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Hockey: Dutch, Kiwis reach Delhi final: India bounce back to stun Germany

The Netherlands beat Australia 4-3 to join New Zealand in the final of the inaugural Hero World League Final in New Delhi. Photos: FIH.

The Netherlands beat Australia 4-3 to join New Zealand in the final of the Hero World League Final in Delhi. Photos: FIH.

January 18, 2014: The Netherlands edged Australia 4-3 to reach the final of the Hero World League Final in New Delhi, where they will face New Zealand, who won their second successive penalty shootout after a 3-3 draw with England in regulation time. It’s a remarkable turnaround for both finalists, who each lost two of their three pool games.

 

In the fifth-eighth semi-finals, India provided one of the shocks of the tournament when they came back from 3-1 down to win 5-4 against Olympic champions Germany, the world’s top-ranked side. The hosts will face Belgium in the fifth playoff after the European side beat Argentina in a penalty shootout following a 1-1 draw in regulation time.

 

The Netherlands’ mouth-watering match against Australia featured the world’s second and third ranked sides respectively. Constantijn Jonker scored in the 12th minute when his reverse stick shot found its way into the net and the Dutch doubled their lead in the 20th minute through Mink van der Weerden’s drag flick.

 

Australia fired back in the second half, with their first goal following two minutes of intense pressure on the Dutch goal as Kieran Govers capitalised on a penalty corner in the 42nd minute. Five minutes later Russell Ford equalised by deflecting a long pass into Jaap Stockmann’s net.

 

Govers fired home a penalty corner in the 55th minute – his sixth goal of the tournament – to put the 2010 World Cup winners ahead for the first time. However, Jeroen Hertzberger equalised from open play just seven minutes later and with just four minutes remaining, Van der Weerden converted his second penalty corner for the winner.

 

Van der Weerden, named Hero Man of the Match, said: “It was a great game, we all played well, and when necessary we fought back very well. Australia played a great game.”

 

Bob de Voogd added: “We knew that Australia would press in the second half, but we reacted in time and didn’t panic. We haven’t played New Zealand yet, but they are like Australia, straightforward and direct. We need to stick to our game plan.”

 

Australian captain Mark Knowles said: “When you play in a semi-final, you always want to win. We played with courage, but we also gave them some easy options.”

 

Govers added: “This tournament has been a massive learning curve. We had some new players in our squad so it was good for them to be exposed to playing some of the best players in the world.”

 

New Zealand earlier faced England looking to avenge their 5-1 defeat in the pool stage and started more dangerously, winning four penalty corners in quick succession, but England keeper George Pinner made some sharp saves.

 

Marcus Child finally breached the England defence in the 12th minute, firing home from wide of the goal and soon after teammate Simon Child hit the side netting. England bounced back through after Harry Martin dived full-length to score from a cross from Mark Gleghorne in the 23rd minute.

 

In the 49th minute, Gleghorne fired home from the right-hand side of the circle to give England the lead, but the Black Sticks continued attacking and were rewarded with two quick goals from Stephen Jenness and Hugo Inglis in the 61st and 62nd minutes.

 

Two minutes later, Ashley Jackson scored England’s equaliser after Barry Middleton was fouled en route to goal and a shootout was required, New Zealand’s second after edging Argentina in the quarter-finals.

 

The sides were level after the first five attempts, so it came down to sudden death and both sides remained level until Harry Martin missed for England and Phil Burrows became the Black Sticks hero alongside keeper Devon Manchester.

 

New Zealand coach Colin Batch said: “After our poor start, a lot of people will be surprised to see us in the final. We are doing well on shootouts; it was the difference between winning or losing. Devon Manchester was outstanding.”

 

England coach Bobby Crutchley said: “I thought the shootout would last forever, but that shows the high quality. The pressure under which both teams played in the shootout was impressive. I’m not totally happy with today’s performance.”

 

India delight home crowd with sensational comeback

India delighted their home fans by coming from 2-0 and 3-1 down to beat Olympic champions Germany 5-4 to set up a fifth-place playoff against Belgium.

India delighted their home fans by coming from 2-0 and 3-1 down to beat Olympic champions Germany 5-4 to set up a fifth-place playoff against Belgium.

Playing in front of the largest crowd of the tournament so far, India joined Belgium in Saturday’s fifth place playoff after a shock comeback against Germany, who had lost 3-2 to the Netherlands in the quarter-final.

 

Germany Oliver Korn opened the scoring in the fourth minute and just two minutes later big striker Thilo Stralkowski doubled the lead from a penalty corner. Mandeep Singh lifted home hopes in the 18th minute when he rounded off a counter-attack with a shot from the top of the circle, but Benjamin Wess added another one for Germany in the 27th minute for a 3-1 lead at half-time.

 

India delighted the home crowd in the second half when they pulled level with strikes from Rupinder Singh and Mandeep Singh in the 39th and 41st minutes respectively. In the 53rd minute, Mandeep Singh completed his hat-trick to put India 4-3 ahead, but just two minutes later Germany equalised through a penalty corner goal from Martin Häner.

 

However, India players and fans were left celebrating when Rupinder Singh scored from a penalty corner in the last minute of the match.

 

India coach Terry Walsh said: “We tried to play our game and for large sections of the game we did. We certainly matched the Germans; either team could have won. We came back from being 2-0 down to win and that shows the calibre of these guys.”

 

Walsh, the former Australia striker who was appointed in October, singled out Mandeep Singh for praise. “When someone is as good in front of goal as this guy, we need to build our team around utilising that talent.”

 

Mandeep Singh, named Hero Man of the Match, was modest about his own performance. “I had such great service from the team throughout the match.”

 

Roelant Oltmans, India’s director of performance, believes India have a strong future if they can combine natural skill with modern tactics. “Getting structure is the key to development in this side. We need to find a way to combine Indian style and flair with technical structure.”

 

Germany Tobias Hauke admitted the home crowd played their part. “We lost control of the match and then India was there and their spectators as well,” Hauke said.

 

In Friday’s first match, Marc Lammers’ Belgium beat Argentina 3-1 in a shootout, after the match had finished 1-1.

 

Matias Rey celebrated his 100th cap by scoring the opening goal in the 31st minute after Argentina broke down play and embarked on a quick counter-attack. Argentina also dominated the first 15 minutes of the second half, but Belgium got back into the game and equalised from an own goal in the 56th minute before winning the shootout 3-1, Argentina’s second straight loss in a penalty shootout.

 

Belgium coach Lammers, whose side had drawn one and lost three of their four previous games, said: “We were better than Argentina, but we needed to get more penalty corners. I am happy to be playing for fifth place now, but I think we had some bad luck in games earlier in this tournament.”

 

Argentina’s Agustin Mazzilli, who missed his effort in the shootout, said: “It is a big disappointment to lose on shootouts for the second time. We really need to work on it and now we will give everything to finish seventh.”

 

Argentina coach Carlos Retegui also felt he had suffered from some bad luck, but was delighted with some of his team’s earlier performances.

 

“If you told me at the start of this tournament that we would beat the Netherlands and Belgium in the opening matches and only just lose to Australia, I would have not believed you,” Retegui said. “My players have grown in confidence over the tournament.”

 

Source: FIH

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