Monday, February 6, 2012

Argies win Champions Trophy on home soil

Argentina FIH Champions Trophy - victory ceremony. (Photo: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek)

Argentina secured their fifth title at an FIH Champions Trophy with a 1-0 victory over Great Britain. It was the first time the Lionesses won the FIH flagship tournament on home soil. The Netherlands claimed the Bronze medal at the Argentina FIH Champions Trophy. The Olympic Champions defeated Germany 5-4 in a very exciting match. Japan qualified for 2014’s Champions Trophy as they have beaten New Zealand 4-3 in extra-time. In the 7/8 classification match Korea defeated China 3-2 on penalties.

Sloppy Black Sticks beat Korea

By Michael Brown

THERE’S something about playing Korea that agrees with the New Zealand men's hockey side and, despite playing poorly when the two teams met in Auckland today, they won 4-2 in the first of five Tests.
Korea are ranked sixth in world hockey, one place above New Zealand, but were beaten 6-1 the last time the two sides met at last year's Champions trophy.
Although they played infinitely better than the hosts today and dominated almost every facet, a combination of good goalkeeping from Kyle Pontifex, poor finishing and bad luck saw them edged.
They led 2-1 with eight minutes remaining but conceded three quick goals, one a piece of individual brilliance from striker Simon Child, as the Black Sticks finished strongly.
"I don't know how we won that," New Zealand coach Shane McLeod admitted. "It was a little bit of individual class and Simon [Child] did a couple of things at key moments that gave us the opportunity to be in the game let alone win the game. I don't think we played well."
They were sloppy in possession, constantly giving the ball away and often in bad areas, and struggled to build any pressure. In contrast, Korea were quick on the break and found joy dribbling through the middle of the park.
For McLeod, however, this series is not about results and he rested eight players from the squad who finished fourth at last year's Champions Trophy. The likes of Ryan Archibald, Blair Hopping, Dean Couzins, Phil Burrows and Nick Wilson have been given the weekend off - the two sides meet again tomorrow - as McLeod casts his eye over a number of fringe players.
The coach has locked in nine of the 16 players he will take to the Olympics and has challenged the remainder in the extended 27-man squad to force their way into the team for London. In contrast, Korea are using the series as a buildup to their Olympic qualifiers and have assembled a strong squad.
The visitors took the lead through a 10th-minute penalty corner to Jong Hyun Jang but couldn't add to their tally in the first half. Hugo Inglis equalised in the 42nd minute when Child delivered a pin-point pass to an unmarked Inglis in the circle but Hyuon Woo Nam restored Korea's lead 10 minutes later from another penalty corner.
Child provided the highlight of the match with a surging run into the circle and reverse drive that found the net in the 62nd minute.
Korea enjoyed six penalty corners before New Zealand were awarded their first four minutes from time. Defender Richard Petherick converted and Kane Russell, on debut, scored another after the final hooter to give the score a flattering look.
"Korea are a tricky side but we seem to have their number," McLeod said. "Even when we play poorly, and we didn't play well today, they struggle to beat us. We have had games where they have absolutely hammered us on all the stats and we've won 2-1. There's something about the way we play and they play that suits us."

The New Zealand Herald

All aboard, except consistency..

PIC: Malaysian players celebrate their second goal against India during the field hockey semi-final at the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou. But they went on to lose the gold 0-2 to Pakistan.

THE national players seem to be peaking nicely for the Dublin Olympics Qualifier on March 10-18, with only consistency being a thorn to be wary off.
Coach Tai Beng Hai will have to rally his men to beat Chile, Ukraine and Russia first before locking horns with Ireland and then South Korea.
The stakes are high, as only the gold medallists will advance to the Olympics, and Malaysia last made the cut for the Sydney 2000 Games.
Consistency was a big problem during the Asian Games, where they could only beat Singapore 2-0, but then went on to hold South Korea 2-2 before hammering Oman 12-2.
They then beat China 4-2 and India 4-3 in the semi-finals, and were one step away from the London Olympics but fell tamely 2-0 to Pakistan in the final.
“The team management has been working on improving the side and have identified the weak areas and placed extra emphasis to rectify the problems since,” said team manager Stephen van Huizen.
And in the Perth friendlies, Malaysia again proved their yo-yo form when they won the third friendly 5-2, but were pummeled 8-1 by Australia in the very next match.
But the players bounced back like a rubber ball to beat World No 3 Netherlands in their last friendly in Perth.
“We beat World No 1 and No 3 teams in the friendlies, because the team is shaping up nicely for the Qualifiers, but then, we have warned them not to take matters for granted, and the 8-1 defeat was a timely reminder for them that things can get very messy if they do not stick to the game plan,” said van Huizen.
The fact that Malaysia have always struggled against weaker sides should also be taken into consideration, as a sucker punch from one of the minnows Chile, Ukraine and Russia could end their campaign prematurely.

UniKL ready for Anderson

UNIKL Young Guns will know the true strength of their players when they meet MBI Anderson minus their skipper in Division One of the Milo-Junior Hockey League at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh tomorrow.
The League champions almost blew their title hopes when they were made to sweat until the 69th minute, before scoring the winner in a 3-2 encounter against Bukit Jalil Sports School on Sunday.
They also lost their skipper, when Taufik Hamid slammed the face of BJSS player Ashraf Alias with his stick in that tension-filled Sunday, and was red carded by umpire Jasveer Singh.
UniKL have maximum 12 points from four matches, while Anderson won three and drew one. However, the Ipoh side has grown in strength after their shock 3-3 draw against USM Juniors in the curtain raiser of the JHL.
And the other title contenders, SSTMI Thunderbolts, should have an easy Wednesday, as they meet middle of the table USM Juniors, and could even increase their 24-goal cushion to above 30 after that match.
“We will not only have to make-do without our skipper, but also improve our penalty corner conversion to defend the League title. In the match against BJSS, we blew eight penalty corners in the first half itself, and that almost turned the match into a nightmare,” said UniKL manager Amir Azhar.
According to Amir, his charges have vowed not to take any team lightly and give their best in the remaining matches.
“There is a renewed vigour after that narrow call against BJSS, and even though playing Anderson at their backyard blue-pitch will not be easy, my players are determined to return home with three points,” said Amir.
The JHL Technical Committee will also meet tomorrow to decide if further action is warranted against red-carded Taufik.


P W D L F A Pts
THUNDERBOLTS 4 4 0 0 27 3 12
UNIKL 4 4 0 0 17 3 12
Anderson 4 3 1 0 20 9 10
BJSS 5 3 0 2 17 14 9
USM Jnrs 4 2 1 1 11 10 7
MBPJ 6 2 0 4 16 18 6
SSTMI 4 1 0 3 7 18 3
TBSS 5 1 0 4 10 23 3
BJSS Jnrs 6 0 0 6 3 30 0



P W D L F A Pts
SAPURA 6 6 0 0 37 1 18
Poli KPT 6 4 0 2 16 8 12
MSS Kel 5 3 0 2 11 12 9
KHA Jnrs 5 2 2 1 5 8 8
NUR INSAFI 5 2 1 2 8 7 7
KHA-MSNK 5 2 1 2 10 6 7
ANDSON Jnrs 5 2 0 3 13 10 6
MSSPP Jnrs 6 1 0 5 6 24 3
PHNS 5 0 0 5 1 31 0

P W D L F A Pts
OLAK PKT 5 3 1 1 9 6 10
PAHANG 6 3 1 2 10 11 10
MHS 4 3 0 1 8 4 9
DATUK TAHA 4 3 0 1 5 4 9
MPBP 4 2 0 2 5 5 6
KLSS 5 2 0 3 11 10 6
SMKPM 4 1 0 3 8 9 3
TUNAS PAHANG 4 0 0 4 3 10 0

TODAY: Division One -- UniKL Young Guns v MBI Anderson (Azlan Shah, 7pm), USM Juniors v SSTMI Thunderbolts (USM Stadium, 7pm).
Division Two: Group A -- Kelantan HA v Nur Insafi (, 4pm), Kedah HA Juniors v MSSPP-USM Juniors (Alor Star , 4pm), Negri HA v Politeknik PKT (Seramban II, 4pm), Anderson Juniors v Kedah HA (Azlan Shah, 5pm).
Division Two: Group B -- Olak PKT v Batu Pahat (Bukit Jalil, 5pm), Malacca High School v Datuk Taha (Malacca, 5pm).