At the Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010, England booked their ticket for the semi-final by dominating the host India (3-2) in a fiery atmosphere in Delhi, South Africa achieved an historic win over Pakistan (4-3) and Australia rekindled their semi-final chances with a precious win over Spain (2-0).
Game 19 – Australia v. Spain: 2-0 (half-time: 1-0)
In this World Cup, Australia lost their opening game to England (2-3) but came back to beat India (5-2) and South Africa (12-0), while Spain beat South Africa (4-2) and India (5-2) but lost to Pakistan (1-2).
The game started under the Delhi blaring afternoon sun, but it did not seem to bother the Kookaburras who spent the first ten minutes peppering the Spanish goal. Grant SCHUBERT had a superb opportunity alone in front of the goal but lost the ball in his feet. Spain earned a penalty corner on their first counter-attack in the 7th minute, after intervention of the video-umpire, but the powerful high flick was wonderfully saved on the line by Kiel BROWN.
Both teams were keeping a tight marking in midfield and key players such as Jamie DWYER were kept under a close Spanish watch. Finally, Edward OCKENDEN forced a penalty-corner in the 20th minute and Luke DOERNER did not pass on the chance to open the scoring with a mid-height flick that beat Francisco CORTES in the Spanish goal. Spain scrambled two penalty-corners at the other end, then nearly scored when Eduard TUBAU stole a ball in midfield and arrived one-on-one with Nathan BURGERS, but the Australian keeper managed to push him aside enough for his shot to go off target.
Spain were given a penalty-corner in the dying seconds of the period, after another referral to the video-umpire, but it was saved again on the line, this time by Luke DOERNER, busy at both ends on penalty-corners. The Spaniards were saved by the post on a penalty-corner soon after the break, then scrambled two set pieces of their own. With time passing and the score still marginally in favor of the Kookaburras, Spain tried to push more but were repeatedly caught in the tight net thrown by the Australian midfield. Spain were also exposing more their defense to counter-attacks and Jamie DWYER ran 75m after stealing a ball; he set up perfectly Kieran GOVERS on the second post but the ball eluded him.
Spain picked up a yellow card on the play and were subsequently pushed back on their heels for a while and Glenn TURNER added a second goal for the Kookaburras in the 60th minute after a lengthy series of passes that mystified the Spaniards. Spain pushed in the final minutes, with Australia happy to just hit the ball up field. The Spaniards scrambled two more penalty-corner chances and Australia bagged the three points of the win, avenging in the process their loss against Spain in the semi-finals of the 2008 Olympic Games (2-3) and taking a serious option for a semi-final berth.
Match Facts (Australia v. Spain):
> Glenn Turner (AUS) netted his fifth goal this tournament, to help Australia well on their way to a ninth successive WC semi-final berth.
> Luke Doerner (AUS) is now on 6 (PC) goals at Delhi 2010, as is Taeke Taekema (NED).
> The Australian record for most goals in a World Cup tournament is 12 by Ian Cooke in 1978 and Jay Stacy in 1998.
> Ramon Alegre became the first Spanish player to be shown a yellow card this tournament.
> Spain who were in the semi-finals in two of the last three WC tournaments (2006 and 1998) will find it extremely hard to reach the last four at Delhi 2010 with six points from four matches.
> Spain failed to convert any of the eight PCs awarded to them in this match.
Game 20 – South Africa v. Pakistan: 4-3 (half-time: 0-1)
South Africa was up to a difficult task in the second match of the day. Having lost their first three encounters against Spain, England and Australia, they were pitted against a Pakistani team with their backs to the wall after losing severely to India (1-4) on opening day then to England (2-5). As in their first two games, South Africa nearly opened the scoring on a penalty-corner in the second minute of play, but it was Rehan BUTT who emerged from a wild scrum in front of Erasmus PIETERSE to score the first goal in the 6th minute.
Oddly, the Green Shirts seemed satisfied with the meagre lead and played at half-pace for a while, trying to show their individual skills but repeatedly losing the balls on unforced errors. South Africa boldly took their chances upfront and defended well a few penalty-corners, including a Sohail ABBAS low flick that went to video-umpiring referral for confirmation of the call then invalidation of the goal.
Taine PATON exposed the porosity of the Pakistani defense in the 31st minute, stealing a ball outside the 25m and running unchallenged before sending high in the stands his shot, that had Salman AKBAR stranded. South Africa had a long period of domination, dictating the pace to a Pakistani team definitely unimpressive. The final minutes of the period were all South Africa and the Green Shirts were clearly happy to pass the ball around to count down the clock and go into the break with their scanty one-goal lead.
South Africa picked up the game where they had left it, forcing a penalty-corner in the 38th minute and scoring by Gareth CARR after a well executed combination that sent the Pakistani runners in no-man’s-land. The crowd, now happy to support the underdog against the Pakistani neighbours, had more reason to erupt in wild cheers when Ian HALEY batted the ball into the empty goal after the shot from Thornton McDADE was deflected high up in the air by Salman AKBAR. Incredibly, South Africa added another goal shortly after by Taine PATON, taking advantage of a completely disoriented Pakistani defense gasping for air.
The rout continued in the 54th minute, when Salman AKBAR saw Marvin HARPER arrive alone in front of him and propel a missile in net. 4-1 for South Africa and twelve minutes to go! The South Africans (and the gamblers) in the crowd would certainly not have dreamed such a scenario one hour before. South Africa, on the verge of an historic feat, were now fighting with tooth and nail to defend their lead against Pakistani players who had lost all concept of team play.
Erasmus PIETERSE stood tall in goal to thwart some desperate final assaults. Muhammad IMRAN and Waseem AHMED scored on penalty-corners, including one that needed to be taken three times with no time on the clock, but it was too little too late and the Green Shirts left the pitch dejected while the African Champions enjoyed a deserved standing ovation from the capacity crowd.
Match Facts (South Africa v. Pakistan):
> South Africa beat Pakistan 4-3 to end their 10-match winless streak in World Cup competition.
> This is South Africa’s first WC win since 2002 when they beat Belgium 5-4 in the match for 13th place.
> South Africa join Pakistan on three points in Pool B. India are also on three points but they are still to play England tonight.
Game 21 – England v. India: 3-2 (half-time: 1-0)
The marquis match of the day opposed England, still unbeaten in the competition after wins over Australia (3-2), South Africa (6-4) and Pakistan (5-2), to a an Indian outfit that gave hope to their whole country when they opened the World Cup with a decisive victory over arch-rivals Pakistan (4-1), only to fall to Australia (2-5) and Spain (2-5). The pundits were divided in the approach to take (more individual runs? More dribbles one-on-one? More passes?) but the crowd certainly did not worry about these technicalities and was cheering unconditionally for their heroes.
The first chance was for Sandeep SINGH on penalty-corner but his low flick did not fool the English runners. He has been harshly criticized by the powerful local media for his poor shows in defense and his inefficiency on penalty-corners, the main reason he is on the team. India committed the same basic defensive mistake as against Spain, leaving James TINDALL unmarked on the far post to quietly deflect a hard pass from Nick CATLIN in the 16th minute. Shivendra SINGH, back in the team after serving a two-game suspension for an incident against Pakistan, arrived on his own at the top of the circle, but English keeper James FAIR was waiting for him and showed his class by pushing the attacker aside until his retreating defenders could take charge of him.
Shivendra SINGH scrambled another chance a few minutes later, hurrying too much his shot. Meanwhile, the European Champions were playing their collective game with poise and speed, both in defense and counter-attack. They defended another penalty-corner successfully, this time with BHARAT officiating and they went into the break with a meager, but precious, one-goal lead.
Second period started in a corrida atmosphere, with feet stomping, flag waving, chanting, shouting and cheering. To its credit and unlike in other sports and other parts of the world, the crowd was supporting its team enthusiastically but without any jeering for the English opponents, although there was understandably little applause when Ashley JACKSON, officiating in replacement of injured Richard MANTELL, slotted a penalty-corner out of reach of Adrian D'SOUZA in the 42nd minute.
Rajpal SINGH and Sarvanjit SINGH tried to save the nation with deep solitary runs, but England scored again in the 47th minute by Ashley JACKSON, increasing their lead to 3 goals. Pushed by the roaring crowd, the Indian forwards finally scored by Gurwinder Singh CHANDI deflecting from close range a hard cross from the right wing, then shortly after by Rajpal SINGH on the post to collect the ball at the conclusion of a superb Asian style counter-attack that started with a save by their keeper D'SOUZA.
The last ten minutes promised to be pure hell for England, with the whole Indian team in attack and the crowd acting as twelfth and even thirteenth player. England fought fiercely on every ball and managed to maintain their structure and strict individual marking. They got a reprieve when Sardar SINGH was showed a yellow card for a nasty tackle on Ashley JACKSON. The Indians were becoming totally desperate and unnecessarily rough and lost Gurbaj SINGH on another yellow card but nevertheless nearly equalized in the dying seconds of the match by Rajpal SINGH, missing a deflection tantalizingly close to the far post.
Match Facts (England v. India):
> England beat India 3-2 to become the first team at Delhi 2010 to qualify for the semi-finals.
> England have reached the semi-finals for the second time and for the first time since 1986 when they finished runners-up to Australia.
> England have now won their last 7 WC matches.
> Ashley Jackson’s 42nd minute PC goals marked the 150th goal for England in World Cup competition.
> Jackson has now scored in each of England’s four matches at Delhi 2010.
> India (-4), Pakistan (-6) and South Africa (-15) are all on three points from four matches, with one match to go in Pool B.
The Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 continues on Sunday in Delhi when Korea face Canada, New Zealand meet Argentina and Germany conclude the day against The Netherlands.
For additional information, pictures, video clips, official game sheets, and more, please check the special FIH event site @ http://www.worldhockey.org/worldcup/.
Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 (men) – Delhi, India
Results Day 7 - Saturday 6 March 2010
Australia v. Spain 2:0 (1:0)
AUS 20mn Luke DOERNER (PC) 1:0
AUS 60mn Glenn TURNER (FG) 2:0
South Africa v. Pakistan 4:3 (0:1)
PAK 6mn Rehan BUTT (FG) 0:1
RSA 38mn Gareth CARR (PC) 1:1
RSA 41mn Ian HALEY (FG) 2:1
RSA 46mn Taine PATON (FG) 3:1
RSA 54mn Marvin HARPER (FG) 4:1
PAK 68mn Muhammad IMRAN (PC) 4:2
PAK 70+mn Waseem AHMED (PC) 4:3
England v. India 3:2 (1:0)
ENG 16mn James TINDALL (FG) 1:0
ENG 42mn Ashley JACKSON (PC) 2:0
ENG 47mn Ashley JACKSON (FG) 3:0
IND 54mn Gurwinder Singh CHANDI (FG) 3:1
IND 57mn Rajpal SINGH (FG) 3:2
Pool A: 1) Netherlands 9 pts 2) Germany 7 pts 3) New Zealand 6 pts 4) Korea 4pts 5) Argentina 0 pt (-5) 6) Canada 0 pt (-13)
Pool B: 1) England 12 pts 2) Australia 9 pts 3) Spain 6 pts 4) India 3 pts (-4) 5) Pakistan 3 pts (-6) 6) South Africa 3 pts (-1
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