July 29, 2001

slide shows
search rediff

 Search the Internet
 Other sports sites

E-Mail this report to a friend

Print this page

Argentina triumph, India fifth

Spurred on by a brilliant Jorge Lombi hat-trick, Argentina beat Spain 5-4 in a thrilling final in the men's World Cup hockey qualifying tournament even as India signed off with the fifth place, defeating Japan 4-3.

India, who qualified on Saturday with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Canada, had more consolation on Sunday as they came back with a strong finish to end the tournament on a winning note.

It was Japan who forged ahead in the sixth minute from a penalty-corner through Tamabori Takahiko, but Daljit Singh Dhillon replied immediately from a field goal to level the scores.

In the eighth minute, India went into the lead from a penalty-corner, with Baljit Singh Dhillon scoring. But the Japanese, were back on target, drawing level in the 11th minute through Takahiko again from a penalty-corner.

With four goals coming in the first 11 minutes, the pace slowed down thereafter before Baljit SIngh Dhillon sounded the boards from a penalty-corner in the 25th minute.

The Japanese were not to be outdone and replied within five minutes, as Kawada Takiya made it 3-3 from a field goal before the teams went into the breather level.

Daljit Singh Dhillon got his second goal of the match in the 46th minute, which proved to be the match-winner for India and see them finish fifth in the 16-team tournament,.

Argentina led 2-1 at the break, and then by the 67th minute increased the lead to 5-2 before Spain struck in the last two minutes to reduce the margin to 4-5.

For Lombi, it was a brilliant tournament and he ended as the top scorer with 19 goals, a majority of them coming off drag-flicks from penalty-corners.

Argentina scored through Almada and Lombi in the 3rd and 12th minutes to take a 2-0 lead before Spain reduced the margin in the 33rd minute through Edward Tubau. In the 44th minute, Carlos Retegui scored to make it 3-1 for Argentina. Fabregas reduced the margin to 2-3 for Spain.

But in the 60th and 67th minutes, Lombi was right on target to pull Argentina away to a 5-2 lead. Spain fought back and in the 69th minute scored through Pol Amat off a penalty-corner and then in the last minute off another penalty-corner, Quintana made it 4-5.

Poland showed that they are a hockey power in the making when they thrashed Belgium 5-2 to clinch the bronze medal.

Both the teams were 1-1 at the break before the Poles, with some superb hockey in the circle, pulled away for a big win.

New Zealand booked the final ticket when they thrashed Canada 4-0 to clinch the seventh place.

It was Belgium, who stunned Poland with a goal in the 26th minute as Geens flicked in a penalty stroke, beating goalkeeper Pobuta.

Two minutes later, Poland equalised off a counter-attack when Tomascz Choczaj spun into the circle and neatly placed the ball past the keeper. Poland took the lead in the 43rd minute when keeper Caudron deliberately stopped a Polish defender and Gzreszczak converted the stroke as Poland led 2-1.

Poland made it 3-1 when Piotr Mikula calmly went into the Belgian circle and tapped in for a 3-1 lead. In the 48th minute, Belgium who were pressing scored off a penalty corner when Beunen flicked in to reduce the score to 2-3.

With the three minutes left for the hooter, Mikula moved into the circle and his pass found Nyckowiak who took a snap shot to make it 4-2.

In the last minute, Poland made it 5-2 when Tomazs Choczaj scored his second goal.

The final placings of the qualifier:

Country Placing
Argentina 1st
Spain 2nd
Poland 3rd
Belgium 4th
India 5th
Japan 6th
New Zealand 7th
Canada 8th
France 9th
Wales 10th
Scotland 11th
Chile 12th
Egypt 13th
United States 14th
Russia 15th
Bangladesh 16th

Player of the Tournament: Jorge Lombi (Argentina)
Young Player of the Tournament: Laurence Docherty (Scotland)
Best Goalkeeper: Bernarardino Harrera (Spain).

The 16 teams for the 2002 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur:

Country How they qualified
Holland Defending champions
Malaysia Host
Germany European champion
Korea Asia Cup winner
South Africa African champion
Cuba America's Cup champion
Australia 3rd at the Sydney 2000 Olympics
Pakistan 4th at the Sydney 2000 Olympics
England 6th at the Sydney 2000 Olympics
Argentina Winner of the qualifier
Spain 2nd place at the qualifier
Poland 3rd place at the qualifier
Belgium 4th place at the qualifier
India 5th place at the qualifier
Japan 6th place at the qualifier
New Zealand 7th place at the qualifier

Back to top
(c) Copyright 2000 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
Mail Sports Editor