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India's World Cup misery continues
Our Correspondent | September 11, 2006 22:26 IST
India's misery at the men's hockey World Cup continued as they lost to Korea 1-2 and suffered their third defeat, in Monchengladbach, Germany, on Monday.
Two goals in the last seven minutes by Jong Hyun Jang from penalty-corners gave the Koreans a well-deserved victory and revenge for the 3-0 defeat in the Azlan Shah tournament in June.
With 10 points from four matches, the Koreans are virtually assured of a place in the semi-finals.
Earlier, unbeaten Spain took a firm step towards a semi-final berth, beating New Zealand 3-1.
It was Spain's second victory in Pool A from four matches.
David Alegre (10th minute), Santiago Freixa (19th) and Eduard Tubau (36th) scored for Spain while Hayden Shaw scored for the Kiwis from a penalty-corner in the 41st minute.
With good promptings from the midfield, India started off promisingly and matched the Koreans for a major part of the first half, but surprisingly turned defensive after they went ahead in the 11 minute of the second period, when Shivendra Singh did well to get a deflection to the ball following a long hit from Dilip Tirkey in midfield.
The video umpire was called for and Shivendra was credited with the goal that took his tally to four in the tournament.
Thereafter mediocrity crept into India's play as the Koreans launched a feverish search for the equalizer.
Having had two penalty-corners in the first session to India's one, they forced another six in the second session. Viren Rasquinha denied them success early on, bringing off a fine goalline save off the first penalty-corner, and then goalkeeper Adrian D'Souza anticipated well to block a couple of flicks from Jang.
India were also lucky that the Koreans were denied a penalty-stroke off their fifth penalty-corner after Yong Bae Kim's flick struck Prabhodh Tirkey on the chest. Umpire Sumesh Putra of Canada first awarded a penalty-stroke, but after the Indians protested consulted his colleague in the other half, Xavier Adell (Spain), and awarded India a 16-yard hit.
However, the Indian citadel crumbles in the face of repeated onslaught when Jang pushed low and true from Korea's seventh penalty-corner to restore parity in the 63rd minute.
India then had their best chance of the half four minutes later when Tushar Khandekar was put through by Rajpal Singh but was obstructed at the expense of a penalty-corner, India's second. But Raghunath was unable to make his flick count.
Immediately the Koreans transferred the ball to the Indian half and forced their eight penalty-corner when Ignace Tirkey harshly challenged a Korean forward. Jang flicked the ball high into the net to clinch the issue and send Indian heads drooping.
India will now have to settle for fifth-sixth place in pool 'B' and play in the classification for 9 to 12 places.