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Smith’s men go down

South Africa went down fighting in their first match of the men’s hockey World Cup in New Delhi, India on Sunday.

Ranked 13th in the world, Austin Smith’s men went down 4-2 to Olympic silver-medallists Spain.

It took just 16 minutes for the South Africans to shock Spain, Julian Hykes netting for the outsiders. But the world’s third-ranked side hit back immediately with goals through Roc Oliva and David Alegra and by the 21st minute SA trailed 2-1.

But South Africa made sure they went into the break on level terms when Ian Haley scored off a penalty corner rebound.

After the interval Rodriga Garza put the Spaniards 3-2 in front before Pau Quemada made it 4-2 from a penalty corner. The South Africans can feel aggrieved about the awarding of the corner as replays showed that there had been a legitimate tackle from the South Africans.

South African now play England in their next Group B match while Spain take on Pakistan. Both matches are on Tuesday.

The other teams in the group are hosts India and Australia.

Group A is made up of defending champions Germany, the Netherlands, Argentina, Canada, South Korea and New Zealand.