Monday, March 1, 2010

India and England impress

INDIA pleased the crowd with an impressive win over arch-rivals Pakistan (4-1), England surprised Australia (3-2) and Spain struggled to take the best over South Africa (4-2).
The build-up to the FIH flagship event was marred by the security concerns and by controversies surrounding the accreditations and ticketing.
Additional police checks and technical problems delayed the delivery of accreditations to Technical Officials and to the throng of journalists eager to cover the event, while the Delhi Police and the Sport Authority of India, owner of the Stadium, abruptly decided that one of the stands would be closed, leaving hundreds of ticket holders stranded...
Although the organizers are still desperately working to try and finalize the venue, the start of competition on the pitch is a welcomed shift of focus and the opening day matches immediately reminded the hockey fans that the players should be the one in the spotlight.

Game 1 – South Africa v. Spain: 4-2 (half-time: 2-2)

The Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 opened with an encounter between two teams with wildly different experiences of this top competition: Spain is one of five teams that have been present at all 11 previous World Cup tournaments, finishing 2nd in 1971 and 1998, while South Africa only had three modest participations with a best performance of 10th in 1994.

South Africa v. Spain 4:2 (2:2)
RSA 16mn Julian HYKES (FG) 1:0
ESP 19mn Roc OLIVA (FG) 1:1
ESP 20mn Miquel DELAS (FG) 1:2
RSA 30mn Ian HALEY (PC) 2:2
ESP 45mn Rodrigo GARZA (FG) 2:3
ESP 61mn Pau QUEMADA (PC) 2:4

Game 2 – Australia v. England: 2-3 (half-time: 1-2)

The second game of opening day was a classic hockey opposition between Australia and England. The two countries have already met 8 times in previous World Cup, with Australia winning 7 of the 8 encounters, most famously in 1986 when Australia won the World Cup title by beating England 2-1 in the final. Having won 51 of 72 World Cup matches, Australia boast a winning percentage of 71%, higher than any other team. They finished runner-up in the last two editions (2002 and 2006) and have the strong desire to go one step higher this time around.

Australia v. England 2:3 (1:2)
AUS 23mn Jamie DWYER (PS) 1:0
ENG 24mn Ashley JACKSON (PC) 1:1
ENG 33mn James TINDALL (PC) 1:2
ENG 45mn James TINDALL (FG) 1:3
AUS 64mn Jamie DWYER (PC) 2:3

Game 3 – Pakistan v. India: 1-4 (half-time: 0-2)

The first day of the Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 ended with the much anticipated match between Pakistan and host India, always a treat for hockey lovers. This match was the fifth World Cup encounter between the two countries, the most famous being the 1975 Final when India beat Pakistan (2-1). Ironically for these two hockey giants, the last time they met in a World Cup was 24 years ago for the 11th-12th classification match in 1986 (Pakistan won 3-2).
The opening day clash had the two countries buzzing for days, and legendary Indian player Dhanraj Pillai summed up the mood in his daily column in the Hindustan Times: “Good luck to Team India from one billion Indians”!

Pakistan v. India 1:4 (0:2)
IND 27mn Shivendra SINGH (PC) 0:1
IND 35+mn Sandeep SINGH (PC) 0:2
IND 37mn Prabhjot SINGH (FG) 0:3
IND 56mn Sandeep SINGH (PC) 0:4
PAK 59mn Sohail ABBAS (PC) 1:4

Match Facts (Pakistan vs. India):
> India won 4-1 to record their biggest win over Pakistan in World Cup competition.
> This marked India’s first World Cup win over Pakistan in 35 year, since beating them 2-1 in the 1975 final.
> The last time India scored 4 goals in a World Cup match was in 2002, when they beat Cuba 4-0 and Poland 4-1.

> Sohail Abbas (PAK) scored once to equal Floris Jan Bovelander (NED) on 17 World Cup goals. Only three players have scored more World Cup goals: Paul Litjens (NED, 26), Ties Kruize (NED, 21) and Wolfgang Strödter (GER, 18).
> Sandeep Singh scored twice on his World Cup debut for India. He joins James Tindall (ENG) and Jamie Dwyer (AUS) at the top of the goal scorer table after matchday 1.