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 March 2, 2002 | 1940 IST

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Cuba allow India first win

India recorded their first victory in the men's hockey World Cup, beating Pool B bottom side Cuba 4-0 on Saturday, less than two hours after coach Cedric D'Souza was fired by the Indian Hockey Federation.

D'Souza was dismissed after India lost to England on Friday to suffer their third defeat.

"It is always difficult to step in. The team felt very bad," stand-in coach Chandru Kumar said.

He took little credit for the victory and said India had played well in earlier matches under D'Souza but had let in silly goals.

"Cuba are less good than the other teams which allowed us to have an extra attacker today. Cedric would have done more or less the same," he added.

Meanwhile, second place South Korea also disposed Poland by the same score.

Earlier, Australia thrashed Japan 5-0 to ensure they remain at the top of Pool B ahead of South Korea on goal difference.

In Pool A, South Africa gained their first point of the finals and dented their opponent Spain's chances of reaching the semifinals next week when Justin King converted a last minute penalty corner for a well-earned 2-2 draw.

Germany had to work hard to breakdown a resolute New Zealand defence 2-1 and had Christoph Beckman to thank for the winner 10 minutes from time.


Argentina were hard pushed too as they defeated winless Belgium 3-1 in a rain-interrupted game. The win gives Argentina nine points from five games.

In another match, the Netherlands beat Pakistan 2-1.

The results mean that Germany head the group with 12 points from five games with Spain second on 11.

India had things all their own way and scored through Dilip Tirkey (9th minute), Daljit Singh Dhillon (14th), through penalty-corners, and Deepak Thakur (16th) and captain Baljit Singh Dhillon (52nd) from open play to raise India to four points from five matches.

South Korea needed only the first half to score their four goals against Poland. Hwang Jong-Hyun (10th), Kim Jung-Chul (15th), Kim Kyung-Seok (16th) all from open play and Lee Jung-Seon (23rd) with a penalty corner, netted for the unbeaten Asian champions.

Later on Saturday, in Pool B, Malaysia beat England 2-1 to keep their hopes of a semi-final berth alive.

The two pools of eight teams play each other before the top two from the groups go into the semi finals on March 7.

The final is scheduled for March 9 at Malaysia's 18,000-seat National Hockey stadium.

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