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Australia replace key player, other round-ups in hockey

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London Olympics
Men's hockey updates: The Australian hockey authorities have decided to replace star striker Des Abbott with Russell Ford, after the former failed to show sufficient recovery from his knee injury. Australian coach Ric Charlesworth said Ford is known for his terrific ball skills, athleticism and ability to score goals. The Kookaburras are one of the top favourites to win gold at the London Games.

Meanwhile, in Dublin where Belgium, Ireland and South Africa are playing a three-nations tournament ahead of the London Games starting later this month, South Africa beat Belgium 3-2 while tied with Ireland. On Thursday, Belgium drubbed Ireland 5-0.

Belgium is slated to play New Zealand on Tuesday and Wednesday. Prior to the Dublin tri-series, Ireland won the Celtic Cup defeating South Africa 4-2 and Scotland 6-3 while drawing with Wales 1-1. South Africa beat Wales 5-0 and Scotland 6-5 but its loss against Ireland cost it the title. South African coach Gregg Clark said his team was looking for that much-needed consistency.

Meanwhile, Germany has travelled to the Netherlands for a three-game series starting on Friday. The Dutch had lost to Great Britain 1-3 last Saturday. In Santander on Thursday, Spain played their first match on the blue turf against India and drew it 3-3. The two teams will meet again on Saturday and Monday.

In the women's section, after playing a three-game series against Belgium, Germany is set to host a four-nation meet in Bremen which will also feature Belgium, New Zealand and South Africa. The Netherlands defeated South Africa 5-0 in their first match on Thursday. South Africa, after playing their second match against the Dutch, will play Great Britain in London early next week, before heading for Bremen for the four-nations tourney.

It is also learnt that the Brazilian women's team were headed to the Netherlands for a training camp. Brazil will host the 2016 Rio de Generio Olympics and are already preparing for their first-ever appearance in Olympic hockey.

Most of the 24 teams slated to take part in this year's Olympic have either left for the European continent or will do in a couple of days. In Buenos Aires on Thursday, Argentine hockey superstar Luciana Aymar received the national flag from President Cristina Kirchner for she will be the flag-bearer for Argentina at the London Games.

OneIndia News

Story first published: Friday, July 6, 2012, 15:52 [IST]
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