Pakistan fight to avoid wooden spoon


Pakistan slumped to their fourth Champions Trophy loss in five matches with a 5-0 mauling from Germany Saturday, leaving the Green Shirts in a fight with South Korea to avoid the wooden spoon. In the other Pool D match, the Koreans squandered a 2-0 lead to go down 4-3 to Great Britain.
The world number two Germans steamrollered Pakistan, who failed to build on a promising 6-2 win over South Korea in their previous match at the last major tournament for men’s hockey before the London Olympics.
“The Germans played the game of the tournament, they did not make mistakes,” Pakistan team manager Khawaja Junaid said of the reigning Olympic champions.
“We tried to hold them but they played at top pace with long bounces and (pressure) coming from both sides. It’s clear there’s still a difference between Pakistan and Germany.”
Pakistan, making their first appearance at the Champions Trophy since 2007, will face South Korea on Sunday in a Pool D match to determine the bottom two places at the eight-nation tournament.
Despite Saturday’s loss, and Pakistan’s failure to secure a top five spot that would ensure qualification for the next tournament in Argentina, Junaid said he was not disappointed with his team’s campaign in Auckland.
He said his players had gained valuable exposure to top international teams ahead of the Olympics and he expected Pakistan’s world ranking to rise from nine to seven on the back of their Champions Trophy showing.
Junaid said Pakistan were capable of matching the top teams in patches but lacked consistency, with players trying to turn a match through individual flair, rather than sticking to the game plan.
“You could say they make emotional errors,” he said. “When we were down 2-0 (to Germany) they’re thinking ‘now I have to intercept the ball and score’. So instead of keeping to his zone, he’s trying to overdo it.”