Shivendra saves the day for India
Shivendra Singh saved the day for India with a timely equaliser as the home team played out a 3-3 draw against South Africa in a controversial match to finish fourth in Pool B of the hockey World Cup in New Delhi on Monday.
With this draw India ended their pool proceedings with four points, behind Australia, England and Spain.
The hosts will now face the fourth placed team of Pool A for the seventh-eighth play-off match on Friday.
Although South Africa have same points as India, they finished in the fifth position due to goal difference while Pakistan find themselves at the bottom in the sixth place.
Image: Shivendra Singh (centre) celebrates with his team mates after scoring against South Africa
South Africa strike the first blow
Rejuvenated by their 3-2 win over Pakistan, South Africa displayed attractive attacking hockey early on, thereby putting Indian defense under immense pressure at the floodlit Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.
Indian could have been a goal down as early as in the opening minute of the match but for goalkeeper Adrain D'souza who tipped away Thornton McDade's powerful reverse stick shot.
South Africa's persistent pressure resulted in their first strike in the seventh minute with Indian defense yet again conceding a soft goal.
An unmarked Lloyd Norris-Jones scored for South Africa from top of the circle after dodging past a few Indian players with his fast-paced run from the mid-field.
Image: South Africa's Norris-Jones celebrates after scoring the first goal against India
Sarvanjit restores parity
However, that was all South Africa could manage in the opening half as from there on it all Indian as the home team pressed hard for the equaliser.
India's persistent pressure from both the flanks finally resulted in two goals in a span of nine minutes.
Sarvanjit drew parity with his first goal of the tournament in the 17th minute and nine minutes later, Diwaker Ram made it 2-1 in favour of the hosts.
Indian earned their second penalty corner but failed to capitalise on it as Shivendra failed to stop the ball.
He, however, made amends for the mistake when he regained the possession of the ball and slammed a pass from outside the circle, which was ably deflected home by Diwaker.
Image: Sarvanjit celebrates after scoring the equaliser
Controversial goal puts SA ahead
Trailing by a goal at the half way mark, the South Africans mounted pressure and leveled the scores three minutes into the second period through Justin Reid-Ross who pushed the ball over the goalline from close range.
The result of the match could have been in India's favour if not for the newly-introduced video referral system, which ruled out a hosts' goal.
When teams were locked 2-2, the video referral played spoilsport as Sarvanjit's second goal of the match was disallowed after he was nicely set up by a beautiful one-two from captain Rajpal Singh and Gurwinder Singh Chandi.
The video umpire disallowed the goal after South Africa protested for a foot foul at the other end of the pitch and in turn awarded a penalty corner to the Proteas.
To make it for worse for India, rival skipper Austin Smith scored from the subsequent short corner to make it 3-2 in favour of South Africa.
Indians, however worked hard for the all-important equaliser and found it just five minutes from the hooter through Shivendra who chipped the ball past the South Africa goal-line from a close range to earn precious one point for the hosts.
Image: South Africa's captain Austin Smith (5) celebrates with his team-mates after scoring the third goal
Australia holds their nerves to move into semis
Desmond Abbott struck twice to lead Australia to a come from behind 2-1 win over Pakistan and into the semi-finals of the hockey World Cup.
With this win, Australia have secured 12 points from five matches and topped Pool B on goal difference. England had to be satisfied with the second position even though they have same points as the Aussies.
Australia will now take on the runners-up of Pool A in the semi-finals while England will be up against the toppers.
Sohail Abbas (24th minute) scored from Pakistan's one out of the five penalty corners, while Abbott (38th, 68th) scored both the goals for the Aussies.
Pakistan lost but showed significant improvement in all departments of the game and had Kookaburras in spot of bother on numerous occasions.
Image: Australia's Desmond Abbott celebrates with his team-mate Hammond
Spain beat England 2-0
Olympic silver medallist Spain continued their domination over England in the hockey World Cup, defeating the European Champions 2-0 in their last pool match at the 12th edition of the mega-event in New Delhi on Monday.
With this win, Spain registered their fifth victory over England out of seven World Cup matches the two teams have played so far.
The Englishmen finished on the winning side only once while one game ended without result.
Pau Quemada (35th minute) and Eduard Tubau (64th) scored the goals for Spain at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium and almost sealed their third position in the Pool B with nine points.
The victory, however, came too late for Spain as it did very little to brighten their semi-final hopes.
Image: Spanish players react after their win against England