India lose to New Zealand, finish 10th
India finished 10th in the men's hockey World Cup after they were beaten 1-2 by New Zealand in the classification play-off match at the National stadium, in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, on Friday.
The placing is a rung lower than what they achieved at the 1998 World Cup in Utrecht, where New Zealand lost to India by the same margin in the classification match for the same positions and finished tenth.
India took the lead in the ninth minute through Deepak Thakur but two second half goals by the Kiwis dashed the Baljit Singh Dhillon-led team's hopes of ending their campaign on a winning note. Ryan Archibald drew parity for the Kiwis in the 58th minute while Phillip Burrows made sure of victory with a goal in the 63rd minute.
India dominated the first half and should have managed a
few more goals but for poor finishing. Deepak Thakur and Prabhjot Singh had their chances in the
striking circle but both were guilty of being a bit too
After the break, New Zealand took control of the midfield as
India wilted away, refusing to build moves but always eager to
show off their skills.
After wasting their first penalty-corner in the 47th minute, the
Kiwis earned their second in the 57th and smashed in
the equaliser. The first flick was saved by Devesh Chauhan but
the rebound was hammered in by Ryan Archibald.
With seven minutes remaining, New Zealand earned their
third penalty-corner and Phillip Burrows flicked the ball in perfectly.
India had two penalty-corners in the dying minutes but were unable to score from them.
Pakistan finish fifth
Pakistan staved a strong fightback to beat Argentina 5-3 and finish fifth.
Pakistan's Sohail Abbas and Jorge Lombi of Argentina both scored a brace to finish their campaign as joint top scorers on 10 goals.
With this win, the Asians ended a superb run of six victories on the trot by the South Americans and also reversed the result in the preliminary round, when Argentina edged Pakistan 2-1.
The Pakistanis also placed fifth in Utrecht '98 while the Argentines equaled their previous best finish, achieved in London in 1986.
Lombi opened the scoring for Argentina with a penalty-corner flick, but Pakistan replied with two goals in three minutes, both from penalty-corners, the first by Ali Raza, who had a direct hit and the second by a Sohail drag flick.
Fernando Zylberberg sounded the board with a field goal before the break to ensure the Argentines went into half time on equal terms.
Lombi then converted a penalty stroke 10 minutes in the second half. But Pakistan then swamped the Argentine defence over the next 15 minutes and Sohail scored again with another drag flick in the 62nd minute.
Immediately from the restart, Muhammad Nadeem slammed in a field goal following a pass from Shahbaz Ahmed.
A second from the final whistle, Kashif Jawad got onto the scoresheet to make it 5-3.
Mark Pearn helps England finish seventh
England shrugged off their golden goal loss to Argentina on Friday to beat Malaysia 3-2 and finish seventh, a rung lower than what they finished at in the previous World Cup in 1998.
Mark Pearn scored the match-winner two minutes from time, latching on to a free-hit that went right past the entire Malaysian defence as well as keeper Roslan Jamaluddin.
Malaysia took eighth place.
Despite the defeat, the host nation still recorded their best-ever World Cup finish since their fourth position in the 1975 World Cup. At the last World Cup in Utrecht, they placed 11th.
Malaysia took the lead through a field goal by Chua Boon Huat before Danny Hall restored parity three minutes before half-time. Four minutes into the second half, Hall was on target again to swell his goal tally in the tournament to six.
Local boy Chairil Anwar Aziz again put Malaysia level with a goal in the 42nd minute.
With three minutes to go, Pearn clinched the issue with a well executed field goal.
England finished the tournament with five wins and four defeats while Malaysia won four, drew once and lost four.
King rallies South Africa to 13th place
South Africa rallied after being 0-3 down to beat Belgium 5-4 and take 13th place. And the man responsible for the stunning recovery was Justin King, who slammed in three goals from penalty-corners, including a last second equaliser and the winning goal in extra-time.
His hat-trick was only the second in the tournament after New Zealand's Hayden Shaw had achieved the feat, also against Belgium in a preliminary round match.
The last-gasp equaliser today saw King repeat his feat when South Africa scored a penalty-corner goal after the final hooter to hold Spain 2-2.
It was a stunning comeback by the Africans as they turned around a 1-4 deficit with just 13 minutes remaining on the clock.
King is now on six goals alongside compatriot Greg Nicol, who bagged one in today's match. The other goal scorer was Gregg Clark. All five South African goals came off penalty-corners.
The match got off to a great start for the Belgians, who took a three-goal lead through Xavier Reckinger, Robin Geens and Xavier Brooke. Marc Coudron added a fourth for the Europeans after King's first strike.
In their earlier Group A meeting, South Africa had beaten Belgium 3-1.
Belgium finished 14th.
Cuba take wooden spoon
Poland ended their World Cup campaign on a winning note, beating Cuba 3-0 to finish in 15th place.
The Cubans, who conceded 43 goals -- to average almost five per game -- and found the net only eight times, put up stubborn resistance in the first half but surrendered meekly in the second.
The Poles had beaten Cuba 4-1 in an earlier Pool B match.
Eugeniusz Gaczkowski opened the scoring for Poland off a penalty-corner in the 47th minute while Krzysztof Witczak and Robert Grotowski added to the tally with goals in the 60th and 66th minutes respectively.
Mail Sports Editor