
Arshad further said that hockey has become a power game and only young legs could perform better in the game, therefore the seniors do not have much scope in future.
While Waseem has retired from international hockey, a similar decision is expected from captain Sohail Abbas once he reaches home.
Other senior players who are now in the twilight of their careers are Rehan Butt and Shakeel Abbasi and they may soon take a decision on their future in international hockey.
To a question, Arshad admitted that head coach Akhtar Rasool should have more powers as it was the practice the world over.
“In modern hockey, coaches are being given more powers and same equation should be adopted in Pakistan,” he said.
He said the PHF would have to take some bold decisions to put the game back on the track and improvement in world ranking should be considered as a ray of hope for the future.
“Though we could not reach the podium in London, we performed satisfactorily and improved the ranking from eighth to seventh by winning three matches, losing two and drawing one,” he observed.
Worst performance ever by Indian hockey team at Olympics: Former players
“The worst ever performance” is how former Olympic gold medallists described the Indian hockey team’s disastrous campaign at the London Games.
“This is surely the worst ever performance. They have been outplayed in every department. The team never looked like they are playing at the Olympics,” Olympian Zafar Iqbal told IANS.
Iqbal, a member of the hockey team that won the last Olympic gold medal for India in 1980 at the Moscow Games, in a scathing attack called the team “mediocre” and said the country has stopped producing talented players.
“After losing all their league matches they are staring at the worst-ever finish. I have no complaints either against the selectors or the coach. It seems the country has stopped producing quality players,” said the former chief national coach.
Losing all their group matches, India play South Africa on Saturday in the playoff to decide the last two spots.
Vasudevan Baskaran, who captained the 1980 gold medallist team, said the present team lacked camaraderie and players failed to pick themselves up.
“The team looked off-colour from the very first match. There was lack of camaraderie and failed to play according to the plan, if they had one,” said Baskaran.
The former national coach, before the start of the Games, had hoped for a sterling performance from medio Sardara Singh and drag flicker Sandeep Singh.
“I have no words to describe their performance. There was no rhythm between the players either in the mid-field or while taking penalty corners. I am pained to say but this surely it is the worst ever performance.
“I had hoped that they will bounce back after the first loss, but with every match their performance plummeted. They badly failed to pick themselves up and fight back,” added Baskaran.
Paul Lopez helps beat Unified Team...
OLYMPIAN Paul Lopez only played one match in the 1996 Barcelona Olympics, but he savoured every minute as he stood between the posts when Malaysia beat the Unified Team for the ninth spot.
“In Barcelona, out of the five Group B matches, we only beat New Zealand 3-2 and were paired against Argentina in the 9th-12th classification and won 6-4.
“Ahmad Fadzil was the first choice goalkeeper and he played six matches while I was only fielded in the last match.
“I was very nervous as all this while I was only warming the bench, but after a few minutes, I became confident and it was the best game of my life as we beat the Unified Team 4-3 to finish ninth best in the world,” said Lopez.
The Unified Team at the 1992 Olympics was a joint team consisting of twelve of the fifteen former Soviet republics. Only Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania competed separately.
“We lost 7-3 to the Unified Team in the Group B match, but everybody in the squad were determined not to end up 10th, and gave one of their best performances to beat the combined strength of twelve Soviet Republics,” said Lopez.
Among his team-mates were household names Mirnawan Nawawi, Sarjit Singh, Nor Saiful Zaini, Abdul Hadi, Tai Beng Hai and Lim Chiow Chuan.
Lopez contributes his success in hockey to his employers Maybank.
“Honestly, without the support of my employers Maybank, I and many others would not have had the chance to give so much of time to hockey.
“And today, I feel sad because it is no longer the culture among banks and corporate bodies to support hockey in a big way. We only hear of two corporate bodies (Tenaga Nasional and Sapura) and Maybank still actively employing hockey players and keeping the Malaysia Hockey League alive.
“In my playing days, if you can play hockey, employment was not a problem and it was one of the encouraging factors which saw Malaysia qualify consistently in the Olympics and World Cups,” said Lopez.
Malaysia hockey has qualified for 10 Olympic Games, although they boycotted Moscow 1980 over the Russian invasion of Afghanistan.
Lopez is featured in NSTP’s ‘Honouring Our Olympians - - A Visual Tribute’ ongoing exhibition at Bangsar Shopping Centre.
New Straits Times
Pakistan joins 2012 Champions Trophy
Eight-team field now known for Melbourne
2012 Olympic Games (men), London (Photo: Frank Uijlenbroek)
The FIH today confirmed the eighth and final team for the FIH Champions Trophy to be held in Melbourne, Australia, December 1-9 will be Pakistan.
Pakistan was given the second invitational spot by the FIH Executive Board. The decision was made at the latest meeting of the Board, which concluded yesterday. India is the second men’s national team that was granted an invitation spot in the tournament.
The two will join Australia, Belgium, England, Germany, the Netherlands and New Zealand in the first top-tier men’s event following the 2012 Olympic Games.
FIH Media release
Pakistan get invitation for FIH Champions Trophy
By Muhammad Ali
LONDON: The Federation International Hockey (FIH) has confirmed the eighth and final team for the FIH Champions Trophy to be held in Melbourne, Australia from December 1-9 will be Pakistan. Pakistan have been given the second invitational spot by the FIH Executive Board. The decision was made at the latest board meeting that concluded here Friday. Pakistan twice fought back from a goal down to defeat South Korea 3-2 to claim seventh place in the London Olympics, a rank higher than their position in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Pakistan failed to qualify for the semifinals after world champions Australia defeated them 7-0 in a do-or-die battle at Riverbank Arena on Tuesday last. The national team had earlier drawn their inaugural match against Spain 1-1, won the second match against Argentina 2-0, lost against Great Britain 4-1 and defeated South Africa 5-4.India are the second men’s national team that have been granted an invitation spot in the tournament. The two will join Australia, Belgium, England, Germany, the Netherlands and New Zealand in the first top-tier men’s event following the 2012 Olympic Games. Australia will defend their Champions Trophy crown on home soil with Melbourne named as host city.
The Kookaburras will be chasing an unprecedented fifth straight title at the elite event that features the top five teams from last year’s Champions Trophy, the winner of the Champions Challenge and two invitees. Pakistan have a great history laced with flair and flamboyance. There are no competitions in the hockey world that don’t bear the stamp of the team’s class. The bastion of Asian hockey, whose game is emulated by aspiring nations, is passing through a crucial phase, caught between high expectations and an unforgiving and increasingly competitive world.
Such has been Pakistan’s plight in the last few years that they have slipped out of reckoning for the annual FIH event that they had created in 1978. Founded by Pakistan’s Air Marshal Nur Khan, it features the world’s top-ranked teams competing in a round robin format. The tournament has been an annual affair since 1980 for men and since 1987 for women. The Australians have won the trophy twelve, the Germans nine and the Dutch eight times. Pakistan won the titles three times including the first two in 1978 and 1980 and last one in 1994.
The Daily Times
FIH allows Pakistan to play in Champions Trophy 2012
LAHORE – Pakistan national hockey team, which finished seventh in the London Olympics 2012, will be playing the Men’s Hockey Champions Trophy 2012, it is learnt here on Friday.
The decision allowing Pakistan’s entry in the tournament was taken during a meeting of the executive board of the FIH.
Defending champions Australia will host the tournament which is the 34th edition of the Hockey Champions Trophy. A total of eight teams including Netherlands, New Zealand, Germany, Belgium, India and England will be playing the tournament.
Team’s head coach Akhtar Rasool appreciated the decision granting entry to Pakistan and said that the team would do its best in Champions Trophy.
Rubbing salt into the already beleaguered Indian team's wounds, Khawaja Juniad said his players had performed ‘much better’ than their arch-rivals in the Olympic Games. "I am disappointed we didn't make the semi-finals but satisfied that we finished the Olympics as the top-ranked Asian team ahead of India and Korea," he added.
Pakistan to feature in Champions Trophy
LONDON: Pakistan were included in the next Champions Trophy tournament scheduled to be held in Melbourne, Australia in December, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) announced on Friday.
The PHF secretary Asif Bajwaa told Dawn that the decision to include Pakistan in the Champions Trophy was taken by the International Hockey Federation’s (FIH) executive committee which ended its two-day meeting here on Friday. PHF president Qasim Zia also attended the meeting, Bajwa added.
Bajwa said Pakistan were included in hockey’s elite eight-nation tournament after the Green-shirts took seventh position in the London Olympics, beating South Korea 3-2 in the classification match on Thursday.
He said India had been given a wildcard entry to make the Melbourne event an eight-team contest.
Bajwa said the Champions Trophy participation would help Pakistan keep fighting among world’s top-ranked teams, adding Pakistan team needed such top-tier events a lot.
“Our hockey is also suffering due to foreign teams not coming to Pakistan on security grounds. Therefore, such competitions [like Champions Trophy] are necessary for us to continue our role at international events,” the PHF official remarked.
The future of hockey is here
FIH Officially Launches New Hockey World League
LONDON – The FIH used the backdrop of one of the grandest Olympic hockey events, the 2012 London Olympics, to introduce the future of international hockey – the Hockey World League.
The four-round, two-year event will serve as the qualifier for both the Hockey World Cup and the Olympic Games and will be an all-inclusive, world-wide event that involves a never-before-seen number of nations taking part in FIH events on an international level.
“I am very proud to launch the Hockey World League today,” FIH President Leandro Negre said at the launch on the day of the women’s Olympic gold medal game. “This has been a vision of the FIH’s for a long time and at last the day is here that we see it become a reality.”
The first round will be made up of 11 tournaments with the historic first game taking place in just four days in the Czech Republic when the Scotland and Turkey women’s national teams meet on August 14. In total men’s and women’s national teams from over 60 nations will take part in the first edition of the Hockey World League. For 19 of the countries, it will be their first-ever appearance in an FIH competition.
“Never before has an international hockey competition been open to such a wide range of teams and athletes,” Negre said. “We sit here in London ready to watch the gold medal game today and four years from now in Rio more than 2000 athletes will have been a part of the qualification process for the next Olympics. It is truly an exciting time for hockey.”
Those 2,000 athletes will accumulate around 6,000 caps and will gather FIH World Ranking points that were never-before available. In addition, around 300 officials will have the chance to take part in the World League.
“This is a two-tiered approach,” said FIH CEO Kelly Fairweather. “Not only does it give the FIH a clear qualification structure for the World Cup and Olympics, but it also provides a massive development opportunity for all areas of hockey. Who knows, what the hockey landscape will look like in Rio, maybe a team from Round 1 will be with us at the next Olympics.”
For more information on the World League structure and schedules of the upcoming tournaments, please click here.
FIH Media release
Hockey World League to start dribbling two days after Olympics
LONDON: International hockey's most ambitious event, the Hockey World League featuring national teams from across all five continents, will get underway two days after the curtains rung down on the Olympic Games.
The World League, a four-round event spread over two years, will feature more than 60 national men and women's sides competing in one structured event with the top eight ranked nations coming into the picture one year after the tournament's launch.
For teams like India, currently placed 10th the international men's rankings, it will be a second round entry into the competition which will now become the qualifying competition for the World Cup and Olympic Games.
As 12 qualifying slots are on offer for the 2014 World Cup, most nations will compete in the World League, which the International Hockey Federation (FIH) is confident will turn out to be the biggest thing in world hockey in decades.
New Delhi is among the 19 venues shortlisted by the FIH for the league. The FIH has been planning about an international league for more than one and a half decades, but this is the first step taken in this direction.
Although the FIH did not give any specific details about the financial structure or the commercial partners it had secured for such an ambitious project.
"I am proud to launch the Hockey World League," FIH President Leandro Negre said on Friday, using the backdrop of one of the grandest Olympic hockey events to introduce the new competition, which begins on August 14.
The first round of the World Hockey League will comprise 11 tournaments, with the landmark opening game being played in the Czech Republic between the women's national teams of Scotland and Turkey.
"This has been a vision of the FIH's for a long time and at last the day is here that we see it become a reality," Negre said.
"It is truly an exciting time for hockey. Never before has an international hockey competition been open to such a wide range of teams and athletes."
Among the 60 nations, which have confirmed participation in the League in the men or women's event, for 19 countries it will be their first-ever appearance in an FIH competition.
The FIH believes 2,000 players will feature in the World League which will offer World Ranking points to participating nations.
This league's arrival will result in the annual Champions Trophy now becoming a biennial tournament after this year's event in Melbourne.
The Champions Trophy in December will be India's next major competition after the debacle at the Olympics.
India has received a wildcard invitation for the eight-nation tournament, which was last year scheduled to be played in New Delhi, but was shifted by the FIH to New Zealand.
The World League, whose first edition will feature 350, matches and run from August 2012 to February 2014, will have each round acting as a qualifier for the next.
This will provide every team an opportunity to go all the way to the final. The league will give newcomers from the lower-ranked teams to compete with top-ranked players in leading nations. FIH's chief executive Kelly Fairweather said the World League will have a two-tiered approach.
"Not only does it give the FIH a clear qualification structure for the World Cup and Olympics, but it also provides a massive development opportunity for all areas of hockey," he said.
The FIH does not have any title sponsor or presenting commercial partner specifically for the World League, but says discussions were on with several sponsors in different countries.
"No it is not an event before its time," said Fairweather, adding that the FIH was close to signing up a sponsor in India.
"The FIH has its existing commercial partners and nations are ready to host World League matches," he said.
The Times of India
FIH introduces World Hockey League
LONDON: The Federation International Hockey (FIH) has used the backdrop of one of the grandest Olympic hockey events, the 2012 London Olympics, to introduce the future of international hockey – the Hockey World League. The four-round, two-year event will serve as the qualifier for both the Hockey World Cup and the Olympic Games and will be an all-inclusive, world-wide event that involves a never-before-seen number of nations taking part in FIH events on an international level. “I am very proud to launch the Hockey World League today,” FIH President Leandro Negre said here on Friday. “This has been a vision of the FIH’s for a long time and at last the day is here that we see it become a reality.” In total men’s and women’s national teams from over 60 nations will take part in the first edition of the Hockey World League. For 19 of the countries, it will be their first-ever appearance in an FIH competition.
The Daily Times
Masters World Cup puts Muzammal Malik on international stage at last
By Connor Letourneau,
Athletes tend to dread their 40th birthdays. They view the milestone as an expiration date, as a final signal to end their playing careers and transition into something more sedentary.
Muzammal Malik never got that memo. Now, at 45 years old, the Stevenson assistant field hockey coach isn't simply continuing his playing career. He is realizing a longtime dream.
Later this month, Malik will represent the United States at the inaugural Masters World Cup in Canterbury, England. He will join 17 other Over-45 men's national team members in one common cause: proving that U.S. men's field hockey can compete against the world's top powers.
"If we win two games, then we'll go to the semifinal," said Malik, who expects to start at center forward when the games begin Aug. 14. "And at that point, we'll have a chance. We can't miss on our chances."
Malik should know. He still remembers narrowly missing the cut for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. The then-17-year-old, who becamePakistan's youngest junior national team member just two years earlier, was overlooked in favor of more seasoned senior players.
While he remained in Pakistan, his home country captured gold on the world's biggest stage.
Malik was crushed. He desperately wanted to stand on that medal podium, to experience the pomp and splendor of the Olympic Games. He envisioned following in the footsteps of his uncle, who represented Pakistan at the 1948 Summer Games in London, and introduced him to the sport when he was 6 years old.
"That's why I've always dreamed to come play World Cup and come play Olympic Games," Malik said.
Little did he know, it would take nearly 30 years for part of that dream to become reality.
Malik continued to balance his national team commitments with course work after the Olympic letdown and graduated from the University of the Punjab with an economics degree in 1988. Nine years later, unsatisfied with the athletic and professional opportunities in Pakistan, he moved stateside. He figured he could help the sport grow in the United States, that his expertise would be valued in a less saturated market for field hockey.
After a stint in Chicago, Malik coached at Maryvale, Friends and St. Paul's. He also won two national championships as a club coach and founded a private summer camp.
But even as his coaching career blossomed, Malik never lost the desire to compete. He stayed active and played regularly in local tournaments and showcases.
Given the fraternal nature of the U.S. men's field hockey community, it was only a matter of time before Team USA took notice and offered him opportunities to play with the national squad.
The only problem? Malik wasn't a U.S. citizen, and therefore didn't meet the basic requirements to join Team USA.
Not willing to miss another chance to compete internationally, Malik took and passed the citizenship exam in 2009. He then had to wait nearly three years before U.S. field hockey announced its participation in the Masters World Cup, finally giving him the opportunity to represent his adopted home on the world stage.
"You just have to have the chance and go for it," Malik said. "I thought I could do it and I did it."
Since officially learning of his addition to the Over-45 men's national team in June, Malik has focused on his endurance and fitness. He trains at the University of Maryland's Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex with friends and teammates twice a week, and spends his other days jogging, swimming and coaching.
It might not be a regimen typical of a world-class athlete, but then again, few aspects of the Masters World Cup are ordinary.
Naturalized citizens such as Malik constitute nearly a third of the U.S. roster. Many of the squad's members haven't played hockey competitively in more than a decade. And the players won't have a chance to practice together until they arrive in England.
For a program already dealing with limited resources, such setbacks won't make winning any easier.
"I think that we're going to be considered the underdogs of the tournament," said Jeremy Roberts, a 49-year-old statistician at theU.S. Census Bureauwho will join Malik on the forward line in Canterbury. "But I think that we feel strongly about ourselves, and I think we're going there to compete and not just have fun. So I think we're going to be there to surprise some people."
But no matter how the United States fares in England, don't expect Malik to be deterred. He might be middle-aged, but he's hardly ready to focus solely on coaching. Not after waiting nearly three decades to reach the pinnacle of his playing career.
"I love to play hockey. Hockey is my passion," Malik said. "I want to play for at least another five years."
The Baltimore Sun
Jr. Women to compete at Pan Am Championship
Vying for berth to 2013 Junior World Cup
Field Hockey Canada is pleased to announce the athletes selected to compete for the Canadian Women’s Junior National Team at the 2012 Junior Pan American Championship, September 10 – 23 in Guadalajara, Mexico. The Championship is Canada’s opportunity to qualify for the 2013 International Hockey Federation (FIH) Junior World Cup.
“During the final weeks of preparation leading up to our departure we will be fine tuning many of our specialty pieces and continually enhancing the team environment we have successfully developed over the past year,” says Coach Peter Milkovich.
The formal preparation of Jr. Women’s team began with the identification of 55 players spread across the country. Milkovich says, “We are pleased with the opportunities we have provided over 36 players to compete for positions on this team in 2012. The final roster of players represents an excellent mix of experience and playing styles and all players share the underlying core values of this program”. The experiences and education the team have procured during their recent European Tour (July 4 to 21) will go a long way to maximize its opportunities for success in Guadalajara.
“The knowledge gained allows us to look forward to the Pan American Championships with a high level of confidence and excitement that we are prepared to achieve our goals,” says Coach Milkovich.
TEAM CANADA ROSTER
Amanda Bird (Princeton); Jessica Buttinger (Duke); Rachel Donohoe (UBC); Shannon Elmitt (California at Berkeley); Natasha Ford (Maine); Bea Francisco (UBC); Hannah Haughn (UBC); Karli Johansen (Iowa); Caashia Karringten (UBC); Ashley Kristen (West Vancouver FHC); Kathleen Leahy (UVIC); Lauren Logush (UBC); Sara McManus (UBC); Stephanie Norlander (West Vancouver FHC); Kendra Perrin (Duke); Abigail Raye (UBC); Poonam Sandhu (UBC); Kim Scraper (UBC); Maddie Secco (Stanford); Natalie Sourisseau (UBC); Holly Stewart (Maine); Sydney Veljacic (Coquitlam FHC)
Peter Milkovich (Head Coach), Rob Short (Assistant Coach), Dr. Saul Miller (Psychologist), Jessica Kenny (Physiotherapist)
Field Hockey Canada media release
Unhappy with shortened season
By Jugjet Singh
KUALA Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) coach K. Dharmaraj hopes this season's Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) format is a one-off thing and not a permanent fixture.
The shortened MHL will be held over five weeks from Sept 1 to Oct 10, and there will not be a Premier Division and Division One combined knock-out quarterfinals.
This is because the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) left it late to draw its calendar and now have to fit in the Razak Cup in Kuantan from Oct 14-21.
The Premier Division will also be trimmed from nine teams to six, as Yayasan Negri Sembilan had opted out while UiTM and Armed Forces prefer to play in the less gruelling Division One.
That leaves double champions KLHC, Sapura, Maybank, UniKL, Tenaga Nasional and Nur Insafi in the higher division.
"I hope this season's MHL structure is a one-off thing because it is too short a period for players to improve themselves.
"And also, the Premier Division clubs will spend a lot of money to sign the best players in the country but will not get their returns in terms of playing time," said Dharmaraj.
Clubs who normally secure foreign players to boost their chances, are also likely to refrain from hiring anyone this season.
"KLHC are looking to hire India's Sardar Singh and Sandeep Singh but it might not work out as the MHL is being held on a rushed schedule," said Dharmaraj.
Dharmaraj, who is also the Project 2013 coach, has taken his junior side on a Tour of Europe and will be back just in time for the MHL.
The Project 2013 will play a series of 10 matches as early preparations for the Junior World Cup in November next year in New Delhi.
New Straits Times
KLHC the ones to beat in MHL
Ready for action: Mohd Azwar Abdul Rahman (left) is one of the two youngsters roped in by the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club for the Malaysia Hockey League which begins on Sept 1. Ready for action: Mohd Azwar Abdul Rahman (left) is one of the two youngsters roped in by the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club for the Malaysia Hockey League which begins on Sept 1.
KUALA LUMPUR: Double champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) will again be the team to beat in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).
KLHC, powered by seven internationals, were double champions the last two years – winning both the league and overall titles.
Now, with the MHL set to begin on Sept 1, they are looking good for a third double.
And why not? With national players like goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin, defenders Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim and Mohd Sukri Abdul Mutalib, midfielders Mohd Shahrun Nabil and Nabil Fiqri Mohd Noor and forwards Tengku Ahmad Taijuddin and Azlan Misron in their line-up, who is to deny them the hattrick?
No wonder Sukri, who is the national skipper, is confident that “no one is going to stop us winning the league title this year”.
“I don’t think any team in the Premier Division can stop us. We have a solid team and it will be tough for other teams to beat us,” he said.
The 26-year-old Sukri added that they will be banking on penalty corner flicker Razie for the goals. Razie was the top scorer for KLHC with 27 goals in 2010.
KLHC can also rely on the services of forward Mohd Syamim Mohd Yusof, who helped Malaysia win the Junior Asia Cup in Malacca in May.
They have also roped in two youngsters – midfielder Mohd Azwar Abdul Rahman and forward Mohd Najib Abu Hassan – for the MHL this season.
Azwar and Najib, who will both be sitting for their Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examinations in November, are members of the Project 2013 training squad that left on a playing tour of Europe on Wednesday.
The other teams in the Premier Division are Tenaga Nasional, Sapura, Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL), Maybank and Nur Insafi.
The MHL is only for five weeks and will be over on Oct 10. There is no knockout stage competition this year because the Razak Cup competition begins four days later in Kuantan.
The Star of Malaysia
Sabah set themselves a lofty target for Razak Cup
By AFTAR SINGH
KUALA LUMPUR: Sabah intend to make up for not sending a team to the Pahang Sukma last month by featuring in the Razak Cup hockey competition in Kuantan in October.
The Sabah Hockey Association (SHA) have retained Maybank coach S. Velappan to chart their fortunes for a second season.
Last year, the Malacca-born coach guided Sabah to finish fifth in the eight-team Division Two competition in Malacca.
The SHA, however, have set a lofty target for this year’s competition, which begins on Oct 14. They are looking at winning the Division Two title.
The 49-year-old Velappan admitted that it would be a big challenge for him to guide Sabah to the final.
“I will do all I can to help the team achieve the target. I will start training the team on Sept 3 and I will have five weeks to turn them into a formidable side,” said Velappan, who coached the national to victory in the SEA Cup tournament in Myanmar last year.
Velappan had also coached the National Under-16 team to a runner-up finish in the four-nation tournament in Mannheim, Germany, in 2010.
Velappan said Sabah would basically feature the same squad from last year’s Razak Cup tournament.
“The three main players are Dick Cheny Waili, Eldron Lemery and Larry Lian, who played for Negri Sembilan in the Pahang Sukma,” said Velappan.
Besides Sabah, the other teams in Division Two are Selangor, Malacca, Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis, Sarawak and 2017 Project squad.
Former champions Malacca, who finished last in Division One last year, have been relegated to Division Two.
Negri Sembilan, who won the Division Two title last year, have been promoted to Division One this season.
The other teams in Division One are defending champions Kuala Lumpur, Pahang, Terengganu, Perak, Penang, Johor and Armed Forces.
The Star of Malaysia