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Wednesday, 31 July, 2002, 16:57 GMT 17:57 UK

South Africa punish wasteful England

England 0-1 South Africa

South Africa reached the semi-finals of the men's hockey tournament as England were left to rue a hatful of missed opportunities.

Emile Smith's first-half goal against the run of play was enough to sink the host nation, who had a goal disallowed, hit the post and squandered a host of penalty corners.

"We probably missed 10 goals by about two inches"
Simon Mason
England goalkeeper

South Africa could have made life a lot easier for themselves but missed a penalty stroke in the closing stages.

That led to a frantic finale, with the home team throwing everything at their opponents in an effort to rescue the match.

But it was in vain and Michael Johnson admitted that England had been guilty of wasting too many chances.

"You only get a handful of chances against decent sides and if you can't takethem you are going to lose," he said.

"It is not pointing the finger at anyone, it is the whole team. We missedchances all over and it is something we need to work on."

England had dominated from the beginning and were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty stroke in the sixth minute.

Mark Pearn's effort was stopped by a South African body when it appeared to be going in, but only a short corner was awarded.

England failed to score from the resulting set-piece, a theme of the first half, when they had six penalty corners without scoring.

Jon Wyatt did find the back of the net but his shot was over the backboard.

England could not convert any of their 13 attempts on goal while South Africa scored from just about their only chance.

That came in the 29th minute when England midfielder Michael Johnson was dispossessed.

Gregg Clark quickly passed to Greg Nicol, who squared for Emile Smith to sweep in.

Woodwork struck

South Africa began the second half more strongly but soon found themselves on the back foot as England pressed in search of an equaliser.

Pearn and Danny Hall both went close but some inspired goalkeeping from Chris Hibbert kept South Africa's lead intact.

Even Hibbert was beaten by James Wallis' powerful strike but it hit the post.

When the rebound fell invitingly for Duncan Woods, he swiped and missed the ball completely.

At the other end, South Africa could have sealed victory when England captain Parnham illegally stopped Mike Cullen's goalbound shot.

But Nicol put his shot wide to leave England still in with a chance.

But they were unable to take advantage, Hall compounding their misery by missing a simple tap-in in the final minutes.

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