Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sports News (09.03.2010)


Last day for league matches today
NEW DELHI: Defending champions Germany would look for an outright win against New Zealand in their last pool A match on Tuesday to book a semi-final berth in the hockey World Cup.

Germany played their best game of the World Cup on Sunday against European rivals the Netherlands in their 2-2 drawn match after beginning the tournament with a draw against a plucky South Korea.

The Maximillian Muller-led side made a remarkable comeback after one-goal deficit before veteran Dutch captain Teun de Nooijer denied them a victory which would have booked them a semi-final spot.

On current form, the Germans should not have much problem to beat New Zealand but they can't be complacent against a side, which had beaten South Korea.

With eight points -- from two wins and two draws -- Germany will reach the semi-finals with even a draw against New Zealand (six points) if the Netherlands beat South Korea (seven points).

But they would not want to leave it to the Dutch-Korea match and would want to do it by themselves.

German captain Muller said they would look to maintain their standard against Dutch to qualify for the semi-finals.

"We are looking forward to playing same hockey (as displayed against the Dutch) against New Zealand. We are in a good position to make it to the semi-finals," he said.

German coach Markus Weise said his young team has displayed their best hockey of the World Cup against the Dutch and would go for a win against New Zealand.

"I am very happy with the performance (against the Netherlands). It was our best game of the tournament so far. Our goal is to reach the semi-finals which is not certain. We will have to win against New Zealand," he said.

Three-time champions the Netherlands are almost assured of a semi-final spot after three wins and a draw. With a goal difference of 11, they may be in trouble only in case they lose by five-goal margin against Korea on Tuesday.

Unbeaten so far, the Dutch would like to end their pool engagements on a high with a win though the plucky Koreans would go all out.

The Koreans can also still go through if they beat the Dutch and New Zealand draw with or beat England in the second match of the day.

The last game of the day -- between Canada and Argentina -- would be of just an academic affair. Canada, yet to open their account, are almost certain to end at the bottom of Pool A and play for the wooden spoon classification match even if they beat Argentina (three points) on Tuesday.

Canada have minus 20 goal difference and they have to beat Argentina (goal difference minus four), who had defeated New Zealand on Sunday to record their first win, by 16-goal margin to finish fifth in the six-team pool.

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