At the Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 in Delhi, England suffered their first defeat of the competition at the hands of Spain (0-2) and Australia grabbed the lead of pool B with their victory over Pakistan (2-1), while South Africa produced another excellent performance to tie India (3-3).
Game 25 – Spain v. England: 2-0 (half-time: 1-0)
England, still unbeaten in this competition, were the first qualified for the semi-finals of this World Cup, while Spain, semi-finalists of the last three World Cups, needed to beat England, then count on Pakistan beating Australia later in the day, to have a chance to make their way to the final four on goal difference.
With less at stake, England started with not as much determination as usual and Pol AMAT, left alone in the circle, had a good chance around the 10th minute mark. This was the wake-up call England needed and they tightened the lines, putting more pressure on the Spanish circle but without creating much danger, including on a scrambled penalty-corner. James TINDALL had a long run, leaving two Spanish defenders flat-footed with a fake to penetrate the circle, but his final shot was weak and wide.
A quick combination in the circle earned England a penalty-corner but Ashley JACKSON, their remaining penalty-corner striker since Richard MANTELL’s injury, flicked it wide. Both teams, playing their fifth game in nine days, seemed physically tired, making multiple unforced errors. Spain earned a penalty-corner in the final minute of the period, after a collision between two English defenders, and Pau QUEMADA added a goal to his tally, Spain going into the break with a meagre one-goal lead.
The pace picked up in second half. Eduard TUBAU tried a difficult lob over James FAIR in the English goal but his ball ended up marginally too high. The game was flowing back and forth but was scarce in real chances until a superb collective Spanish movement in the 64th minute ended with three players arriving in front of James FAIR and Eduard TUBAU the last one to touch the ball for the second Spanish goal.
English could not react significantly and the lacklustre match ended with the three points for Spain.
Match facts (Spain v. England):
> Spain will play in the Final 5-6 on Friday, 12 March, unless PAK beat AUS by at least 13 goals.
> Spain have featured in the Final 5-6 three times winning on all three occasions beating ENG (3-0 in 1973), India (2-0 in1978) and Argentina (3-2 in 1986).
> Pau Quemada scored his 4th PC goal at Delhi 2010.
> Eduard Tubau scored his first goal in Delhi and his ninth in World Cup competition. Only Ignacio Escudé has scored more World Cup goals for Spain (11).
> This marked the first time England failed to score in a WC match since they fell 1-0 to Korea on 8 September 2006.
> England have now failed in score in 3 of 7 World Cup matches against Spain.
> Australia can now finish top in Pool A if they beat Pakistan.
Game 26 – Australia v. Pakistan: 2-1 (half-time: 0-1)
In the second game of the day, Australia had a chance to top the pool with a win, thanks to their goal difference boosted by their record win against South Africa (12-0). They were facing a Pakistani outfit struggling in this competition, with defeats at the hands of India, England and South Africa and a meagre win over Spain.
The Kookaburras were promptly in action and created a handful of chances in the opening five minutes but the final passes were lacking precision. Pakistan progressively became more dangerous after fifteen minutes of play, threatening Nathan BURGERS in the Australian goal in two occasions but they were most of the times confined in their defensive zone. Salman AKBAR was called into action a few times, including on two shots in quick succession from close range that he successfully deflected. Somewhat against the flow of play, Pakistan earned two penalty-corners in a row in the 24th minute and Sohail ABBAS slotted the second one in the top corner after hitting the crossbar on the first one.
Australia maintained a sustained pressure for the remainder of the period, however, despite having most of the ball possession, they could not generate any clear chance and Pakistan went into the break with their one-goal lead. The Kookaburras jumped into action as soon as play resumed and immediately equalized by Desmond ABBOTT with a powerful shot from the edge of the circle.
Play suddenly opened up with crowd pleasing movements sweeping across the field. The Pakistani forward, who have not showed much in this competition so far, were once again not combining well and the Green Shirts had to rely on penalty-corners. They had two chances on set pieces but Waseem AHMED then Sohail ABBAS were off target, as was Luke DOERNER as the other end.
With both teams eager to win, Australia to top the pool and Pakistan for pride, the last ten minutes were very intense and animated. Pakistan thought that they had forced another penalty-corner but it was denied by the video umpire, then Shakeel ABBASI had a huge chance alone at the top of the circle and sent his shot high in the crowd... The deadlock was only broken in the 68th minute by Desmond ABBOTT bursting forward to deflect a cross by Robert HAMMOND from the left, leaving the Green Shirts dejected after their forth defeat and Australia relieved to grab a last minute win despite a mediocre performance.
Match facts (Australia v. Pakistan):
> Australia beat Pakistan 2-1 to become group winner in Pool B, beating England on goal difference.
> This is Australia’s ninth semi-final berth. Only Germany has played more semi-final matches (10, excluding 2010).
> Pakistan will finish 5th or 6th in the Pool depending on the result of the South Africa – India match.
> Des Abbott scored twice to lift his WC total to four goals. He now joins Glenn Turner (AUS) as player with most field goals scored at Delhi 2010 (4).
> Sohail Abbas, Pakistan’s top goal scorer in WC competition is now on 18 goals. The all-time WC record stands at 26 goals and is held by Paul Litjens (NED). Amongst active players only Taeke Taekema (NED) has scored more goals (19).
Game 27 – South Africa v. India: 3-3 (half-time: 1-2)
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.
The Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 continues on Tuesday in Delhi with the conclusion of Pool A, when Germany face New Zealand, The Netherlands meet Korea and Canada conclude the day against Argentina.
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 9 - Monday 8 March 2010
Spain v. England 2:0 (1:0)
ESP 35mn Pau QUEMADA (PC) 1:0
ESP 64mn Eduard TUBAU (FG) 2:0
Australia v. Pakistan 2:1 (0:1)
PAK 24mn Sohail ABBAS (PC) 0:1
AUS 39mn Desmond ABBOTT (FG) 1:1
AUS 68mn Desmond ABBOTT (FG) 2:1
South Africa v. India 3:3 (1:2)
RSA 8mn Lloyd NORRIS-JONES (FG) 1:0
IND 17mn Sarvanjit SINGH (FG) 1:1
IND 24mn Vikram PILLAY (FG) 1:2
RSA 39mn Justin REID-ROSS (PC) 2:2
RSA 47mn Austin SMITH (PC) 3:2
IND 66mn Shivendra SINGH (FG) 3:3
Pool A: 1) Netherlands 10 pts 2) Germany 8 pts 3) Korea 7pts 4) New Zealand 6 pts 5) Argentina 3 pts 6) Canada 0 pt
Pool B: 1) Australia 12 pts (+17) 2) England 12 pts (+5) 3) Spain 9 pts 4) India 4 pts (-4) 5) South Africa 4 pts (-15) 6) Pakistan 3 p
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