Hockey World Cup (Men’s) and India
This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
There is a quaintness about Bhubaneswar, the temple city, which is hard to miss. The stillness of the place – it shuts down by 11pm – is startling for city slickers. Over the next three weeks though, the time between the city’s early eastern sunset and bedtime will be fast, furious and actionpacked as the Hockey World Cup unfolds here.
In the 13 previous editions since the inaugural World Cup in Barcelona in 1971, only five countries – Pakistan, Australia, The Netherlands, Germany and India – have won the coveted trophy. Pakistan has taken home the crown four times, while Australia and The Netherlands are just a step behind on three occasions each.
This year, Australia and The Netherlands will have a chance to catch up as they are among 16 teams from around the globe vying for the premier trophy. However, the past – and rankings too – will count for little. Belgium serves as a reminder. Pushovers until recently, they finished runnersup in the Olympics and will take on Canada in the inaugural contest of the event here on Wednesday.
Belgium, along with The Netherlands, Germany and Argentina, are expected to run defending champions Australia close, but it’s a formidable task. The Kookaburras are a big-tournament team and are coming off title triumphs at the Commonwealth Games and the Champions Trophy. Although they lost 1-2 to Argentina in the final of the Darwin International Hockey in September, they look a wellrounded team.
The Australians, who haven’t slipped below the third spot in the world rankings in over a decade, have a relatively easy passage into the quarterfinals with Ireland, China and England being their Group B opposition in the league stage. With a mix of young exciting talent like 19-year-old striker Tim Brand, dragflick ace Blake Govers and the experienced co-captains Aran Zalewski and Eddie Ockenden, the team from Down Under are the one to beat.
Olympic champions Argentina, ranked second in the world, who lost their warm-up game against India a couple of days ago, will look to add to their trophy cabinet after the Rio triumph. The South American side has had its share of woes coming into the competition with their hugely successful coach Carlos Retegui having quit and made way for German Orozco. For Argentina, who finished fourth at the Champions Trophy and third at the Azlan Shah Trophy this year, Gonzalo Peillat, Lucas Villa and Maico Casella hold the key to their success.
The Netherlands, on the other hand, will look to make amends for the 6-1 trashing their received from Australia on their home turf in Hague four years ago. Max Caldascoached side have come to India with an experienced side although they will miss the services of their mainstay dragflicker Floris Wortelboer who has been ruled out due to injury. But Mink van der Weerden, Billy Barker and Mirco Pruyser in the ranks, the Dutch could well look to add the fourth world crown, their last coming at home in 1998.
The Oranje are joined by Germany in Group D along with Pakistan and Malaysia. The Germans, the big-stage performers, have been relatively low-key over the past couple of years. That said, Martin Haner’s men are dangerous customers with Florian Fuchs and Timm Herzbruch leading the attack.
16 nations, 36 matches and 1 trophy to fight for, irrespective of the favourites, the next 19 days promise to be a festival of hockey.
1975: ‘India's matchwinning goal was clean’
Slams Former Pak Captain Islahuddin For Making `False Claim’
Malaysian umpire G Vijayanathan has flayed former Pakistan captain Islahuddin Siddiqui for claiming that India's matchwinning goal in the final of the 1975 World Cup was not clean. India won the World Cup defeating Pakistan 2-1 in the final in Kuala Lumpur but Islahuddin has claimed in his recent autobiography that umpire Vijayanathan blew for a goal when striker Ashok Kumar's shot had rebounded off the post.
Ishahuddin repeated Pakistan's long-silenced claim in his book, which drew Vijayanathan's attention to an issue which he thought had been settled with pictures and video footage of the goal in public domain for years. “It's amazing that Islahuddin has repeated this false theory after so many years even after the entire world has seen videos of the 1975 final that clearly show the Indian goal,“ Vijayanathan said in an interview. “The video of the 1975 final has been in public domain for years and and it's freely available even on Youtube. Unless one wants to live a lie, the proof is available for anyone to see,“ said Vijayanathan, clearly hurt with what Islahuddin has written in his book.
In Islahuddin's book, what caught Vijayanathan's attention was a chapter “A Goal That Wasn't“ which claims that the umpire had wrongly awarded India the goal. Besides, Islahuddin has claimed he was the closest to the action and saw exactly what had happened.
“I am disgusted and dis appointed that a man of his calibre and that too the captain of the Pakistan team can make such a down-graded statement,“ said Vijayanathan, who has maintained silence on the issue and allowed the pictures to speak for themselves. Islahuddin has probably written all this just for a certain audience, but he has forgotten then there is no law against speaking the truth,“ he said. “I umpired this final match of the 1975 Hockey World Cup in Kuala Lumpur with Alan Renaud of France. India won this exciting encounter with Ashok Kumar scoring the winning goal.
“In pictures of Ashok Kumar's goal, you can see nine players and myself, but Islahuddin is nowhere to be seen. While I am watching the action from close to the striker and the goalkeeper, Islahuddin isn't even visible in the zone. Yet, he continues to make a false claim that he was closest to the action,“ said Vijayanathan. “Photographs and videos do not lie.It makes me wonder why Islahuddin is saying all this.“
India Beat South Africa 5-0
Simranjeet Scores Twice As Hosts Beat South Africa 5-0 In Opener
Among the 15,000 people who packed the Kalinga stadium here on Wednesday night were hockey legends, including the 1975 World Cup-winning heroes and two former captains Dhanraj Pillay and Dilip Tirkey. The stars screamed themselves hoarse along with the spectators as Manpreet Singh and team registered a clinical 5-0 win over South Africa in their tournament opener at the Hockey World Cup.
Simranjeet Singh scored twice (43rd & 46th minutes), while Mandeep Singh (11th), Akashdeep Singh (12th) and Lalit Upadhyay (45th) accounted for a goal each.
On the eve of the match, coach Harendra Singh had stressed on the importance of beginning the campaign on a winning note. The team did just that, playing an attacking brand of hockey to register their biggest win against the African nation. This was the eighth occasion on which India opened their World Cup campaign with a win. To begin with, India were the dominant side and for the first nine minutes made as many four raids, but didn’t get a clear shot at the goal.
Mandeep provided the home team the opening goal in the 10th minute.
Harmanpreet Singh’s dragflick off the team’s first penalty corner was blocked by South African goalkeeper Rassie Pieterse and Mandeep, who had positioned himself well, tapped the high ball over the goalkeepers’ head.
Akashadeep Singh, the most experienced striker for the hosts, weighed in with his experience on more than one occasion during the match. He played the role of a linkman to perfection.
With the seasoned Birendra Lakra also playing up front, India played in the opposition half for the better part of the match.
Two minutes after the opening goal, Akashdeep doubled the lead with an impressive finish to the combined effort of Varun Kumar, from just outside the 25-yard line, and Simranjeet Singh. Simranjeet received the hit inside the striking circle and deflected it to Akashdeep. Pieterse misjudged Akashdeep’s movement and shifted right as the Indian striker slotted the ball in from the left.
The South Africans did show resilience in the second quarter and tried to man their citadel instead of going for the attack.
But the Indians broke down their defence in the latter half of the third quarter. With attack being the buzzword for India, they put the pressure back on the South Africans.
Mandeep facilitated the third goal when he dribbled into the striking circle, successfully dodging Rhett Halkett and tapped the ball along the baseline towards Simranjeet and Nilakanta Sharma.
The former, placed in front of the goalkeeper, deftly put the ball past the goalkeeper even as the opposition skipper Tim Drummond and two other defenders looked on.
With India 3-0 up, the South Africans started to fumble in their own den. Another Akashdeep pass was tapped in by Lalit (4-0) and Simranjeet rounded off the tally with a penalty corner conversion.
While India walked away victors, they will look to work on direct penalty corner conversions through dragflicks and better trapping the ball.
India hold Belgium 2-2
Hosts India produced a spirited effort to eke out a 2-2 draw against Olympic silver medallists Belgium in a Pool C match of the men’s hockey WC on Sunday. Pegged back by Hendricks’ goal in the 8th minute, India scored two goals in the third and fourth quarter to take the lead. But they conceded a late goal in the 56th minute.
India Beat Canada 5-1
INDIA ENTER QUARTERS WITH 5-1 WIN
For better part of the first three quarters, India’s performance bordered on mediocrity. The finishing touches in the striking circle just weren’t there, and they played into the hands of Canada who slowed down the pace of the game. But in the last 15 minutes, Harendra Singh’s boys roared back as the hosts sealed their place in the quarterfinals with a commanding 5-1 win.
India topped Pool C. Belgium, who too emerged 5-1 victors on the day, finished second while their opponents South Africa finished last. The result notwithstanding, Canada survived in the tournament and finished third behind Belgium to make the crossovers.
On the night, Lalit Upadhyay (47th and 57th minute) added colour to the Indian victory with two well-crafted goals.
Belgium’s five goals in the earlier contest of the evening had cancelled India’s advantage of goal difference (+5) as the teams had four points apiece before their respective final pool outings. Needing a win to avoid the crossovers, India were set back early in the game as Canada slowed down and even dominated the proceedings. Although they didn’t have a shot at the goal, the visitors claimed 57% possession against India’s 67% in the first quarter.
In the 12th minute, Harmanpreet scored off the second penalty corner with a low flick. Although India had the one-goal advantage, they looked far from the team they have been in the competition so far with the frontline, Mandeep Singh and Simranjeet Singh lacking in connecting passes and even communicating at times.
Floris Van Son cancelled the lead in the 39th minute, but it seemed like a different Indian side entered the field in the last quarter. They were back to giving aerial passes. Instead of chasing the ball, they resorted to controlling it. Chinglengsana played the role of an attacking midfielder and fed ball with precision. He put his name on the scoresheet in the 46th minute. Kothajit Singh’s cross field pass on the right flank was deflected by Dilpreet Singh and was padded by goalkeeper Antoni Kindler and Chinglensana slammed it into the goal. Lalit took advantage of a defensive lapse and sent in India’s third goal, while Amit Rohidas converted a penalty corner in the 57th minute. Lalit returned to score three minutes before the final hooter.
India Loses To Netherlands 1-2, Finishes 6th
India Lose To Netherlands Despite Taking Lead, Finish 6th
With just three seconds to go for the final hoot, young Indian striker Hardik Singh couldn’t check his emotions. He began to weep into his shirt and was soon enveloped in a hug by Mink van der Weerden, the man who scored the winner for the Netherlands to shut the home side out of the World Cup at home.
After sending the jam-packed Kalinga stadium into a tizzy with a 12th minute strike by Akashdeep Singh, India fell short in temperament and finishing by the strikers, and went down 1-2 in the quarterfinals here on Thursday.
For the Dutchman, who kept their unbeaten World Cup streak against India intact, Thierry Brinkman (15) equalised and Weerden struck what turned out to be the match-winner in the 50th minute.
If India fell short on many counts, the Dutch were not phenomenal either but experience, presence of mind and tactical awareness were major aspects that separated the two teams.
Manpreet Singh and his men entered the stadium carrying the expectations hopes of breaking India’s 43-year World Cup semifinals drought. They were not far from their goal, but paid heavily for elementary mistakes. While the defenders, especially Surender Kumar, were impressive for most part of the game, the Indian midfield and strikers failed to create zones and faltered at crucial junctures.
Both teams attacked from the word go with the experienced Dutch duo of skipper Billy Bakker and Seve Van Ass controlling the midfield action and found success in dispossessing the Indians at the half line. But that did not deter the Indians from making repeated attempts. Their first real shot at the goal was in the eighth minute of play when Lalit Upadhyay crossed the ball to Simranjeet Singh in from of the Dutch goal but the latter failed to connect.
Four minutes later, Akashdeep Singh put the team ahead when Dutch goalkeeper Pirmin Blaak blocked an off-colour Harmanpreet Singh’s drag-flick, which an alert Manpreet attempted to put in from the left flank. His effort found Akashdeep, who dived to put it away.
Just when it looked like India would go into the first quarter break with a 1-0 lead, Brinkman silenced the boisterous crowd.
Mirco Pruijser beat half-adozen Indians with a powerpacked hit from the 23m line and Brinkman, who was positioned behind Indian defender Amit Rohidas, tapped the ball into the net.
With both teams playing with equal intensity, it was only fair they went Dutch. But as the game proceeded, it got more physical, tempers flared, cards were whipped out and the Dutch looked like they were successful in getting on Indians’ nerves.
The second quarter too panned out similarly but India wasted two shots on the goal. In the next two quarters, Netherlands gained the upper hand, shifted the ball possession in their favour.
In the 50th minute, defective tackle coupled with early rushing by the Indians wrong-footed Sreejesh which gave Netherlands their second goal.
Hockey World Cup Records: 1971-2014