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 March 5, 2002 | 1910 IST

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India go down fighting to Australia

India went down fighting to Australia 3-4 in their concluding match of Pool B in the men's hockey World Cup in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.

The Indians led 1-0 at half-time but were unable to reproduce their first half aggression in the second session and caved in.

They now play Spain in the play-off match for 9th to 12th positions.

Meanwhile, Korea reached the semi-finals despite losing a rain-interrupted match to England 0-2.

Malaysia needed to score nine clear goals against Poland in the concluding match of the pool stage to deny the Koreans a place in the semi-finals. But they could not and only managed a 2-2 draw with the Poles, which confirmed Korea's ticket into the last four, where they will meet pre-tournament favourites Germany.

The draw against Poland pushed Malaysia ahead of England to third position in Pool B. They meet old rivals Pakistan in a 5th - 8th placing classification play-off match on Thursday.

England, meanwhile, will play Argentina for the right to finish fifth or sixth.

India flatter to deceive

The India - Australia match witnessed some excellent free-flowing hockey from both teams but the Australians' fitness made the difference in the end.

The result meant India are out of contention for the play-offs for the fifth to eighth places.

India took the lead in the 25th minute, when Jugraj Singh converted a penalty-corner.

The Australians equalised in the second half when Craig Victory came up with his sixth goal of the tournament.

The next 20 minutes were a treat to hockey aficionados as both teams played at full throttle.

India took the lead once again in the 45th minute, when Dhanraj Pillay weaved into the rival penalty area and Daljit Singh Dhillon made no mistake while slotting the ball in.

Slowly, the difference in fitness levels of the two teams started showing and India let go their lead soon when Jeremy Heskins had no trouble in converting a penaly-stroke.

The Aussies notched their third goal, with Brent Livermore scoring in the 59th minute to take the lead for the first time in the match.

Matthew Smith made it 4-2 in the 63rd minute before Prabhjot Singh reduced the deficit in the 67th minute.

Dave Mathews's penalty-corners flatten Korea

England were playing for pride after being beaten out of semi-final contention on Monday by Japan while Korea, with 15 points and a goal difference of nine after their defeat, had to rely on the leaky Polish defence denying third place Malaysia a nine-goal win.

Two penalty-corners from Dave Mathews in the 31st and 33rd minutes gave England the lead before torrential rain extended the half-time break long enough for Korean coach Kim Young Kyu to waken his side's ideas up.

He succeeded to the extent that they dominated the second half without scoring despite three penalty-corners.

Malaysia hold Poland with late goal

The Malaysians went into the match needing a point to finish third and looked on course by going ahead through an 8th minute penalty corner conversion by Jiwa Mohan.

But then - as on so many occasions in previous matches - the home boys fell apart and allowed the Poles to put two goals past them through short corner goals by Eugeniusz Gaczkowski.

S. Kuhan scored his fifth goal of the tournament with just eight minutes remaining to restore parity in a disappointing match for the 12,000 fans that braved the rain to turn up at the National Hockey stadium.

All the teams will enjoy a rest day tomorrow before resuming battle on Thursday.

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