England surprise Pakistan 1-0 to finish fifth
Monchengladbach, Sep 17 (UNI) England muffed five penalty corners and several chances but managed to pip Pakistan 1-0 to take the fifth place in the hockey World Cup here last night.
The all important goal, which pushed Pakistan to the sixth place, was scored by Martin Jones three minutes before the final hooter (1-0).
James Tindall stole the ball from a casual Pakistan skipper Muhammad Saqlain to set up Martin Jones, poaching in the striking circle to fire past bewildered custodian Nasir Ahmed.
England dominated the encounter with Alistar Wilson and James Tindall leading the charge. The Pakistani defence worked overtime to keep the marauding rival attackers at bay.
England had more possession of the ball and the Pakistani midfielders were not able to feed their forwards adequately.
Shakeel Abbasi and Rehan Butt made solo efforts which were foiled by the strong rival defence.
The Pakistani forwards looked incoherent and none of their attacks was able to unsettle the English defence while the counter attacks rattled the former champion's defence.
Realising the futility of solo moves, Pakistani forwards tried to earn penalty corners for their specialist Sohail Abbas.
English defence was quick to read through the tactics and they changed their game plan. They cut off the attacks well outside the circle and thus Pakistan could earn only one penalty corner in the 52nd minute and that went abegging.
England also could not make use of the five penalty corners they earned though they tried a couple of variation after Richard Mentell failed to score.
However, they struck just before the final whistle, when Pakistan defence committed a fatal error and that proved the Asian powerhouse's undoing.
The win, however, did not help England make it to the Champions Trophy because as per the new rule, four teams -- defending champions (Holland), Olympic champions (Australia), world champions and the host country (Pakistan) -- get the straight entry into the six-nation elite tournament along with other top two teams of the World Cup. Thus, the 2007 Champions Trophy to be held in Lahore will have Australia, Germany, Korea, Holland, Pakistan and Spain.
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