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Japan beat Argentina to finish ninth

Japan's third appearance at the World Cup equalled its ninth place in the first World Cup in 1971.

india Updated: Sep 17, 2006 17:02 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

Japan defeated Argentina 2-1 to take ninth place at the men's field hockey World Cupon Sunday.

In an earlier match, South Africa were landed with 12th and last place after losing 0-1 to India.

Japan's third appearance at the World Cup equalled its ninth place in the first World Cup in 1971.

The Japanese earned its second penalty corner two minutes into the second half and a penalty stoke when Yutaka Bito's flick rebounded onto the foot of German Orozco on the goal line.

Kazuo Yoshida put his stroke low into the right corner of the backboards for his side's opener.

Rodrigo Vila flicked in a rebound off brother Matias' third penalty corner attempt to score the equaliser for Argentina 13 minutes before the end.

Japan counter attacked and needed the video umpire to confirm the winning goal by Kazuyuki Ozawa deflected into goal by Argentina's Captain German Orozco, 80 seconds from the final hooter.

"I am happy with the result today and especially finishing in ninth place in the tournament which is a fantastic result for Japan," said Akira Takahashi, Japan's coach.

The 11th place finish for India was the country's second worst finish at a World Cup after its last place in 1986 in London but one place behind it's 10th position finish four years ago in Kuala Lumpur.

Both teams made careless turnovers of possession in the first half and neither could capitalise on their penalty corner chances in the first half.

The mood changed when Raj Pal Singh dived at the right post to tip in Dilip Tirkey's fifth penalty corner chance after 54 minutes and India hung on to take the win.

"The boys came up well in the last game and have some good hockey left in them still," said Vasudevan Baskaran, India's coach.

"I am happy with the forwards who are doing quite well having scored nine goals in this tournament but we are still wanting in the penalty corner conversions," Baskaran said.

"Our performance yesterday against Japan and again today against India showed the inexperience of this team and we have now put together four losses in a row which is disappointing," said Paul Revington, South Africa's coach.

"We came in to this tournament test-match light which reflects the environment back home where we have difficulty getting the 30 or 40 test matches we need in the 14 months before a big tournament to give the players the experience they need."

First Published: Sep 17, 2006 17:02 IST