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Hockey: England defeat hosts India, Argentina shock Dutch in New Delhi

India captain Sardar Singh during the hosts’ 2-0 loss to England on the opening day of the inaugural Hero World League Final in New Delhi. Photos: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek.

India captain Sardar Singh during the hosts’ 2-0 loss to England on the opening day of the inaugural Hero World League Final in New Delhi. Photos: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek.

January 11, 2014: Top seeds Germany crushed New Zealand 6-1 before England broke the hearts of local fans by beating hosts India 2-0 in the second Pool A game on the opening day of the inaugural Hero World League Final in New Delhi on Friday.

 

In Pool B, Australia secured a late winner to beat Belgium 3-2 and Argentina pulled off a shock 5-2 victory over second-ranked Netherlands in the tournament’s opening two games at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

 

In the day’s last match, a noisy crowd urged India to victory over England, but despite some inventive work by the midfield, the hosts were unable to turn better possession percentages into goals.

 

Adam Dixon was the England hero as he scored twice from penalty corners, in the 28th and 45th minutes, and picked up the Hero Man of the Match award.

 

India were aggrieved to have a goal disallowed following a video referral in the 58th minute, but India coach Terry Walsh said he was relatively happy with his team’s performance.

 

“I was particularly pleased with some elements. We were pressing better, we ran incisively and our fitness was equal to England’s, but we weren’t able to make in-roads into the circle. Our on-field discipline was not as good as it could have been,” said the former Australia striker, who took charge in October.

 

“We have to get rhythm in big matches. There are special moments in a game and we had moments where we could have changed the game. We need to recognise and take those moments.”

 

Dan Nguyen Luong, 22, helped Germany beat New Zealand 6-1.

Dan Nguyen Luong helped Germany beat New Zealand 6-1.

Olympic champions Germany, despite missing three of their star players in Delhi, lived up to their billing as pre-tournament favourites with a stunning display against New Zealand, with coach Markus Weise insisting “we still want to improve”.

 

Christopher Wesley scored the opening goal with less than 20 seconds played, but the Black Sticks equalised in the fifth minute through a penalty corner by 21-year-old defender Kane Russell, a star in last month’s Junior World Cup at the same stadium.

 

Germany again went ahead in the 11th minute as big striker Thilo Stralkowski netted from the side’s first penalty corner. The world’s top-ranked team gradually took control and forward Florian Fuchs, the 2012 FIH Young Player of the Year, deflected a penalty-corner flick from Martin Häner in the 31st minute to make it 3-1 at half-time.

 

Germany soared clear in the second half with three goals in five minutes, as Stralkowski (44’) added another penalty corner goal, Tobias Hauke (45’) scored from open play and Jan-Philipp Rabente (48’) netted the sixth.

 

Hauke, the Hero Man of the Match, said: “We didn’t know how good we were going to be today. This is the first time this year we have had a chance to play together.”

 

Alex Shaw summed up the Black Sticks’ feelings: “Days like this are hard. Germany took all their chances and we didn’t. We knew it was going to be tough, but they played very well.”

 

In Saturday’s Pool A matches England face Germany and India play New Zealand.

 

Pool B

In the first match of the World League Final, Jacob Whetton scored with two minutes remaining to secure Australia all three points against a tenacious Belgium, who had twice come from behind in the Pool B opener.

 

Jacob Whetton, 22, scored a late winner as Australia beat Belgium 3-2 in Pool A.

Jacob Whetton, 22, scored a late winner as Australia beat Belgium 3-2 in Pool A.

Kieran Govers scored the opening goal of the tournament in the 33rd minute from the first short corner of the match, but it took Belgium less than a minute to equalise through Tom Boon’s angled shot.

 

The Kookaburras went ahead again in the 48th minute, a counter-attack leading to their third penalty corner and Govers again taking the shot and scoring. Belgium then raised the speed of the game, equalising through Thomas Briels in the 53rd minute.

 

After the Red Lions failed with two penalty corners in quick succession, Whetton scored the winner with less than two minutes remaining.

 

Whetton, the Hero Man of the Match, said: “We played well for most of the game, but we were a bit scrappy in places. I think we were pumped up and containing that is something we must work on.”

 

Argentina pulled off a shock 5-2 defeat of Olympic runners-up Netherlands, the world’s second-ranked team.

Argentina pulled off a shock 5-2 defeat of Olympic runners-up Netherlands, the world’s second-ranked team.

In the second Pool B game, 11th-ranked Argentina stunned the Netherlands, one of the pre-tournament favourites. Argentine intent was signalled when they took the lead in the second minute through a penalty corner, which top scorer Gonzalo Peillat slotted away.

 

The Dutch responded in the fifth minute through penalty-corner specialist Mink van der Weerden, but just three minutes later Argentina reclaimed the lead with a diving conversion by Facundo Callioni.

 

In the second half, Netherlands equalised in the 50th minute through Seve van Ass, son of head coach Paul.

 

Six minutes later, Los Leones re-gained their lead when Pedro Ibarra shot home from open play. Guido Barriedes (60’) scored a beautifully taken goal on the hour mark following sustained pressure and with three minutes left Juan Ignacio Gilardi converted a penalty stroke to make it 5-2.

 

Argentina coach Carlos Retegui said: “We came here to improve our style of playing, as we want to play more offensively. Beating the Olympic silver medallists makes us really proud.”

 

For more information, visit: www.fih.ch

 

Source: FIH

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