Friday, August 30, 2013

India 2 Malaysia 0

MALAYSIA let slip another chance to touch the Asia Cup trophy when they bungled
more than 10 sitters to hand the final slot to India 2-0 at the Azlan Shah Stadium in
Ipoh yesterday.
    There was an inspiring performance from Paul Revington's men, but they just could

not score while India had to bring out their best to play in the final against South
Korea tomorrow.
   The national team will now play for bronze, against Pakistan, who will not feature in

the World Cup for the first time since its inception in 1971.
    "I'm sorry that Pakistan will not play in the World Cup, but at the same time

congratulations to Malaysia and India. Malaysia will be back in the World Cup after 12
years, and they have worked hard for it," said Korean coach Shin Seok Kyo.
   As for Malaysian coach Paul Revington: "I'm very disappointed with the defeat, as we

created the chances, but did not take them. Now, I will have to motivate the players to
go for the bronze, as that is the only option left."
   A good 30 minutes before the match started, the Malaysian flag was displayed on the

scoreboard and patriotic Merdeka songs were played to whip up the capacity crowd.
   And Malaysia started on a sizzling note, as in the first two minutes itself, Faizal

Saari and Nabil Fiqri blazed into the semi-circle, but their shots were just inches wide.
   South Korea had beaten Pakistan 2-1 in the earlier semi-finals, a result which took

India into the World Cup going by the World League reserve list, and so the second
semi-finals was reduced to the Asia Cup title battle.
   The world League format saw three Asian teams qualify for the Netherlands World

Cup next year -- Korea, Malaysia and India.
   Pakistan, four-time World Cup champions, will sit out for the first time since its

inception in 1971.
   In the first semi-finals, the Korean goals were scored by Jang Jong Hyun (31st) and

Lee Nam Young (40th) while the Pakistan goal was scored by Muhammad Imran (46ht).
    Malaysia looked more determined, but it was India who nailed the first goal off their

first penalty corner in the eighth minute when VR Raghunath nailed his sixth goal of
the tournament.
     There was never a dull moment  20 minutes into the match, as Malaysia went for

the equaliser but miss again as Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin's shot is also just wide, and
the tale of misses continued until the half-time as Malaysia even failed to win a single
penalty corner.
    After the break, Malaysia kept up the pressure and after another handful of bungled

attempts, they finally win their first penalty corner of the match in the 45th minute.
    The ball hits an Indian runners leg and there was a follow on penalty corner but

goalkeeper PR Sreejesh brings out a super save when Razie Rahim made the second
     The Malaysian forwardline kept bungling sitters, and in the 60th minute Mandeep

Singh had the easiest task of tapping in the ball from close range to increase the lead
to 2-0.
   RESULTS: Semi-finals -- Pakistan 1 South Korea 2; Malaysia 0 India 2.
   Fifth-Eighth: Japan 3 Bangladesh 0, Oman 2 Taiwan 2 (Oman win shoot-out).
   SATURDAY: Fifth-Sixth -- Japan v Oman (8pm); Seventh-Eighth: Taiwan v Bangladesh

   SUNDAY: Final -- South Korea v India (8pm); Third-Fourth: Pakistan v Malaysia


Korea shut the World Cup door on Pakistan

DEFENDING Asia Cup champions South Korea edged Pakistan out of the World Cup for the first time since 1971, with a polished 2-1 win at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh yesterday.
  But the Korean win dragged World League Fourth Reserves India into the World Cup, even before they played  in the second semi-finals against Malaysia.
   This is because Malaysia and Korea had already qualified for the World Cup, and it does not matter if India, Malaysia or Korea win the Asia Cup title on Sunday -- India will play in the Netherlands World Cup next year. 
   "I'm sorry that Pakistan will not play in the World Cup, but at the same time congratulations to Malaysia and India. Malaysia will be back in the World Cup after 12 years, and they have worked hard for it," said Korean coach Shin Seok Kyo.
    South Korea played like it was a friendly match, and 20 minutes into the first half, they had yet to take a single shot at goal.
  Pakistan looked more desperate as they pushed forward, but skipper Muhammad Imran shot wide a third minute penalty corner.
   The Pakistan forwards kept making inroads with fast breaks, but either shot wide, or were stopped by goalkeeper Lee Myung Ho.
   But with six minutes to the break, Korea finally won their first penalty corner and Jang Jong Hyun scored his seventh goal of the tournament.
   Playing under a constant drizzle, Korea took the lead into the break, as Pakistan plan a comeback to keep their World Cup hopes alive.
   Korea were again the better side, and increased the lead off Lee Nam Yong in the 40th minute, when the veteran picked up a penalty corener rebound and tucked in the ball from close range.
    But Pakistan refused to break down, and increased the tempo of the match and finally narrowed the gap to 1-2 off their third penalty corner. This time, Imran was on target with a sizzler in the 46th minute.
    Pakistan fought gallantly for the equaliser, pushing every man forward and even took out the goalkeeper Salman Akbar and replacing him with a kicking back when only two minutes remained in the match.
   But the equaliser never came and Pakistan were bundled out of the World Cup for the first time since its inception in 1971.

   RESULTS: Semi-finals -- Pakistan 1 South Korea 2; Malaysia x India x.
   Fifth-Eighth: Japan 3 Bangladesh 0, Oman 2 Taiwan 2 (Oman win shoot-out).
   SATURDAY: Fifth-Sixth -- Japan v Oman (8pm); Seventh-Eigtht: Taiwan v Bangladesh (5.30pm).
   SUNDAY: Final -- South Korea v x (8pm); Third-Fourth: Pakistan v x (5.35pm).

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Kuantan to host Champions Challenge I

THE International Hockey Federation (FIH) yesterday announced that Malaysia will
host the men's 2014 Champions Challenge 1 at the Kuantan Stadium on April 26 to
May 4.
   The women's event will be held in Scotland, starting one day later but finishing on

May 4.
  The tournament offers the champion a berth to the 2016 Champions Trophy, and 13th

ranked Malaysia will battle with New Zealand (currently 5th), Spain (joint 6th), South
Korea (joint 6th), South Africa (12th), Canada (14th), Ireland (15th) and Japan (16th).
    Kuantan received two new blue pitches in April last year, and the main field can seat

7.500 spectators and around 3.500 for the second pitch.
   The venue has hosted the Asia Cup in 2009 and women's World League Round 1 in


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Gunning for first title..

MALAYSIA will play two-time champions India in the semi-finals of the Asia Cup at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh on Friday.
   India are facing a do-or-die situation to qualify for the World Cup, while Malaysia will be gunning for their first Asia Cup title -- making it a sizzling last four duel.
    The other semis is between South Korea and Pakistan, with the Green Shirts needing a win to keep their World Cup dream alive.
   However, the pressure will be less against India, if South Korea beat Pakistan in the first semi-finals as that result would see them qualify for the World Cup.
  India, who finished sixth in the World League semi-finals, are the fourth International Hockey Federation (FIH) reserves and with South Korea and Malaysia already qualified, it is their turn next.
   And if Pakistan lose to Korea, India do not need to win the Asia Cup title to play at the Hague next year, as even if Malaysia or Korea win India as the fourth reserves will make the cut.
   "We drew 2-2 with India in the last encounter (Azlan Shah Cup) but this side is more determined as they are looking to qualify for the World Cup," said team manager George Koshy.
   And comparing the performance dished out by both the teams so far, it would be skewed towards India, admitted George.
   "India have yet to concede a single goal thus far. But having said that we know India , both the team and their players well and what to expect from them.
    "The coaches will prepare the team to upset the form book . We are
fairly confident with the right mind set , focus , approach and passion we
will be able to turn the tables on India, as they are not invincible," said Koshy.
   And there is no more room for silly mistakes, like the two goals Taiwan scored against Malaysia.
   "The team is in high spirits and motivated to win the match and they know very well
that we can't afford to make silly mistakes because India is more than
able to punish us. The plan is for the team, and the country, to have a memorable Hari Merdeka celebrations," said George.
    For the record, Revington and his men made the final of the Azlan Shah Cup only to lose to 3-2, and Ipoh might just see another super show from Malaysia.
    However, the worryong factor is penalty corner conversions, as Malaysia won 19 in three matches, but have only scored six.
   And all 19 penalty corners were direct attempts by either Razie Rahim or Faizal Saari with not a single set piece utilised to date.
    Maybe coach Revington is keeping the set-pieces for semi-finals onwards, and we will find out when they play India who has yet to lose in the Asia Cup, or even concede a single goal yet.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Malaysia beat Japan to set date with India..

MALAYSIA lived dangerously, but came back from two-goals down to beat Japan 4-2
for a spot in the semi-finals of the Asia Cup hockey tournament in Ipoh yesterday.
   And their highly likely opponents are India, who play Bangladesh today, as a win is

almost assured for the two-time Asia Cup gold medallists.
   "The fighting spirit was excellent against Japan, but we can't afford to play like this

in the semi-finals. We must not give away easy goals if we want to win the Asia Cup
for the first time," summed up Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president
Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.
   As for Malaysian coach Paul Revington: "We stayed focussed, and calm, and that is

what won us the match. In the semi-finals, we have a plan to beat India as the target
set for my team is to win the first title."
   Japan score off their first shot at goal, when Malaysia bungled the five-yard rule and

gave away a penalty corner in the fifth minute itself.
   Toshiro Tachibana's drag flick was deflected into goal, and the Japanese became

bolder in their attacks.
   It did not take long for Japan to score their second goal, in the eighth minute, and

this time it was off a field attempt by Kei Kawakami.
    The Malaysian team probably forgot, that they only needed a draw in this match to

advance to the semi-finals, and played sloppy hockey which allowed Japan to
dominate opening play.
   Razie Rahim reminded his team-mates on the statistics as in the 13th minute he

scored Malaysia's first goal off the first penalty corner attempt.
   And Firhan Ashaari's reverse stick drive in the 28th minute gave Malaysia the

equaliser and breathing space to march into the dressing room with dignity.
   The second hald did not start rosy, as four minutes into play, Shukri Mutalib was

benched with a yellow card for stopping a high ball -- as the new International Hockey
Federation (FIH) rule was not used in the Asia Cup.
    Goalkeeper Kumar brings off stunning saves to keep Malaysia in the semis, but

Japan were more dangerous in the second half.
   And in the 60th minute off their seventh penalty corner, Faizal Saari sent the 2,000-

odd crowd into Sevent Heaven when he finally gave Malaaysia the lead with a sizzling
grounder attempt.
   And with seven minutes on the clock, Japan now needed to score two goals to take

Malaysia out of the semi-finals.
   Perak-born Azlan Misron took off the pressure when his diving shot in the 64th

minute gave Malaysia a comfortable 4-2 win.

    Group A:
                      P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
  PAKISTAN   3   3    0   0  24  1  9
  MALAYSIA   3   2    0   1  15  8  6 
  JAPAN         3   1    0   2  7  12   3
  TAIWAN       3   0    0   3  3  28  0

   Group B
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
 INDIA           2   2    0   0  10  0  6
 S KOREA    2   1    0   1  9    2   3
 OMAN          2   1    0   1  4  10  3
 B'DESH       2   0    0   2  2  13  0

   RESULTS -- Pakistan 13 Taiwan 0, Malaysia 4 Japan 2.
  Wednesday: South Korea v Oman (6pm), India v Bangladesh (8pm).

Monday, August 26, 2013

India 2 Korea 0

    Group A:
                      P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
  PAKISTAN   2   2    0   0  11  1  6
  MALAYSIA   2   1    0   1  11  6  3 
  JAPAN         2   1    0   1  5  8    3
  TAIWAN       2   0    0   2  3  15  0

   Group B
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
 INDIA           2   2    0   0  10  0  6
 S KOREA    2   1    0   1  9  2  3
 OMAN          2   1    0   1  4  10  3
 B'DESH       2   0    0   2  2  13  0

   RESULTS -- Bangladesh 2 Oman 4, India 2 South Korea 0.
    Aug 27: Pakistan v Taiwan (6pm), Malaysia v Japan (8pm).

Kumar holds the key to Asia Cup semis..

GOALKEEPER S. Kumar holds the key to open the Asia Cup semi-finals door at the
Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh today.
   But going by form, Kumar might just shut the door on Malaysia and open it wide for

Japan, instead.
   Voted as the best goalkeeper in Asia in 2011, Kumar and his main defenders Razie

Rahim and Baljit Singh have been guilty of letting in 5 goals in two matches in Ipoh,
and a whopping 18 goals in six matches in the World Legue Semi-finals in Johor Baru.
   "Yes five goals in two matches do look a bit too many, but I'm still focussed on the

task at hand, which is to win the Asia Cup gold medal.
    "And I will give my best against Japan tomorrow (today) to achieve that target," said

    Taiwan scored off their first shot at goal aginst Kumar, while Pakistan's shots were

not that dangerous, but the ball still slipped past the defenders and Kumar.
   "We did not impress against Japan (1-1) in the World League, and had to win the

   "But I have a feeling that my team-mates are ready to beat Japan and play in the

semi-finals," said Kumar.
    Another player who has had a bad run in Johor Baru as well as Ipoh is striker

Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin who started his career as a promising player in the 2005
Junior World Cup in Rotterdam.
   But he has been overtaken by much younger strikers in the last tow tournaments.
   "I played the feeder's role when playing Taiwan, and against Pakistan, the marking

was too tight as at times five players surrounded me when I got the ball.
   "And many times when I ran with the ball, there was not enough Malaysian support

in the semi-circle to turn the attack into goal. Yes, it has been a disappointing
tournament for me, and I hope to deliver against Japan and make it memorable," said
   Pakistan are assured of the top spot in Group A as they play whipping side Taiwan

today, and Malaysia need to beat or hold Japan to a draw to secure the second semi-
finals slot.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Pakistan 4 Malaysia 1

MALAYSIA played in patches, while Pakistan were brilliant when chances came their
way, to win the crucial Asia Cup match 4-1 at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh
   With the win, Pakistan are virtually assured of the top spot in Group A, as they next

play Taiwan, while Malaysia must beat Japan to play in the semi-finals.
   "We did discuss about the possiblity of the last match (against Japan) might just

turn out to be the decider and now we have to plan to beat them to play in the semi-
finals," said Malaysian coach Paul Revington.
   Seasoned striker Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin summed up the Pakistan defeat: "We did

not have enough strikers in the semi-cirlce to score goals, as Pakistan defended in
numbers and relied on counters.
   "Against Japan, we need to open up the match upfront, and the strikers must avoid

tight marking," said Tengku Ahmad.
    Malaysia played controlled hockey, but the formation broke 15 minutes into the

match after Firhan Ashaari, and then Baljit Singh were flashed the green card within
minutes of each other.
  And while they were both warming the bench, nine-man Malaysia were placed under

tremendous pressure and Pakistan won their first penalty corner in the 16th minute.
  But poor trapping saw them bungle the chance, and Malaysia started attacking again

after both the benched players were called in back.
  Pakistan got their second break in the 20th minute, when goalkeeper S. Kumar was

the only man to beat, but Muhammad Dilber slammed the ball wide instead of trying to
dribble the goalkeeper.
     Malaysia did not disappoint their fans when they won their first penalty corner in

the 25th minute, and Razie Rahim's low drive floated past a sea of legs to sound the
board for the lead.
   The match turned turned into a highly entertaining duel, as Pakistan went looking for

the equaliser before the break, and Zubair Mohammed nailed it in the 33rd minute off a
field attempt.
   Malaysia tried to re-gain the lead after the breather, but Pakistan defended stoutly,

with at least five players for every Malaysian on the ball.
   And in the 45th minute, off their rare second half counter, Zubair got the last touch to

score his second goal and give his team the lead.
      Pakistan sealed the match in the 60th minute, when Fitri Shaari deflected in an

own goal, and then a deflection off S. Kumar's pads gave them another own goal for a
comfortable 4-1 win.
  In Group B, defending champions South Korea played their first game, but were on

fire to hammer Bangladesh 9-0, after taking a 4-0 lead in the first half.
  Today, South Korea play India, to decide who tops the group.

    Group A:
                      P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
  PAKISTAN   2   2    0   0  11  1  6
  MALAYSIA   2   1    0   1  11  6  3 
  JAPAN         2   1    0   1  5  8    3
  TAIWAN       2   0    0   2  3  15  0

   Group B
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
 INDIA           1   1    0   0  8  0  3
 S KOREA    1   1    0   0  9  0  3
 B'DESH       1   0    0   1  0  9  0
 OMAN          1   0    0   1  0  8  0

   RESULTS -- South Korea 9 Bangladesh 0, Japan 5 Taiwan 1, Pakistan 4 Malaysia 1.
   FIXTURES: Aug 26: Bangladesh v Oman (6pm), India v South Korea (8pm).
    Aug 27: Pakistan v Taiwan (6pm), Malaysia v Japan (8pm).


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Malaysia 10 Taiwan 2

MALAYSIA hit 50th ranked Taiwan 10-2 in their opening Asia Cup encounter at the
Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh yesterday.
   The win was expected, but not the two easy goals which they let in, and now Paul

Revington's men must prove their worth against Pakistan today to cement their
intention of making waves in the Asian region.
    Malaysian players, as well as coaching staff, wore a blue jersey with number 3, and

the name Chua printed at the back during the 30 minutes warm-up before the Taiwan
   This was in appreciation to the 337 capped Chua Boon Huat, a Malaysian record, 

who died in a car accident recently, and a one-minute silence was held in his memory.
   But the start of the match was not rosy, as Taiwan's No 3 Liu Ching Kun drove a

sizzler off their first attack in the fourth minute to beat goalkeeper S. Kumar for their
first recent international goal against Malaysia.
   For the record, Malaysia hammered Taiwan 17-0 in the  Intercontinental Cup in Ipoh

in 1988, and 9-0 in the 2006 Doha Asian Games.
    But there was never a doubt that Malaysia would win the match, and Faizal Saari

started the goal-count with a low penalty corner flick in the 10th minute and then
scored the second in the 12th.
   The other goals were scored by Firhan Ashaari (18th, 19th, 67th),  Marhan Jalil

(32nd), Izwan Firdaus (40th), Nabil Fiqri (45th), Fitri Saari (62nd).
   Faizal started the rout, and then nailed the 10th goal in the 69th minute.
    The second Taiwan goal was scored by Hsien-Yi Tseng in the 46th minute.
    Pakistan's seasoned player Shakeel Abbasi, who played for Maybank in the

Malaysia Hockey League, feels that very little separates Malaysia and his side.
  "It will be a tough game as this is our third meeting in one month (4-4 draw and

Malaysian win 3-1), and all the players know each other very well. I believe the match
outcome will be decided by flashes or brilliance by an individual from either side.
  "However, my team played very well against Japan today, and I hope to carry forward

the momentum 24 hours from now," said Shakeel.
  Meanwhile, India and Pakistan signalled their intention of claiming the Asia Cup gold

when they too went on a whipping spree.
  India demolished Oman 8-0 in Group B, while Pakistan hit Japan 7-0 in Group A.
  The India goals were scored by Mandeep Singh (fourth, 40th, 44th), Ramandeep Singh

(17th), V. Raghunath (28th), Rupinder Pal Singh (34th), Malak Singh (47th) and S.
Uthappa (69th).
  And the Pakistan goals were hammered in by Muhammad Waqas (12th, 20th), Haseem

Khan (22nd), Muhammad Tausiq (25th, 35th), Muhammad Imran (33rd, 70th).
    Group A:
                      P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
  MALAYSIA   1   1    0   0  10  2  3 
  PAKISTAN   1   1    0   0  7  0  3
  JAPAN         1   0    0   1  0  7  0
  TAIWAN       1   0    0   1  2  10  0

   Group B
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
 INDIA           1   1    0   0  8  0  3
 S KOREA    0   0    0   0  0  0  0
 B'DESH       0   0    0   0  0  0  0
 OMAN          1   0    0   1  0  8  0

   RESULTS -- India 8 Oman 0, Pakistan 7 Japan 0, Malaysia 10 Taiwan 2.
   FIXTURES -- Sunday: South Korea v Bangladesh (4pm), Japan v Taiwan (6pm),
Pakistan v Malaysia (8pm).

India 8 Oman 0

Asia Cup: Pakistan beat Japan 7-0.
  And the Pakistan goals were hammered in by Muhammad Waqas (12th, 20th), Haseem Khan (22nd), Muhammad Tausiq (25th, 35th), Muhammad Imran (33rd, 70th).
  The India goals were scored by Mandeep Singh (fourth, 40th, 44th), Ramandeep Singh (17th), V. Raghunath (28th),  Rupinder Pal Singh (34th), Malak Singh (47th) and S.
Uthappa (69th).

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Asia Cup fixtures (Mas times)

     Group A: Pakistan, Malaysia, Japan, Taiwan.
    Group B: South Korea, India, Bangladesh, Oman.

   FIXTURES -- Saturday: India v Oman (4pm), Pakistan v Japan (6pm), Malaysia v Taiwan (8pm).
    Sunday: South Korea v Bangladesh (4pm), Japan v Taiwan (6pm), Pakistan v Malaysia (8pm).
    Aug 26: Bangladesh v Oman (6pm), India v South Korea (8pm).
    Aug 27: Pakistan v Taiwan (6pm), Malaysia v Japan (8pm).
    Aug 28: South Korea v Oman (6pm), India v Bangladesh (8pm).
    Aug 29: REST DAY.
    Aug 30: Semi-finals.
    Sept 1: Final.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

England hold Ireland 2-2

Euro Championships -- Group A Semi-finalists -- Netherlands and England.
                                       Group B semi-finalists -- A toss between Germany, Belgium and Spain.


Now for the Asia Cup gold medal..

NATIONAL hockey coach Paul Revington named two midfielders yesterday to complete his Asia Cup cast, which will attempt to win Malaysia's maiden gold medal starting Saturday.
  The coach had earlier named 16 players who took Malaysia to fifth place in the World League semi-finals in Johor Baru.
  And yesterday, the two midfielders selected from the training pool were Jivan Mohan and Ramadan Rosli.
  Malaysia, for the record, have only won bronze medals in the Asia Cup -- but will be gunning for gold as the tournament also doubles up as a World Cup qualifier.
  However, it looks like Malaysia will already have qualified for the World Cup when dawn breaks, as the European Championships results so far is favouring Paul Revington and his men.
  Four teams have qualified for the World Cup from Europe -- Germany, England, Netherlands and Belgium -- and two of them made the semi-finals of the Euro yesterday.
  Netherlands and England qualified for the semi-finals from Group B, and the three teams poised for the semis from Group A last night were Belgium, Germany and Spain.
  And by morning in Malaysia, it does not matter which two of the three make the semis from Group A, Malaysia will play in the World Cup in the Hague, Netherlands after a hiatus of 12 years.
  And the Asia Cup will just be a relaxed tournament for Revington's men to claim gold -- and drag India by the collar into the World Cup as well.
  MALAYSIA -- Azlan Misron, Baljit Singh, Firhan Ashaari, Faiz Helm, Faizal Saari, Izwan Firdaus,
S. Kumar, Sukri Mutalib, Izad Hakimi, Fitri Saari,
Shahrun Nabil, Marhan Jalil, Razie Rahim, Nabil Fiqri, Roslan Jamaluddin, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin,
Jivan Mohan, Ramadan Rosli.
  Asia Cup: Group A -- Malaysia, Pakistan, Japan, Taiwan; Group B: India, South Korea, Oman, Bangladesh.
  Malaysian Fixtures -- Saturday: Malaysia v Taiwan (8.05pm); Sunday: Malaysia v Pakistan (8.05pm).
  Aug 27: Malaysia v Japan (8.05pm).

D-Day for Eurp men.. What happens if?

Today is the big day in the men’s event: who will be our semi-finalists?  
   The day starts with Pool B, when Ireland meet England (half-time now and England lead 2-0). 
   This is the decisive game in Pool B, as the Netherlands are already confirmed as semi-finalists, and Poland is equally certain of moving into the relegation pool. England will reach the semi-finals with a win or draw, while Ireland must win to avoid the Pool C.

In Pool A, we first have Germany taking on the Czech Republic. If Germany loses, they are in the relegation pool, but if Germany wins or draws, they depend on the result of the subsequent match between Belgium and Spain. If Belgium wins after Germany has won or drawn, it’s Belgium and Germany in the semi-finals.
If Belgium and Spain draw after Germany has won, it’s Belgium and Germany who are in the Top Four, but if Belgium and Spain draw after Germany has drawn with the Czech Republic, it’s Belgium and Spain who are semi-finalists.
  If Spain wins after Germany has won its match, it all comes down to goal difference!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Wednesday D-day for Malaysia..(5.30pm start)

With Netherlands booking a semis spot from Group B of the Euro championships, the England versus Ireland match becomes crucial in Malaysia's chances of qualifying for the World Cup.
   If England win Malaysia will play in the World Cup as  Group A looks set to be a toss among Spain, Belgium and Germany making the semi-finals.
   This scribe picks Netherlands, of course, England, Belgium and Germany to play in the semi-finals of the Euro Hockey.
 And of the prediction comes true, first World League 2nd reserves Spain will qualify for World Cup, and Malaysia as well, as the World League 3rd reserves will claim the Oceania ticket..


Ireland vs England (head to head)

98 meetings
IRL 12 wins, England 66 wins, 12 draws; Ireland’s biggest win 3-0, Belfast 1938; England’s biggest win 8-0 in 1909

Crutchley wary of Irish..

English coach Bobby Crutchley says that if his side are not already wary of the challenge Ireland pose on Wednesday, he will not be shy in telling them.
His side fell 2-1 to the Netherlands to leave the final group game between Ireland and the English as a winner-takes-all affair for a semi-final berth.
The Dutch advanced to the final four but, in a decent second half showing, England showed enough quality to put them in the favourites bracket on Wednesday.
Champions Trophy Melbourne 2012Barry Middleton fired home a 54th minute goal to give his side a lifeline after Billy Bakker and Jelle Galema had put the Dutch 2-0 up at half-time.
Speaking afterwards, Crutchley said that the next match will be a huge tussle for his side.
“When you saw the fixtures, you knew it was always likely to be the crunch game for the semi-finals,” he said. “We are very aware of the challenge ahead. The Irish team have been improving for a number of years and they’ve shown again here they are a high quality side.
“We’re a reasonably inexperienced squad; we’ve only got six guys here from the Olympics. That make it a tough game for our guys to appreciate how hard it could potentially be. But don’t worry, I will be telling them if they don’t already know.”
He added, though, that due to the volume of players who have played in England before means that most will have already have had face to face experience with their opposite number.
“There’s also a lot of connections whether it be through club or ex-university team mates. They know each other pretty well.”
Middleton chipped in by pointing out that a brotherly showdown was ruled out, saying: “No Gleghornes though!”
Crutchley joked that Paul and Mark’s sibling rivalry could act as a substitute for the game itself: “I’m sure the two could have played the game on their own to decide it!”
Ireland fell to England 3-2 at the Hamburg Masters last month and have yet to beat England in a ranking event and the stats are heavily in the English court with June 2002 in Manchester the last time Ireland recorded a win.
** Pic by Grant Treeby/FIH
Ireland vs England (head to head)
98 meetings; IRL 12 wins, England 66 wins, 12 draws; Ireland’s biggest win 3-0, Belfast 1938; England’s biggest win 8-0 in 1909

Recent meetings:
* Ireland 2 (Kyle Good, Conor Harte) England 3 (Tom Carson, Darren Cheesman, Nick Catlin); Hamburg Masters, July 2013
* Ireland 2 (Chris Cargo, John Jermyn) England 4 (Barry Middleton 2, Matt Daly, Ashley Jackson); August 2011 Europeans in Monchengladbach group stages
* Ireland 1 (John Jermyn) England 1, August 2007 Europeans in Manchester in group stage

* Ireland’s most recent win – June 2002, Manchester; 3-1 (Stephen Butler, Mark Raphael, Julian Stevenson)

Ireland 4 Poland 2
EuroHockey Championships
Men’s Group B
Ireland 4 (C Harte, S O’Donoghue, E Magee, M Watt) Poland 2 (A Chwalisz 2)
It was laboured at times but Ireland picked up their first win of the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships as they saw off Poland 4-2 in Belgium to set up a delicious tie with England with a semi-final berth on the line.

Corner goals from Conor Harte and Eugene Magee along with goals from Shane O’Donoghue and Mikey Watt saw them over the line in spite of two sloppy Adam Chwalisz efforts.
They can be given a bit of leeway, though, for the lack of finesse. Having spent a huge amount of energy in falling just short against the Dutch on Sunday evening, the 16-hour turnaround time was a tough ask to manage for Andrew Meredith’s side.
Poland had eight extra hours rest than Ireland after their 5-2 loss to England and their coach, Karel Sniesek said he factored this into an aggressive game plan. In spite of this, Ireland started superbly, moving 1-0 up after four minutes via Harte’s switch drag-flick.
EuroHockey 2013Chwalisz poked home a spinning, one-handed effort that fooled David Harte in flight with a heavy dose of off-spin. O’Donoghue’s second goal in two days, though, gave Ireland the half-time lead.
They held on to that courtesy of a good defensive performance but found their attacks error-strewn until Eugene Magee calmed the nerves in the 44th minute.
Mikey Watt made the game safe with a rocket from the right of the circle late on but there was a blot late on when Chwalisz scored with just a few seconds to go.

With England to play on Wednesday afternoon with a semi-final place on the line, goal difference may become all-important.
Speaking about the win, coach Andrew Meredith said it showed the side’s mental toughness to cope with the short turnaround time.
“We were inconsistent but effective enough,” he said. “But we created enough chances – 14 shots at goal and eight corners. To get that win against a well-structured side; it was a must-win game and the pressure was on and we delivered.”
Other quotes:
Polish coach Karol Sniezek: “The first half was Ireland’s and they had much more opportunity to score but we had, in our good moments, two corners which meant we could have been equal at half-time.

“In the second half, we played a good press, knowing we had more of a rest than Ireland and physically that would work for us. We used the full press for almost the whole half and it gave us opportunities to score but corners were our problem today.
EuroHockey 2013“Ireland had their corner and scored. If you don’t score at the right moments, then you will lose. In Argentina, we lost 4-0 so I think we’ve stepped up and we played better today than then. Still, it’s not even to win against this good team.”
Irish coach Andrew Meredith: “The game yesterday cost a lot of energy against the Dutch. A 16-hour turnaround when you factor in the travel, sleep and meals; the guys are very fatigued and it showed.
“We were inconsistent but effective enough. We created enough chances – 14 shots at goal and eight corners. These are a key element at this tournament; if you can have 20pc corner conversion, you are doing well because everyone is struggling with the surface. To get that win against a well-structured side, the pressure was on and we delivered.
Dariusz Rachwalski on how his side have changed since they met Ireland in Argentina: “Some of our experienced players couldn’t play in this tournament so we tried to play a differently from Buenos Aires. Then, we played a deep hard court press. Today, we created more attacking situations but couldn’t score any. If you can’t score corners at this level, you cannot win.
Meredith, how do you manage the lack of time between games?: “Through a lack of sleep! To process the data from the previous game, have your team meetings to debrief the players. We had a video session late last night; the players get massages, they have to rehydrate. It takes a long time. Guys go to bed 12.30 or 1am at night.
“They have to be up again early to start their preparation again with individual clips and the team analysis of Poland. Somewhere in there you try and get some sleep.”
How many hours sleep? “About four!”
On the Braxgata turf: “The pitch is soft and taxing on the legs and you see players cramping as a result.
EuroHockey 2013John Jackson on the tournament organisation at the club he played with last season: “I have to pay tribute to what Braxgata have done. Its been planned since before I arrived here. They are putting on a great show.”
Peter Caruth on playing England: “We always knew England would probably be the biggest match in the group. They are a good team and are higher ranked but nothing changes in our processes. We’ll stick together and get the right result.”
Meredith on his team’s progression: “We put ourselves in a really good position with the performance against Holland. I’m really happy with the development of the youngesters, Shimmins, Brown, Cole and O’Donoghue – he’s still very young even though he has 30 or 40 caps. The experienced guys at the back and in midfield have been very good in organizing things. We are in a good place and are far and away in a better place than in Hmaburg in our preparation.
** Photos courtesy of Frank Uijlenbroek/IHA; for more click here
** To relive the game via the Live Blog, click here
Ireland: D Harte, J Jackson, R Gormley, C Cargo, E Magee, M Darling, K Good, C Harte, P Brown, S Loughrey, S O’Donoghue Subs: J Bell, M Watt, S Cole, P Caruth, K Shimmins, B McCandless, D Fitzgerald
Poland: A Matuszak, P Bratkowski, M Raciniewski, T Gorny, T Wachowiak, B Zywiczka, K Makowski, T Marcinkowski, M Nowakowski, K Majchrzak, M Poltaszewski Subs: D Rachwalski, A Rutkowski, A Chwalisz, P Mazany, P Kozlowski, A Krokosz, M Pacanowski
Men’s TriFinance EuroHockey Championships
Group A results: Ireland 4 (C Harte, S O’Donoghue, E Magee, M Watt) Poland 2 (A Chwalisz 2); England 1 (B Middleton) Netherlands 2 (B Bakker, J Galema)
Standings: 1. Netherlands 6pts (+2) 2. England 3pts (+2) 3. Ireland 3pts (+1) 4. Poland 0pts (-5)
Men’s Group A Spain 3 (P Quemada, M Terraza, G Dabanch) Germany 6 (T Stralkowski 2, M Zwicker, C Wesley, M Furste, O Korn)
Four goals in eight second half minutes saw Germany turn a potentially disastrous position into a stunning win to see them right back in the mix for the men’s TriFinance EuroHockey Championships.

Having lost to Belgium in game one, they trailed Spain 2-1 after 46 minutes, a result that would have seen Germany almost certainly eliminated.
But Moritz Furste popped in a close range goal and further efforts from Thilo Stralkowski, Martin Zwicker and Christopher Wesley saw them quickly exchange that deficit for a 5-2 lead.
Early on Pau Quemada scored a corner which was cancelled out by a low drag-flick from Stralkowski. Spain retook the lead Xavi Lleonart’s ball into the circle took a slight touch from Manel Terraza and slip through Nicolas Jacobi’s legs.
EuroHockey 2013The game turned, though, when Edi Tubau was yellow carded. Germany got two of their goals during his suspension and took the momentum through to build their lead. Gabriel Dabanch got one back but a nice Oliver Korn touch made it 6-3.
Belgium – Czech Republic 4-0 (half-time: 2-0)
Belgium moved a step closer to the semi-finals of the second half as they scored two goals in each half to see off the Czech Republic, adding to their earlier win over Germany.

John John Dohmen put them on course for the win after five minutes when he followed up with a great strike after Filip Neusser made a fine initial save. The goalkeeper produced another couple of great saves while Tomas Prochazka guided another effort around the post.
But Tom Boon’s third penalty corner goal of the competition made it 2-0 at half-time. A Richard Kotrc own goal in the 49th minute extended the lead to three before Cedric Charlier’s rocket completed the scoring.
It puts Belgium top of the group on six points with Germany and Spain on three points and the Czechs on zero going into the last round of matches on Wednesday with all sides still techinally able to advance to the semi-finals.
Standings: 1. Belgium 6pts (+5) 2= Spain 3pts (+2) 2= Germany 3pts (+2) 4. Czech Republic 0pts (-9)

Engaland v Ireland crucial tie..

Monday 19th August 2013
Spain - Germany 3-6 (2-1)
Ireland - Poland 4-2 (2-1)
Belgium - Czech Republic 4-0 (2-0)
England - Netherlands 1-2 (0-2)
Wednesday 21st August 2013 
Ireland - England

Final - Final

Germany - Czech Republic

Belgium - Spain

Netherlands - Poland

Monday, August 19, 2013

Irish denied famous draw..

EuroHockey Championships by

Men’s Group B: Ireland 1 (S O’Donoghue) Netherlands 2 (M van der Weerden, R Kemperman)
Andrew Meredith admitted his frustration as his Irish side came within a few minutes from one of the biggest results in the country’s history in the European A division but the manner of the performance suggests Ireland can make some waves later in the campaign.

     Rob Kemperman’s beautiful reverse-stick goal saw the Olympic silver medallists the Netherlands scrape to victory in Boom, Belgium last night in a thrill-a-minute tie.
      It saw them come back from an early deficit to grind out a 2-1 win against an Irish side ranked 12 places below them in the world.
EuroHockey 2013Shane O’Donoghue’s superb low drag flick put Ireland in the front in the 18th minute and it visibly lifted the side.
    From there, the game was very even in the second half initially with the Dutch struggling to get by the tackling of Conor Harte and Ronan Gormley. One particular monster block by Harte on Sander Baart typified the performance
    Bruce McCandless tore through to flash across Jaap Stockmann’s goal while in midfield, the diminutive Peter Brown produced a sterling performance.
    The Dutch, though, started to win corners on the half-hour mark and, from the second of them, Mink van der Weerden planted a low flick past the stick side of David Harte.
     Ireland kept showing endeavour into the second half and, with Kemperman in the sin-bin on a yellow, Conor Harte’s crash ball found a foot. The corner was worked well by Harte to injector Chris Cargo but he got the angle of his sweep wrong and it slipped wide.
     Kyle Good had to charge down two other corners at the far end while van der Weerden got no further change out of David Harte, much to the flicker’s frustration.
  Good, meanwhile, used his pace and strength to burn down the left wing and draw a top drawer save from Stockmann. That came just moments before the killer blow as Kemperman found room in the circle and he lived up to his Mr Backhand nickname with a superb reverse stick shot.
     With time running out, Ireland’s hopes of bouncing back were curtailed by Stephen Cole’s yellow card and they could not force a late chance to level.
    No points for performances though and O’Donoghue said it was key that the standard of display remains against Poland on Monday.
EuroHockey 2013“The Dutch had to push themselves to the limit and it’s a good foundation for us,” he said. “We have done our background research on them but we have to match that intensity against Poland.”
      Meredith, meanwhile, added: “It was the toughest test we could have to start off and I’m really proud of the effort. It is frustrating because we created enough danger to get a result.”
It gives them the three points to start the competition before they meet England while Ireland play Poland on Monday afternoon.
     Shane O’Donoghue on the result: “We’re obviously disappointed with the result. With the green machine, we always look to start each tournament on a high but the Dutch are well-renowned and they brought their A game. It is a good foundation, though, to take into the next game against Poland.”
     Coach Andrew Meredith’s view: “It’s a three-step process for us and playing the Dutch first is the best test we can have to see where we’re at. I’m really proud of the guys application. We created enough danger to get something out of the game; that’s the frustrating thing. Of course we conceded quite a few corners but I’m really happy with the structure we played and the ball possession we had. We really asked serious questions of the Dutch offence and defence. It’s a great start for us and a platform to carry into our next two games.
      On how the young players performed: “We’ve got guys who have just finished their high school exams mixing it with the world’s best. I’m really happy with how they have integrated. There’s no pressure on them; its about a development curve and I think they are on a very good track to becoming high quality international players.
    John Jackson on his rib injury late in the game: “Losing hurts more.”
     Rob Kemperman on the goal he scored against Kampong team mate David Harte: “Its my specialty. At each Kampong training I practice fifty of those shots. “Dammit,” David said to me afterwards because he know how I shoot them although he thought it was a nice goal.”

Eng 5 Pol 2; Ireland 1 Netherlands 2..

Pool A
Team Pl W D L GD Pts
Czech Republic1001-50
Pool B
Team Pl W D L GD Pts

Sunday, August 18, 2013

2013 Men's Pan Am Cup - Gold: CAN vs ARG

Malaysia Living the Dream...

 Malaysian assistant coach Arul Selvaraj gets an identical Living the Dream tattoo
 The late Chua Boon Huat tattooed his bicep with Living the Dream after the end of the World League in Johor Baru.

MALAYSIA have virtually made the grade for the Netherlands World Cup next year, but the even better news is that Paul Revington’s men are determined to win the Asia Cup starting in Ipoh on Saturday.
   The team is Living The Dream, the phrase that the late Chua Boon Huat tattooed on his left bicep after he helped Malaysia finish fifth in the Johor Baru World League.
   And with Argentina beating Canada 4-0 in the Pan American Cup in Toronto yesterday, the fourth placed team in Johor Baru, South Korea, also qualified for the World Cup as stipulated in the International Hockey Federation (FIH) qualification criteria.
   Argentina, who had qualified for the World Cup by finishing second in Johor Baru, aslo did a big favour to start the ball rolling as now it is the turn of Spain, who finished fifth in the World League in Netherlands, to qualify.
   And Spain have the easiest task, as in the ongoing Euro Championships; Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and England have qualified for the World Cup, and if any of the above win the title, or Spain wins it themselves, it will then be Malaysia’s turn.
    And if all goes to plan, as the big four in Europe are not expected to fail, Malaysia need not break sweat in the Asia Cup but qualify for the World Cup via the Oceania Championships -- where Australia and New Zealand play and it does not matter who becomes the champion -- Malaysia will be the winners.
    “By finishing fifth in the World League, we knew to a certain degree that we have a foot in the World Cup, and the vision is becoming clearer after Argentina won the Pan American Cup.
   “But that does not change our plans to win the Asia Cup in Ipoh (for the first time) and double qualify for the World Cup,” said team manager George Koshy.
   On Saturday in Group A of the Euro Championships, Spain hammered Czech Republic 6-1 while Belgium beat Germany 1-0. In Group B are England, Netherlands, Poland and Ireland.
    “Well Argentina (winning the Pan Am) is certainly good news, and barring an upset in the Euro Championships from the lower ranked teams, Spain should qualify for the World Cup. Hopefully all goes well and Malaysia’s fifth finish in the World League will be duly rewarded,” said Revington.
    And since the semi-finalists of the Euro Championships will be known a few days before the Asia Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia and South Korea might just be the two Asian teams who had made the grade on merit for the World Cup.
    Assistant coach Arul Selvaraj, who was among Boon Huat’s close circle of friends, on Friday (16-8-2013) at 3pm, also tattooed his left bicep with Living The Dream -- as Malaysia are almost certain to play in the World Cup after a hiatus of 12 years.

   The number 3 was Boon Huat's special...
   Teams which have qualified for the World Cup:
   From World League in Netherlands: Belgium, Australia, Netherlands, New Zealand
    From World League in Johor Baru: Germany, Argentina, England, South Korea.
    FIH first reserve: Spain; Second Reserve: Malaysia; Third Reserve: India.

A Royal kick off for Belgium teams...

King Philip and Prince Gabriel where a good luck charm for the Belgian players. After  the majestic victory of the Red Panthers this afternoon, it was the Red Lions turn to meet the King. This in front of thousands of fans, whom they just treated to a moving a cappella version of the Belgian national anthem. 
   There is no doubt, The King and his son - a hockey player himself - enjoyed their day at the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships 2013.
The big Belgian hockey family thanks his royal highness King Philip for his support.

Men: Germany - Belgium 1-2 (1-2)
The day concluded with a nailbiter of a clash between Germany and the home team in front of a stadium packed to the last seat with enthusiastic supporters of the Red Lions who witnessed Belgium recording an important opening win against Olympic champions Germany.
An early goal from Mats Grambusch had gotten Germany on the scoreboard first but Belgium soon took the reigns and a quick double hit with two penalty corner conversions in as many minutes through Loïck Luypaert and Tom Boon set the hosts back on track. German goalkeeper Nico Jacobi was crucial in keeping the scoreline close with some extraordinary goalkeeping efforts in both halves, but Germany could not get past the Belgians on the attack and Belgium celebrated their win in the opening match with more than 8.000 vocal fans.

Men: Spain - Czech Republic 6-1 (3-1)
In the first men's match of the event, Spain sailed to a 6-1 win over the Czech Republic, including a double hit from Edi Tubau plus one goal each from Miki Delás, Pau Quemada, Roc Oliva an Alex Casasayas.  The Czechs's lone goal came from a standard situation as defensive anchor Tomas Prochazka sunk a penalty corner in the 16th minute that was also the Czech Republic’s first ever goal in the top tier of European championships history.
The win gives Spain a headstart in the strong men's pool A, in which Spain will be competing for a semi-final spot with powerhouses Germany and Belgium.

Viva La Espana!


Saturday 17th August 2013
Spain - Czech Republic 6-1 (3-1)
Germany - Belgium 1-2 (1-2)
Sunday 18th August 2013 
England - Poland

Netherlands - Ireland

Argentina beat Canada 4-0; Korea in World Cup..

2013 Pan American Cup (Men)

URU Uruguay
Brazil BRA
CHI Chile
Mexico MEX
TTO Trinidad & Tobago
ARG Argentina
Canada CAN