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Hockey - Int News

HOCKEY - Int News 01 Jul, 2024

FIH updates World Hockey Rankings: Pakistan on 16th Position
Sports Bulletin ReportLausanne (Switzerland): The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has updated the world hockey ranking and the Netherlands is number 1 while Great Britain spotted second place. Pakistan is still crawling in the 16th position in the men’s ranking.In the women’s world rankings, Netherlands (3534) continue to be the dominant force at the top of the rankings. A second consecutive Pro League title, their fourth in the five seasons of the event, came after yet another excellent season where they won 15 out of their 16 games! Such is Netherlands’ dominance, that their 571-point lead over second placed Argentina (2963) is nearly as big as the 583-points that cover Argentina in second all the way down to China in eighth place on the world ranking table. Germany (2834), who achieved their best ever finish in the FIH Hockey Pro League as runners-up, are ranked third in the world, and look among the strongest contenders for a podium place finish in Paris 2024. Belgium (2771) in fourth and Australia (2743) in fifth are two more teams that had impressive ends to their Pro League seasons as they make a strong case for medal contention at the Olympics. England (2443) in sixth, Spain (2409) in seventh and China (2380) in eighth are separated by less than 65 points. Each of the three teams have shown they are capable of playing excellent hockey and it would not be a surprise to see them punch above their weight at Paris 2024. In the men’s world rankings, Netherlands (3069) continue to remain in the top spot, which they have held for nearly a year now. While Netherlands fell short of retaining their FIH Pro League title, their season was still littered with impressive wins as they finished second in the table. England (2986) have closed the gap to Netherlands in the world rankings but stay second in the standings following a title fight in the Pro League, before eventually settling for a third place. Belgium (2939) had an up and down season in the Pro League, but a final day win over Netherlands sees them climb into third place in the world rankings, ahead of FIH Hockey Pro League 2023/24 winners Australia (2921), who find themselves in the fourth spot. Less than hundred points cover teams between fifth and seventh places. World Cup winners Germany (2765) find themselves in fifth, followed by Argentina (2690), who had a much improved season in the FIH Hockey Pro League as they finished fourth, four places better than their previous campaign where they came close to getting embroiled in a relegation battle. A poor European leg of the Pro League saw India (2688) drop a lot of points in the Pro League as well as the world rankings, where they now find themselves in seventh, just two points behind Argentina. Spain (2365), eighth in the world rankings, lead a quartet of teams all headed to the Olympics. Hosts France (2241) find themselves in ninth, following an impressive showing at the FIH Hockey Nations Cup, where they finished as runners up. New Zealand (2219) were the winners of the Nations Cup, qualifying for the upcoming season of the FIH Hockey Pro League and round out the top-10 in the world rankings. Ireland (2043) found it tough going in their first Pro League season, but two late season wins against Belgium showcased the improvement in the side headed into the Olympics, as the eleventh ranked team in the world.

HOCKEY - Int News 29 Jun, 2024

Netherlands, and Belgium to host FIH Hockey World Cup 2026
Sports Bulletin ReportLausanne (Switzerland): FIH Hockey World Cup 2026 will be co-organised by Belgium and the Netherlands, as an official signing of the hosting agreement at a ceremony involving FIH President Tayyab Ikram, Dutch Hockey Association President Erik Klein Nagelvoort and CEO Erik Gerritsen as well as Belgian Hockey Association President Patrick Keusters and CEO Serge Pilet.The signing took place on the occasion of the FIH Hockey Pro League matches currently being played at the Wagener Stadium in Amsterdam, Netherlands, one of the two venues of the 2026 FIH Hockey World Cup, together with the stadium of Wavre, in Belgium, that is currently under construction. The 2026 FIH Hockey World Cup will combine the women’s and the men’s tournaments and will be played in the host countries’ summertime, from 14 to 30 August 2026.FIH President Tayyab Ikram said: “I would like to start with a heartfelt thank you to the Belgian and Dutch Hockey Associations and authorities for having committed to organising the next edition of the FIH Hockey World Cup - an event that will unite our best women's and men's teams from around the world in one big, fantastic joint event, 12 years after the last joint World Cup in The Hague, which was a spectacular success.The Hockey World Cup holds special significance as the global hallmark event of our sport, where the best hockey athletes show their talent and skill, and taking place every four years and between Olympic Games, it is also a great opportunity to witness the changing of the guard and see up-and-coming new contenders and emerging talents.The Netherlands and Belgium are two countries where hockey is alive and thriving, and will undoubtedly make this World Cup an outstanding spectacle that will be an event to remember, and the renovations planned at the iconic Wagener Stadium and the construction of a brand-new hockey stadium in Wavre ensure a lasting legacy for hockey for years to come. I look forward to working with the two countries' National Associations, together with the FIH professional staff, and supporting them to make this the best Hockey World Cup ever.So, I am pleased to invite all hockey fans from around the world to join us in Belgium and the Netherlands in 2 years' time to experience the incredible show that the local organisers will undoubtedly put together and the wonderful hospitality of our hosts, but most importantly of course, to see, to admire and to cheer for your heroes, the amazing athletes at the heart of our sport”.KNHB President Erik Klein Nagelvoort said: “We are delighted to host the combined Men’s and Women’s World Cup together with Belgium. We are looking forward to two weeks of great hockey in a packed Wagener Stadion in Amsterdam/Amstelveen in August 2026. Together with Belgium and FIH we are aiming for reaching millions of existing and new hockey fans both in Netherlands and around the world and to promote hockey better than ever before.”Hockey Belgium President Patrick Keusters is enthusiastic: “I’m really happy the hosting agreement with FIH is signed now. This means we can officially kick off the organisation of the biggest international hockey event ever organised on Belgian soil. Our new stadium in Wavre will be the theatre of world class hockey games, showcasing our sport, but also our event organising know-how to millions of Belgian and international spectators. I’m really looking forward to the collaboration with our friends and colleagues of the Dutch federation. I am convinced that together we will be able to put the “Lowlands” on the top of the world once again!”

HOCKEY - Int News 27 Jun, 2024

Australia prevail in Oceania to complete FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup
Sports Bulletin ReportLausanne (Switzerland): The 2024 Oceania Indoor World Cup Qualifiers came to an end with Australia men and women claiming the title, as both teams secured their spots at the upcoming FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup 2025, which will be played in Poreč, Croatia from 3-9 February 2025. With Australia's qualification, all 12 men's and women's qualification spots for the upcoming World Cup have been filled! In the men’s tournament, Australia came fast out of the gates in the first two contests. They took a 3 goal lead in the first half of the first game and scored 4 unanswered goals to start the second game. Although New Zealand battled back in both encounters, Australia won the games 5-3 and 4-2 to secure 6 out of the 9 available points to seal their qualification to the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup Croatia 2025. New Zealand won the third and final match 3-2, which showed how evenly matched the two teams were, but the three points they earned from it were merely consolation. In the women’s tournament, the opening game was a tense affair with both defences holding strong for much of the match. After three goalless quarters, Australia finally broke the deadlock in the 34th minute through a Kelsey Hughes goal and held on to that slender lead till the final whistle to take all three points. The second match was a much more entertaining affair as Australia scored early and held the lead twice but New Zealand bounced back both times to draw the match 3-3, and split the points, setting up a crucial final match to decide the World Cup qualification. New Zealand twice took the lead in the final game but Australia mounted comebacks both times and the third game ended with an identical scoreline to the second, with teams finishing tied at 3-3. Australia finished the event with 5 points while New Zealand settled for second place with 2 points, making it a double delight for Australia in qualifying for the upcoming FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup 2025. In the men’s tournament the teams competing for the title will be Croatia (hosts), Austria, Belgium, Germany and Poland (Europe), Argentina and Trinidad and Tobago (Pan America), Iran and Malaysia (Asia), Namibia and South Africa (Africa) and Australia (Oceania). In the women’s tournament challenging for the title will be Croatia (hosts), Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Germany, Poland and Spain (Europe), USA (Pan America), Thailand (Asia), Namibia and South Africa (Africa) and Australia (Oceania).

HOCKEY - Int News 11 Jun, 2024

India to Host FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup 2025
Sports Bulletin ReportLausanne (Switzerland): The Executive Board of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has awarded the organization of the next FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup to India. The tournament will be played in December 2025. It will be the first time the FIH Hockey Junior World Cup will include as many as 24 teams.FIH President Tayyab Ikram said: “Giving more opportunities to play to a larger and more diverse number of National Associations is one of the key pillars of our Empowerment and Engagement strategy. We saw at the FIH Hockey5s World Cup in Oman this year how more diversity brings a huge added value to our events. Therefore, I’m very happy that we’ve increased the number of participating teams for the FIH Hockey Junior World Cups and I look forward to seeing these 24 young teams, representing the future of our sport, next year! At this stage, I would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to Hockey India for their commitment to organise yet another fantastic event! »Dr. Dilip Tirkey, President of Hockey India said: "We're delighted that the International Hockey Federation (FIH) chose India to host the FIH Hockey Men's Junior World Cup 2025. We would like to express our sincere thanks to the FIH and FIH President Dato Tayyab Ikram for entrusting us with this tournament. This prestigious tournament highlights India's growing importance in international hockey and shows our dedication to developing the sport for future generations. We're excited to share India's rich hockey history and provide a stage for young talent to showcase their skills."Shri Bhola Nath Singh, Secretary General of Hockey India said: "Hosting the FIH Hockey Men's Junior World Cup 2025 is a significant step for us, and we appreciate the FIH's trust in us. This event offers a fantastic chance to bring hockey to even greater heights, inspiring a whole new generation of players and fans in India and globally. We're committed to making this tournament a memorable experience that celebrates everything hockey is about."It is important to mention that the last edition of the FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup took place in 2023 in Malaysia and was won by Germany.

HOCKEY - Int News 10 Jun, 2024

FIH Hockey Nations Cup 2024: New Zealand and Spain lift titles
ISLAMABAD (Sports Desk): New Zealand and Spain will have the opportunity to play in the FIH Hockey Pro League in the 2024-25 season after beating France and Ireland, respectively, to win the FIH Hockey Nations Cup. The final of the FIH Hockey Men’s Nations Cup Poland 2023/24 saw the Black Sticks win in a shootout. Spain won the FIH Hockey Women’s Nations Cup Spain 2023/24 in regulation time, having already defeated Ireland in the pool phase. (Men’s) Malaysia beat Austria (5-4): Malaysia concluded their FIH Hockey Men’s Nations Cup journey in Poland with a win, beating Austria 4-5 to finish seventh. The Speedy Tigers didn’t spare any time for the Austrians to settle down as Faizal Saari squared it for Abu Kamal Azrai to slot in after only two minutes. Saari got one for himself in the second quarter from a penalty corner in the 18th minute. The first effort saw a superb save from Austrian captain Fabian Unterkircher on the line but the retake was fired into the roof of the net.Austria pegged one back three minutes later as they found some rhythm. A penalty corner was upgraded to a penalty stroke and Fülöp Losonci made no mistake from the spot. However, they could not build on it as Malaysia got a penalty stroke that was fired in by Fitri Saari. A devastating start to the second half saw Faizal Saari grabbing a hat-trick with a thunderous strike in the 32nd minute, followed by a delicate one in the 33rd. Maximilian Scholz scored for Austria in the 34th minute from a penalty corner to blow the game wide open. The Malaysians were stunned and a lack of discipline saw Arthur Kucera finish a lovely team move with 11 minutes to go. Scholz got another one via a penalty corner in the 51st but that was it. (Men’s) Canada beat Korea (2-1): Canada’s top defensive performance helped them beat Korea 2-1 and finish fifth. The Red Caribou can arguably be considered the most improved team of the tournament in Gniezno. After leaking goals in the pool phase, the revival at the back has been admirable. With fifth place at stake, the Canadians had a strong start. In five minutes, Sean Davis served the first goal on a plate for Jude Nicholson. Two minutes later, defender Thomas Harris benefitted from a clearance to score Canada’s second. They had three more chances in the first quarter via penalty corners but couldn’t make it count. The Koreans began to play their usual game in the second quarter, but the defenders were not making it easy for them. The Canadian resistance was finally broken by Cheoleon Park in the 52nd minute. More chances came Korea’s way and Sean Davis chipped in at the back, with an on-the-line save from a penalty corner in the dying moments. In the end, it wasn’t meant to be as Korea finished sixth. (Men’s) South Africa beat Pakistan (4-3): South Africa won the bronze medal at the FIH Hockey Men’s Nations Cup in Poland after an entertaining 3-4 win over Pakistan. Conceding soft goals has been a problem for Pakistan throughout the tournament. The match to decide the third-best team in Gniezno also had one such incident. After a goalless first quarter that saw both teams creating chances, South Africa broke the deadlock in the 20th minute. It was a scruffy goal to let in after a failed clearance was slotted in by Samkelo Mvimbi.The lead did not last long as Abu Mahmood sent a penalty corner straight down the middle with two minutes remaining in the first half. The third quarter saw South Africa score a spectacular goal in the 34th minute. Matthew Guise-Brown’s penalty corner bounced off Abdullah Ishtiaq Khan’s gloves and Mustaphaa Cassiem jumped and smashed the ball in like a shuttlecock.  Abdul Rehman levelled the scores again within a minute. The final 15 minutes saw South Africa attacking with purpose. They were rewarded when captain Keenan Horner beautifully placed the ball to give them the lead in the 51st minute. That didn’t slow them down and Mustaphaa Cassiem added one more with two minutes to go. The sensational Hannan Shahid, who had a goal ruled out earlier, struck with a minute remaining but it was too little too late to make any difference. (Men’s) New Zealand 1-1 France (SO: 4-3): New Zealand beat France 4-3 in a shootout after the final finished 1-1 in normal time to win the FIH Hockey Men’s Nations Cup Poland 2023/24. A tight match was predicted as two sides heading to the Olympics in Paris were pitted against each other in the final. Winning the Nations Cup was not only about increasing confidence and morale but also about earning that prestigious ticket to the FIH Hockey Pro League next season.New Zealand and France respected each other and shared three quarters without a goal. That doesn’t mean there were no chances but both teams preferred the cautious approach. The Black Sticks had two penalty corners early in the game but it didn’t end in the back of the net. However, they went ahead after 53 minutes from Hugo Inglis’ brilliance on the right before finding Jonty Elmes, who volleyed it in. France hit back with three minutes remaining through the inevitable Victor Charlet, who fired in a penalty corner to send the game into a shootout.   (Women’s) Italy beat Korea (2-1): Italy scored at the death to break Korean hearts and bag a seventh-place finish at the FIH Hockey Women’s Nations Cup in Terrassa. Federica Carta and Co were asking plenty of questions in the first quarter, but it was the Koreans that found the back of the net. In the 12th minute, Sujin An and Eunji Kim combined for an excellent opener. The Italian attackers were kept at bay thanks to some brilliant saves from the Korean goalkeeper, also named Eunji Kim.The Italians deservedly got their equaliser, 39 seconds into the second quarter. Antonella Bruni scored from the rebound after an initial shot from Ivanna Pessina. In the second half, Italian goalkeeper Lucia Ines Caruso stood out. The Koreans had three penalty corners on top of other chances but Caruso made crucial saves to keep it 1-1. (Women’s) Japan beat Canada (1-0): Japan held on to win 0-1 and finish fifth in a game they dominated. It was one-way traffic from start to finish as Japan went for it with all guns blazing. The conversion rate, however, is a cause for concern as they head to the French capital for the Olympic Games.In total, the Cherry Blossoms had 13 penalty corners in the game and scored from one of them. It came in the 19th minute. Yu Asai’s shot couldn’t find a way in and as Rowan Harris tried to clear the ball, Kanon Mori lobbed it past her. Rowan Harris was easily the best player on the pitch for the Canadians, bringing out her A-game and preventing a hammering.(Women’s) Chile bear New Zealand (2-1): Chile won the bronze medal at the FIH Hockey Women’s Nations Cup in Spain with a 2-1 win over New Zealand, improving on their seventh-place finish at the previous edition. It was a wonderful way to say goodbye to captain and long-time international Camila Caram, who had announced her retirement. All three goals from the game were of supreme quality. The first goal came in the 41st minute when Josefa Salas received a pass from a long way out. With the keeper charging towards the striker, Salas controlled the ball brilliantly, before turning to her left and scoring into the bottom corner. Las Diablas had the momentum and scored one more from a well-executed penalty corner routine in the 53rd minute. Fernanda Flores started and finished the move, from an almost impossible angle. New Zealand did have their moment when Rose Tynan displayed sublime control in dribbling past a few players before lobbing it in. Sadly for the Black Sticks, it didn’t amount to anything. (Women’s) Spain beat Ireland (2-0): Spain defeated Ireland 2-0 to lift the FIH Hockey Women’s Nations Cup Spain 2023/24 in what was a straightforward final. Having already dominated against Ireland in the tournament opener, the Spaniards must have been high on confidence going into the final. Despite the loss, Ireland can be proud of how well they have recovered from losing 5-1 on the first day. The final saw both goals come in the second quarter. Laia Vidosa and Patricia Alvarez combined well to open the scoring in the 25th minute. The first half finished with a penalty corner from Lola Riera, which ensured she finished as the top scorer of the tournament. Ireland created chances from open play and also won two penalty corners in the third and fourth quarter but none of them made it past Clara Perez, who kept the clean sheet. Patricia Alvarez, who won player of the match, kept it short and sweet. She expressed her excitement to be playing in the Olympic Games and the opportunity to join the FIH Hockey Pro League next season. She said: “I am very happy and proud of this team.”Awards (Men’s Event):1. Poligras Magic Skill Award: Seyong Oh (KOR) 2. Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament: Arthur Thieffry (FRA) 3. Best Junior Player of the Tournament: Hannan Shahid (PAK) 4. Top Scorers: Victor Charlet (FRA) and Faizal Saari (MAS)5. Best Player: Nic Woods (NZL) (Men’s) Standings: 1. New Zealand, 2. France, 3. South Africa, 4. Pakistan, 5. Canada, 6. Korea, 7. Malaysia, 8. Austria, 9. Poland.Awards (Women’s Event in Terrassa): 1.Poligras Magic Skill Award: Kim Eunji (KOR)2. Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament: Brooke Roberts (NZL)3. Best Junior Player of the Tournament: Blanca Perez (ESP)4. Top Scorer: Lola Riera (ESP)5. Best Player: Lola Riera (ESP)(Women’s) Standings: 1. Spain, 2. Ireland, 3. Chile, 4. New Zealand, 5. Japan, 6. Canada, 7. Italy, 8. Korea.

HOCKEY - Int News 09 Jun, 2024

France to face New Zealand in final, Pakistan loss semifinal
Sports Bulletin ReportGniezno (Poland): France secured a ticket to the final of FIH Hockey Men’s Nations Cup Poland 2023-24 with a last-minute winner against South Africa in the semi-finals. They will play New Zealand for the top prize after the Black Sticks edged Pakistan.(Men’s) Austria 1-1 Canada (SO:1-3): Canada shocked Austria in the shootout to qualify for the fifth-place match after the game finished 1-1 in normal time. After conceding early goals in their previous games, the Canadians started slow, focusing on defence. However, it wasn’t that both teams didn’t create chances. Canada had their best 30 minutes since arriving in Gniezno but the score remained 0-0 after the first half.The Red Caribou opened the scoring in the end as Hudson Loh made a great run into the circle before a spectacular finish in the 38th minute for his first international goal. The Canadians were controlling the game better but with six minutes remaining, a penalty corner saw Florian Hackl equalise. The shootout saw Loh score the all-important goal along with Brendan Guraliuk and Roopkanwar Dhillon. Fabian Unterkircher scored the only goal for the Austrians. (Men’s) Korea beat Malaysia (4-3): Korean captain Jaehyeon Kim stole the show as they beat Malaysia 3-4 in a seven-goal thriller in Gniezno. The first quarter saw plenty of chances as two pacy sides went about their business but the scoreline remained 0-0. Fortunately, that was not a sign of things to come. The second quarter saw four goals starting with the Malaysians. Aiman Rozemi stole the ball from midfield and ran from the left before crossing towards Faizal Saari. The pass was blocked but the rebound fell kindly as the duo combined for Saari to tap in. Sung Yeob Kim made it 1-1 from a penalty corner before the Koreans took the lead through Inwoo Seo, who slid in at the far post to meet a Sunghyun Kim pass. The match became end-to-end as Saari got his and Malaysia’s second in the final minute of the first half. The goals were coming thick fast with Malaysia going ahead as Marhan Jalil squared one for Abu Kamal Azrai to tap in from a penalty corner in the 35th minute. Three minutes later, Dohyun Lim made it 3-3. Junking Rim put the Koreans in front, reacting smartly from a penalty corner in the 47th minute. However, the hero of the day was goalkeeper Jaehyeon Kim, who produced a brilliant penalty stroke save among other brilliant moments. (Men’s) France beat South Africa (2-1): France broke South African hearts at the very end to reach the final of the FIH Hockey Men’s Nations Cup in Poland. It took almost until the end of the first quarter to see France in full swing, creating some chances. The second quarter saw them step it up, winning a penalty corner in the 16th minute. However, it did not work in their favour and a quick and devastating counterattack involving Tevin Kok and Nqobile Ntuli ended with the latter scoring at the other end. The Olympic hosts continued to apply pressure but were not able to break a sturdy South African backline. The best chance for Les Bleus came when Timothée Clément took advantage of a rare defensive error from their opponents only to fire inches wide. After many attempts, a goal came out of nowhere when Gaspard Baumgarten deflected a pass that travelled with venom. The momentum from the goal meant that South Africa had to give it all as the French attacked. A flurry of penalty corners in the last minute of the game saw Victor Charlet find the gap in style.   (Men’s) New Zealand  beat Pakistan (2-1): New Zealand will face France in the final of the FIH Hockey Men’s Nations Cup after edging Pakistan 2-1 in the semi-final. New Zealand came into the game with a strategy, and it took only two minutes for the Black Sticks to go in front as Kane Russell fired an unstoppable penalty corner in. The confidence from the early goal meant that New Zealand was dictating the tempo.They got their second with four minutes remaining in the first quarter. Hugo Inglis did brilliantly on the right and found Jake Smith, who provided a sliding finish on the other side. Pakistan’s attacking flair has been a talking point of the tournament. However, they were not able to find that extra gear to score a goal in the first three quarters. Credit to New Zealand’s defenders, who had the discipline to find a solution for every problem that was thrown their way. The Green Shirts, however, managed to find a way as a lovely team move was finished by Ashraf Rana Waheed with five minutes remaining. But it wasn’t meant to be for Pakistan, who will now play in the third-place match against South Africa. 

HOCKEY - Int News 06 Jun, 2024

Nations Cup 2024: France and Pakistan seal semi-final spots
Sports Bulletin ReportGniezno (Poland): Pakistan, and France joined New Zealand, in the semifinals of the FIH Hockey Men’s Nations Cup Poland 2023-24 after playing out an 11 goal thriller here at Hockey Stadium Gniezno on Wednesday. Pool B saw France finish first, followed by Pakistan. Malaysia finished third after defeating Canada in the first game of the day.France beat Pakistan (6-5): France topped Pool B with a third straight win, beating Pakistan 5-6 in a nail-biter. The Olympic hosts turned on the heat from the word go and came prepared to exploit the weaknesses in Pakistan’s backline. It was Victor Charlet who broke the deadlock in the seventh minute. With a minute to go for the first quarter, Eliot Curty found Blaise Rogeau, who sent a rocket that bounced off the bar for their second. There was no coordination at the back as Gaspard Baumgarten made it 0-3 with seven minutes to go in the first half. Two minutes later, Charlet got his second through another penalty corner.For all their defensive frailties, Pakistan has been one of the most exciting teams to watch while attacking. One such attempt in the 26th minute led to a penalty stroke that was converted with ease by Abu Mahmood. Suddenly, the French were not as organised as they were before, allowing Pakistan to get under their skin. A penalty corner in the 29th minute saw Sufyan Khan’s initial shot saved only for Murtaza Yaqoob to score the rebound.The third quarter was all France again as Charlet delivered from the penalty corner yet again with an emphatic finish for his hat-trick in the 39th minute. Pakistan responded in the first minute of the final quarter thanks to Ashraf Rana Waheed who finished a superb ball from Amad Butt, who found him from a long way out. Pakistan continued to threaten Les Bleus and Butt was sensational in the build-up for the fourth, as Rehman Abdul made it 4-5 in the 52nd minute.Pakistan were all over France and a penalty corner in the 56th minute made it 5-5 as Hannan Shahid reacted quickly after Mahmood’s initial shot was saved. Everyone believed the comeback was complete, but Pakistan switched off and Charlet, who started the scoring, finished it with another penalty corner.Malaysia beat Canada (4-2): Malaysia got their first win of the Pool phase as they beat Canada 4-2 in Gniezno. They quickly set the tone for the game, scoring a field goal thanks to Fitri Saari smashing one in from the centre of the circle in the second minute. The second goal came four minutes later when Faizal Saari made a good run down the left before squaring it for Abu Kamal Azrai, who lost balance and fell as he fired in. A simple and beautiful penalty corner technique from Syed Cholan gave the Speedy Tigers their third goal in the 22nd minute.Canada started showing their aggressive side in the second half and were rewarded in the 41st minute when Rooopkanwar Dhillon’s powerful penalty corner snuck in. But the celebrations were short-lived as Muhajir Abdu Rauf’s shot was deflected off an unlucky Thomson Harris.For all their efforts, the Malaysians couldn’t keep a cool head and disciplinary issues almost cost them. Maansarovar Sidhu came up with a clever finish in the 51st minute to take advantage as Faris Harizan got a 10-minute yellow card towards the end of the third quarter. In the end, Malaysians came up with the goods to see off the game. 

HOCKEY - Int News 01 Jun, 2024

Nations Cup Poland: Green Shirts play a 4-4 draw against Malaysia
France, Austria, and New Zealand conquest on the opening day of Tournament Sports Bulletin ReportGniezno (Poland): France, Austria, and New Zealand registered victories on the first day of the FIH Hockey Men’s Nations Cup Poland 2024 after thrashing their opponents Canada, South Africa, and hosts Poland respectively at Hockey Stadium Gniezno, Poland on Friday.Malaysia 4-4 Pakistan: Pakistan came back from three goals down to draw 4-4 against Malaysia as the FIH Hockey Men’s Nations Cup began in sensational fashion. It was a one-sided first quarter in Gniezno, with Malaysia barely giving any time for a nervy Pakistan to settle down. The constant pressure led to the Green Shirts conceding a penalty stroke that was thumped in by Fitri Saari. Soon after, Abu Kamal Azrai made the most of an opportunity after Pakistan lost possession in midfield. Azrai’s delightful skill before a low and powerful finish doubled the advantage. Malaysia’s third came from a penalty corner from Faizal Saari. However, there was a lengthy video referral before the umpire judged in favour of the Speedy Tigers. Pakistan turned on the style in the third quarter, and pulled one back as Rana Waheed Ashraf’s mazy run and deflected shot was tapped in by Abdul Rehamn. They looked like a rejuvenated side after the first half, but an error in the 42nd minute led to a penalty stroke for Malaysia. Fitri Saari made no mistake and scored his second of the game. It was end-to-end as Sufyan Khan sent a rocket down the middle from a penalty corner to gain momentum back. With nine minutes to go, Pakistan scored their third after a scramble near the box as Hannan Shahid was the quickest to react. The silver medallists of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup earlier this year drew the game level in cinematic style with less than a minute to go. Desperate defending from Malaysia resulted in a penalty stroke that was converted with ease by Abu Mahmood. France beat Canada (4-0): Olympic hosts France began their journey in Poland with a comfortable win over Canada despite a slow start to the game. Both teams started on the front foot, and earned a penalty corner each early in the first quarter, but failed to convert. It was a recurring theme throughout the match with France unable to find the back of the net from nine penalty corners. The first goal came in the 25th minute as Les Bleus stepped on the pedal. The Canadian defenders were frustrating the French, but the deadlock was finally broken with a cheeky finish from Gaspard Baumgarten. The next three of their goals came in the final quarter, but the match provided plenty of drama as both sides missed penalty strokes. The miss from Canada was painful for the team as Brendan Guraliuk powered through the midfield, showcasing excellent dribbling skills before being brought down, only to be outsmarted by Edgar Reynaud from the spot.  The final quarter saw France apply pressure early on and it proved crucial as Baumgarten sent a pile driver from the left. His deflected shot was tapped in by Eliot Curty. In the 53rd minute, another penalty stroke favoured the French and this time, Victor Charlet made no mistake. A minute later, Curty did the hard work to set up Blaise Rogeau to seal the deal as the Canadians ran out of steam. Austria beat South Africa (4-3): Penalty corners was the name of the game as Austria joined the comebacks bandwagon against South Africa in an entertaining game. The start saw the higher-ranked South Africa show their class, going up only after four minutes. The lovely team goal started from the midfield as Nqobile Ntuli provided the final touch, falling backwards. They looked the better organised side in the beginning and underlined that with a well-taken penalty corner by Mathew Guise-Brown. What initially looked like a one-sided game switched almost instantly when a brisk counter-attack from Josef Winkler earned a penalty corner for Austria, emphatically converted by Julian Kaiser. The speed of play from the Austrians troubled their opponents, who looked like world beaters in the first five minutes, and another penalty corner in the 20th minute saw them level the scores thanks to Fülöp Losonci. Four minutes before the half-time, Maximilian Scholz gave the Austrians the lead. The confidence of taking the lead meant that they controlled the game soon after the restart. Drag flickers were giving South Africa a tough time and Scholz got his second of the game to put them in a comfortable position. While South Africa showed that they too could excel at penalty corners with yet another sublime finish from Guise-Brown, Austria did enough to hold on for a crucial win.New Zealand beat Poland (4-2): The hosts almost gave New Zealand a run for their money as they went down 4-2 in the last match of the day. It would be unfair to say that the home crowd didn’t play their part, but in the end, it was a small difference in quality that made all the difference for the Black Sticks.Brad Read read the game well and finished off a neat team move to give New Zealand the lead. The team from Oceania made it difficult for the Poles with some slick passing and Jake Smith doubled it at the beginning of the second quarter.The Poles failed to capitalise on a few counterattacks, but a penalty corner from Damian Jarzembowski brought some balance to the game midway through the second quarter. The experienced Kane Russell almost gifted the hosts an easy chance when he fouled Gracjan Jarzyński, but the resulting penalty stroke was put wide. New Zealand regained control of the game and Jonty Elmes and Simon Child put the result beyond doubt. The duo showed composure to score one each to leave the hosts to rue their missed chances.    

HOCKEY - Int News 28 May, 2024

Malaysia and Iran qualify for FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup 2025
Sports Bulletin ReportLausanne (Switzerland): The Men’s Indoor Asia Cup 2024 came to an end over the past week with Iran claiming the title following a stunning 7-1 victory over Malaysia in the final, as both teams secured their spot at the upcoming FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup 2025, which will be played in Poreč, Croatia from 3-9 February 2025. 8 teams competed in the Men’s Indoor Asia Cup 2024, in Taldykorgan, Kazakhstan from 21-25 May 2024. Iran, Thailand, Singapore and Tajikistan were placed in Pool A, while Malaysia, Indonesia, Kazakhstan and Oman were placed in Pool B. Iran, 8-time winners of the competition, were dominant in the Pool A, winning all their matches, with Thailand finishing in second place. In Pool B, it was Malaysia in the top place, followed by hosts Kazakhstan in second. The format of the Indoor Asia Cup 2024, saw the top two teams from each pool placed into one pool, for a second round-robin stage. Iran once again topped the pool with 2 wins and a draw. Malaysia finished second with one win and two draws. As the top-2 finishers in the second round-robin phase, Iran and Malaysia qualified for the final, and with two spots available from the competition for the upcoming FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup Croatia 2025, both Iran and Malaysia had qualified for the premier indoor hockey event. The final was a stark contrast to the pool stage match between Iran and Malaysia, which had ended in a 3-3 tie. Iran showed their championship mettle to run away with the contest, scoring four unanswered goals in the opening quarter, effectively putting the result beyond doubt. The final score ended up as 7-1 in the favour of Iran, who claimed their 9th consecutive Indoor Asia Cup title and will once again be among the top teams in the World Cup, where they became the first Asian team to snag a podium place with a bronze medal in the 2018 edition, and followed it up by another bronze medal performance in the most recent edition in Pretoria 2023. 

HOCKEY - Int News 18 May, 2024

Thailand women qualify for FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup 2025
Sports Bulletin ReportLausanne (Switzerland): The Women’s Indoor Asia Cup 2024 came to an end with Thailand claiming the title following a stunning 6-2 victory over Kazakhstan, and securing their spot at the upcoming FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup 2025, which will be played in Poreč, Croatia from 3-9 February 2025.As many as 9 teams competed in the Women’s Indoor Asia Cup 2024, in Chonburi, Thailand from 13-16 May 2024. Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Iran, Oman and Vietnam were placed in Pool A, while Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia and Singapore were placed in Pool B.Kazakhstan, 6 time winners of the competition were dominant in the Pool A, winning all their matches, with Malaysia finishing in second place and also qualifying for the semi-finals. In Pool B, winners of the previous edition of the competition, Thailand topped the table with a run of 3 straight victories, with Indonesia finishing second in the pool and qualifying for the semi-finals. In the first semi-final, Kazakhstan faced a stiff challenge from Indonesia, with the game tied at 3-goals apiece at the end of regulation time. But the Kazakhstan’s championship pedigree came in handy as they edged past their opponents in the shoot-outs to move on to the final. They were joined in the final by defending champions Thailand, who overcame a tough test from Malaysia, winning the second semi-final by a 2-1 margin. With just one spot available at the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup 2025, the final was a battle not just for the title and the gold medal, but also a winner-takes-all contest for a spot at the World Cup next year. While most fans anticipated a closely fought affair between the two top teams in the competition, the final unfolded very differently. Thailand were dominant in attack and watertight in defence, securing a huge 6-2 win to claim their second consecutive title at the Women’s Indoor Asia Cup and qualifying for their first ever FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup! Coach of the title winning Thailand team, Esfandyar Safaei, spoke with us after the tournament and said, “Really happy with this victory and upon qualifying for our first ever FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup. This is a busy year with the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in November, which we will use to prepare for the Indoor World Cup in Croatia in February 2025 and hopefully get the best result any Asian team has achieved in the competition.”
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