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Hockey: Australia down India to join Dutch, Kiwis and England in semis

Australia (in gold) fought back from two goals down to defeat hosts India 7-2 in Wednesday’s last quarter-final at the Hero World League final in Delhi. Photos: FIH.

Australia (in gold) fought back from two goals down to defeat hosts India 7-2 in Wednesday’s last quarter-final at the Hero World League final in Delhi. Photos: FIH.

January 16, 2014: Australia came back from two goals down to defeat hosts India 7-2 in Wednesday’s quarter-finals of the inaugural Hero World League Final in Delhi and set up a semi-final showdown with the Netherlands, who held on for a 2-1 win over Olympic champions Germany.

 

England continued their winning run with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Belgium and will face New Zealand, who beat Argentina in a sudden-death shootout after a 1-1 draw in regulation time.

 

India, who will face Germany in the fifth-eighth semi-finals, raised home hopes when they took a shock 2-0 lead against Australia, winners of the last World Cup in 2010 and the third world’s third-ranked team. Birenda Lakra opened the scoring in the sixth before Yuvraj doubled the lead five minutes later much to the delight of the crowd.

 

The turnaround started in the 24th minute when Nicholas Budgeon smashed in a penalty corner and Jason Wilson equalised five minutes later. Just before half-time Glenn Turner marked his 100th cap with a goal to make it 3-2.

 

Australia then dominated the second half, scoring three times in a six-minute burst. After Russell Ford extended the lead in the 41st minute, Simon Orchard smashing in a shot four minutes later before Ford added another in the 47th minute. Jacob Whetton rounded out the scoring in the 65th minute.

 

India coach Terry Walsh, a former Australia striker, said his team had not been able to cope with the physicality of the Kookaburras. “The physiological make-up of the Indian players needs to develop further,” Walsh said. “Our players are up against big, strong men and when it is like that, fatigue sets in.”

 

India will next face Germany, who finished strongly after going two down against the Netherlands in a match-up between the world’s top two ranked sides, as the Dutch gained a small measure of revenge for defeat in the 2012 Olympic final in London.

 

Netherlands (in orange) held for a 2-1 over Germany and will face Australia in the semis.

Netherlands (in orange) held for a 2-1 over Germany and will face Australia in the semis.

Mink van der Weerden flicked home a penalty corner in the first minute and five minutes later Seve van Ass, son of head coach Paul, got the final touch to double the lead.

 

Germany played with more intensity in the second half and were on the scoreboard within three minutes of the restart after youngster Florian Fuchs kept possession in the area and linked well with team captain Oliver Korn, who tipped the ball into the goal. Despite extensive pressure, Germany were unable to find the equaliser.

 

Robbert Kemperman of the Netherlands said: “This is a great feeling. We had a tough last 10 minutes as the Germans really came at us and we were not as sharp as we should have been in the second half. Really we should have closed the game down earlier.”

 

Germany coach Markus Weise was disappointed with his team’s start and also their performance at set plays. “We didn’t play well in the first half and some of the boys didn’t do the work that they needed to,” Weise said. “We were much better in the second half, but one good half is not enough when you are playing the best in the world. Really, I was not satisfied with the way we took our penalty corners today.”

 

In the first quarter final, England and Belgium played out a close-fought and tense match ultimately separated by a single goal. England, who remain unbeaten, looked uncomfortable at times, but a series of saves by George Pinner – named Hero Man of the Match – kept them in the hunt and consigned Belgium to yet another defeat.

 

For most of the first half Belgium looked the sharper side and caught the England defence in possession on a number of occasions. Belgium took the initiative in the second half, winning a penalty corner in the opening minute and drawing another save from Pinner, which acted as a spur to the England team.

 

England (in red) beat Belgium 1-0 and will take on New Zealand on Friday.

England (in red) beat Belgium 1-0 and will take on New Zealand on Friday.

Two more penalty corners to England increased the pressure on the Belgium defence and Carson who scored with a drag-flick from the edge of the circle in the 47th minute. Pinner was again called into action to make saves from Tom Boon and Gauthier Boccard, as the world’s fourth-ranked side held on for the win.

 

England coach Bobby Crutchley said: “Belgium are a really good side, so we are more than pleased with the result. We needed to put our corners away, as that would have relieved the pressure a little.”

 

Belgium boss Marc Lammers was disappointed that his team were unable to convert their many chances, but admitted it was an entertaining spectacle.

 

“This was a good game and we played much better in the second half,” he said. “The problem was that we missed too many chances. Our defence and midfield was okay, but the attackers really need to improve. There was less danger from them.”

 

England next face New Zealand, who emerged victorious in the tournament’s first shootout.

 

Kane Russell, named Hero Man of the Match, shot the Blacks Sticks into an eight-minute lead as New Zealand dominated the first 35 minutes, although this was reversed in the second half as Argentina piled on the pressure, Matias Paredes eventually scoring from open play in the 59th minute.

 

At the end of the first round of the penalty shootout, both teams were level after two successful penalty attempts each. The second round was sudden death and both Agustin Mazzilli and Hugo Inglis scored.

 

However, after Lucas Vila failed to score for Argentina, Blair Hilton became the hero as he took the ball wide around the keeper Joaquin Berthold and scored to put the Black Sticks into the last four.

 

The Black Sticks celebrate after beating Argentina in a penalty shootout.

The Black Sticks celebrate after beating Argentina in a penalty shootout.

New Zealand coach Colin Batch, a former Australia international, was delighted with the result and looking forward to a semi-final showdown with England.

 

“England have been playing very well, so we hope they have an off day,” Batch said. “We have had an up and down tournament. We have faded during some of our matches and we need consistency over 70 minutes.”

 

Source: FIH

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