Black Sticks men into hockey World League final

Last updated 05:02 18/01/2014

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The Black Sticks men advanced to the Hockey World League final after winning their second straight sudden-death shootout in India.

Phil Burrows' spin-move goal past England goalkeeper George Pinner in the 10th round earned the Kiwis a 7-6 shootout win, after scores were tied 3-3 after regulation time and 3-3 after the first five rounds of the shootout.

The result - two days after Colin Batch's side defeated Argentina 4-3 in the seventh round of the shootout and four days after losing 5-1 to England - sees New Zealand play the Netherlands in the final at 3.30am Sunday (NZ time).

Referring to New Zealand's poor start to the tournament, Batch said: "A lot of people will be surprised to see us in the final.

"We are doing well on shootouts, it was the difference between winning or losing. The shootout lasts so long because the players are technically good and the goal keepers are getting better and better. Devon Manchester was outstanding."

In the shootout, the sides remained level after the first five attempts, although Kiwi netminder Devon Manchester had two chances to put the result away.

With England shooting first as the shootout went to sudden-death, Hugo Inglis, Simon Child and Steve Edwards each made critical goals after England makes. In the seventh round of the shootout, after Manchester had poked the ball away on an England attempt, Blair Hilton missed a wide-open cage, which would have won the match.

Manchester forced England's Harry Martin wide in the 10th round, getting a glove on a shot to force it wide, before Burrows finished it off.

"It was pretty disappointing the first time we played the English and credit to them, they're a really good team," man-of-the-match Simon Child said. "But we knew we were better than that 5-1 scoreline. We're a young team but we're growing in confidence and getting better and better with every game."

Earlier, the Black Sticks certainly started more dangerously, winning four penalty corners in quick succession but Pinner made some sharp saves to keep the ball from the back of the net.

The England defence was breached finally by Marcus Child (12'), who fired a hard shot home from wide of the goal. New Zealand were unlucky not to double that scoreline when an unmarked Simon Child hit the side netting.

England bounced back through after Harry Martin (23') dived full-length to score from a cross from Mark Gleghorne.

The second half was saw a lot of end-to-end action, with both teams playing expansive hockey. Both teams rely on strong defence and quick counter attacks, making it a physical match between two sides.

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It was England who took the lead when Gleghorne (49') fired home from the right-hand side of the circle. But New Zealand refused to give up and continued with their attacking style of play, stretching the England defence. The Black Sticks were rewarded with two goals in quick succession, firstly from Stephen Jenness (61') and Hugo Inglis (62').

Ashley Jackson (64') scored England's equaliser after Barry Middleton was fouled en route to goal.

- Stuff

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