It’s Day 7 here in The Hague, Netherlands at the Rabobank Hockey World Cup. The first match up for today in Pool A saw Belgium put out a spirited Spain team. Tanguy Cosyns buried two penalty corners for Belgium while Spain fought until the end under the leadership of captain Santi Freixa. India edged Malaysia 3-2 thanks to a two-goal performance from Akashdeep Singh. England and Australia was at (16:00 CET).
MEN Pool A: Spain v Belgium 2-5 (0-3)
In a feisty game that saw three yellow cards, five goals and an interminable number of referrals, Belgium cemented their reputation as a goal-scoring nation with a 2-5 win over a battling Spanish team.
Proving that they are not a one-man scoring team, Tanguy Cosyns, Alexandre de Saedeleer and John-John Dohmen all got their names on the score-sheet, with Cosyns scoring twice, both times spectacularly well-taken penalty corners. Although Spain scored two late consolation goals in the 58th and 66th minutes, through Eduard Tubau and captain Santi Freixa, the match was already beyond them.
MEN Pool A: India v Malaysia 3-2 (1-0)
Akashdeep Singh scored two superb second half goals to help India claim a 3-2 win over Asian rivals Malaysia in front of yet another big crowd at a sun-drenched GreenFields Stadium. The result gives India their first win of the tournament and takes their Pool A tally to four points, moving them up to fourth place in the standings. Malaysia sit at the bottom of the pool and remain without a point.
MEN Pool A: England v Australia 0-5 (0-3)
The game was just 24 seconds old when Australia opened their account against England in the third pool B match of the day. Matt Gohdes took advantage of a turnover by GlennTurner and slammed the ball past George Pinner in the England goal to signal the start of a 5-0 demolition job that left England stunned and demoralised.
In the Women’s event:
WOMEN Pool A: Korea v Belgium 4-2 (1-1)
A game in which Korea’s top scorer Park Mihyun rediscovered her form was nearly overshadowed by a controversial start to the second half as the Belgium team were not on the pitch when the whistle blew. A race between the Korea forwards and the Belgium team saw all the field players race to the circle, followed a few seconds later by goalkeeper Aisling D’Hooghe. Fortunately for the Belgium side, Korea did not capitalise on that occasion. Less fortunate for Belgium was the fact that Korea’s inspirational forward Park Mihyun opened her World Cup scoring account with two goals, and two more goals from the excellent Cheon Eunbi saw Korea win 4-2 to take all three points.
WOMEN Pool A: Japan v New Zealand 1-4 (0-1)
New Zealand kept alive their slim hopes of reaching the semi-finals of the Rabobank Hockey World Cup courtesy of a 4-1 triumph over Asian Champions Japan in the GreenFields Stadium. Anita Punt netted twice in the contest as the Black Sticks claimed their second win of the tournament and moved onto six points in Pool A, three points behind frontrunners the Netherlands and Australia, who play each other in this evening’s showpiece match in the Kyocera Stadium. A win for either the host nation or the Hockeyroos would keep New Zealand very much in the running, while a draw would end New Zealand hopes of reaching the semis.
WOMEN Pool A: Australia v Netherlands 0-2 (0-0)
On a day when the big guns needed to perform, the Dutch superstars were found wanting for the first 55 minutes of the game. Uncharacteristic errors across the pitch and two Maartje Paumen misses at penalty corners kept the capacity crowd on the edge of their seats. It took an absolute gem of a shot from Kelly Jonker, which was just tipped in by Kim Lammers, and a fine sole effort from Naomi van As to secure a 2-0 win over a hugely competitive Australia team.
Pool-play action continues tomorrow, 8 June, with USA playing Germany (14:30 CET), England facing Argentina (16:00 CET), and China playing South Africa (17:30 CET). For schedules, scores, highlights and more visit www.rabobankhockeyworldcup2014.com
Photograph: The traditional exchange of pennants between captains Santi Freixa ESP and Jerome Truyens BEL (FIH/Frank Uijlenbroek (c))