Hockey: Mason helps England to salvage win

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The Independent Online

England restored some pride after their disappointing World Cup defeat to Japan by claiming the scalp of the Olympic silver medallists South Korea in their final group game here yesterday.

Two first-half strikes from penalty corners by David Mathews gave a committed England side the early initiative and, as the Koreans tried to hit back following a half-time break extended to 35 minutes by a torrential storm, they found the goalkeeper Simon Mason in unbeatable form.

"It's a simple job when you get it right," Mason said afterwards as a series of acrobatic saves in a frantic second half partially atoned for the two goalkeeping errors which allowed Japan to register their first win over England. With a glimmer of a smile on his face, England's coach, Malcolm Wood, said: "I thought we showed real fighting spirit, guts and determination. But I still feel low as a result of that loss to Japan."

His side now go into the fifth-to-eighth places play-offs against Argentina tomorrow and require two further wins if they are to retain their place in the élite Champions Trophy in Cologne this summer. Australia play the Dutch and South Korea face Germany in the semi-finals.

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