|March 8th, 2010|
|27||Pool B||8:30pm||RSA - IND||3 - 3 (1 - 2)||Final|
The last game of pool B opposed South Africa and India, both with three losses and only one win. South Africa were nevertheless in a positive mind after their historic win against Pakistan while India had lost three games in a row since their opening win against arch-rivals Pakistan. Unfortunately, the local crowd had lost some of its devoted patience for its team and the venue was only half full when it was overcrowded for the previous games of the host team.
South Africa started quickly, as usual, and had two good chances in the opening stages, first by Thornton McDADE with a powerful reverse stick shot saved by Adrian D'SOUZA in the Indian goal, then through a deflection from close range narrowly missed. The third opportunity was the good one and Lloyd NORRIS-JONES concluded a long run through the Indian defense with a powerful shot past the keeper to open the scoring. The African Champions continued on the same note, playing a completely different hockey than at the beginning of the competition, and missed a penalty-corner by a whisker.
Sarvanjit SINGH brought back his team level in the 17th minute after dribbling his way through the circle. This triggered a flurry of Indian attacks in front of the flag waving kop behind Erasmus PIETERSE in the South African goal. South Africa were clearly on their heels and managed to survive unscathed for a while, including on two penalty-corners scrambled by the stoppers, but Vikram PILLAY was well positioned just in front of the keeper to deflect a long pass and give the advantage to the local team.
South Africa nearly came back on the scoreboard with two spectacular moves, both concluded by deflections that had the keeper stranded but missed the top corner by inches. They nevertheless scored early after the break by Justin REID-ROSS picking up the rebound of a penalty-corner shot stopped on the line by a defender.
India scored a third goal after a sumptuous series of passes that swept away the whole South African defense, however it was vehemently contested by the African Champions and subsequently annulled by the video-umpire with a penalty-corner allocated to South Africa at the other end! In a dramatic turn of event, Austin SMITH scored it and South Africa was suddenly leading again on the scoreboard! A long period of intense Indian pressure followed with all field players crammed in the South African 25m and some boiling hot situation in front of Erasmus PIETERSE. Gurwinder Singh CHANDI, Sarvanjit SINGH and Rajpal SINGH were very active on the right flank of the attack but time was passing and the South Africans were still hanging on for dear life. India missed a penalty-corner but Shivendra SINGH did not miss the chance to tie up the score from a wild scrum in front of the goal.
South Africa were only a few minutes away from completing a spectacular double win against Pakistan then India, only days after suffering a sobering defeat 0-12 at the hands of Australia. The tie put India in fourth place in Pool B, South Africa in fifth and relegated Pakistan to the 11th-12th place game.
Match facts (South Africa v. India):
> India finish four and qualify for the Final 7-8. This is their best WC result since 1994, when they finished fifth.
> India have never played in a Final 7-8 match in World Cup competition.
> South Africa, ranked 13th in the world, will play the Final 9-10. They will at least equal their best WC result ever which is 10th place in 1994.
> South Africa have now conceded 28 goals in five matches at Delhi 2010.
> India hold on to their unbeaten status in World Cup matches against South Africa: 1 win and 3 draws.
> Pakistan will play the Final 11-12, like they did in 1986 (11th), when they got their worst result in World Cup competition.