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High-flying England end India's last four hopes

Last updated on: March 6, 2010 22:30 IST

High-flying England end India's last four hopes

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A spirited India went down fighting to an in-form England side in a Pool B encounter of the Hockey World Cup in New Delhi on Saturday and crashed out of the semifinal race.

It was India's third straight defeat following the lone win over Pakistan in their opening match.

Going into the match England and India had met six times in the World Cup with the former winning twice and the latter on three occasions.

However, to England's advantage, they had won their last two World Cup encounters with the hosts, whose last win in the tournament against the visitors came way back in the 1994 edition.

And it was the visiting team that took a healthy 3-0 lead before the hosts could mount a fightback.


Image: England's players celebrate their first goal as India's Singh watches during their match at the men's Hockey World Cup
Photographs: Reuters
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India's fightback wan't good enough

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Down and out, India hit back in the 54th minute, Gurwinder Singh Chandi latching onto a cross from Gurbaj Singh to score his first goal of the tournament.

Four minutes later, a terrific team effort ensured the hosts' their second goal.

Shivendra Singh, back from a two-match suspension, passed Sarvanjit Singh who in turn set it  up for captain Rajpal Singh to deflect the ball home and reduce the arrears to 3-2.

But the home side, despite many efforts, failed to find the equaliser.


Image: India's captain Rajpal Singh celebrates after scoring the second goal during their match against England

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SA crush Pakistan's semifinal dreams

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Pakistan slumped to their worst defeat in the tournament when a lowly South Africa stunned the Asian giants 4-3 in a must-win Pool B match to shatter their semifinal dreams.

Saturday's defeat was also Pakistan's first-ever loss at the hands of world number 13 South Africa in the international arena.

On the other hand, South Africa not only pocketed full three points in the tournament but also registered their first World Cup win since they defeated Belgium 5-4 in 2002.

Gareth Carr (38th minute), Ian Haley (42nd), Taine Paton (47th) and Marvin Harper (55th) scored for South Africa, while Rehan Butt (5th), Imran Muhammad (68th) and Waseem Ahmed (70+3) were the scorers for Pakistan.


Image: South Africa's players celebrate their third goal agaisnt Pakistan

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Australia move closer towards semis

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Australia continued with their impressive form after the initial hiccup and inched closer towards a semifinal spot beating Olympic silver medallist Spain 2-0 in a crucial Pool B match.

With this victory, Australia not only pocketed three vital points but also took revenge of their semifinal defeat at the hands of the Spaniards in Beijing Games.

Luke Doerner converted his sixth short corner of the tournament in the 20th minute and then Glenn Turner doubled the lead for the Aussies in the 60th minute.

The win almost assured Australia a place in the last-four stage and a draw against Pakistan in their last match on Monday would be more than enough for Ric Charlesworth's boys to secure their place in the semifinal.

Australia is in the most comfortable position in Pool B with a goal average 16 in their favour.

Spain, on the other hand, has no option but to win against England in their last match and then wait for the results of other matches of the pool.


Image: Luke Doerner celebrates with his teammates Hammond, Ockenden, and Butturini during their match against Spain

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