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India falter in final

Ipoh: India made a spirited fightback in the second half but failed to earn a direct berth in next year’s hockey World Cup as they lost the high-scoring summit clash 3-4 to defending champions South Korea, here, on Sunday.

India, who are virtually assured of a place in the World Cup to be held in Hague, the Netherlands, needed to win the tournament to secure a direct entry.

Korea’s fourth title win means Malaysia are certain to return to the World Cup after a gap of 12 years.

India will now have to wait till the conclusion of the Oceania Cup in November for the official confirmation of their participation from the FIH.

Both Australia and New Zealand have already made it to the World Cup through FIH World League.

Earlier on Sunday, Pakistan beat hosts Malaysia 3-1 to win the bronze medal at the meet. Pakistan, however, have missed the World Cup berth. They will not be playing in the World Cup for the first time since the introduction of the event in 1971.

The Koreans scored through Jang Jong Hyun (28th minute), You Hyo Sik (29th), Nam Hyun Woo (57th) and Kang Moon Kweon (68th). For India, Rupinderpal Singh (48th), Nikkin Thimmaiah (57th) and Mandeep Singh (64th) were the scorers.

India did a tremendous job in the second half, after going into the breather trailing by two goals.

But they eventually fell short as Korea eked out a hard-fought win and also got their revenge over the Sardar Singh-led side against whom they lost 0-2 in the pool stage.

“Obviously, I am disappointed with the result, but I am proud of the way the boys fought back. In the first half, we didn't play well. But in the second half we played outstanding hockey. We scored two fantastic goals,” India’s interim coach Roelant Oltmans said. (PTI)