The hosts India crashed out of the Hockey World Cup 2023 after losing to New Zealand in a sudden death 4-5 at Kalinga Stadium on Sunday.
India failed to qualify for the Hockey World Cup 2023 quarter- tests as the hosts lost to New Zealand in the shootout 4- 5 of the must-have- palm crossover match at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar on Sunday.
The brigades played out a 3- 3 draw at full- time, taking the match into the shootout. India and New Zealand were tied at 3- 3 in the shootout as the match entered unforeseen death, where New Zealand reserved their spot in the quarter- tests with a 5- 4 win over India.
At nearly 20 nanosecond- mark of the penalty shootout, Leon Hayward baffled Shamsher Singh’s first attempt, pushed down the shot from a answer and was scrabbling across to throw his body as the Indian looked to have one last go. But the hooter went off and India was out in the crossovers. The cheers and hisses of,000- plus at the Kalinga Stadium were drowned out.
What Hayward describes as ‘ the biggest moment of his hockey career ’, was a agony to forget for the prejudiced locals. Hayward threw his stick, took off his gloves and hit an awkward- looking griddy, a popular cotillion move. Indeed before he could complete his ploy, his onrushing New Zealand teammates climbed each over him.
Hayward was the star of the penalty shootout. Amateur- position and semi-pro hockey players have had moments to flash back this World Cup, but the 32- time-old Hayward’s feat will presumably be talked about for some time to come.
The accountant from Auckland, who plays hockey in his ‘ spare time ’ made five saves out of eight penalties after the 3- 3 draw in regulation time, during which he was sat on the bench for the wholeness of it. Starting ‘ keeper Dominic Dixon had done his part before with five saves in limiting the fancied Indian attack.
And to make the moment sweeter, he was in a goalkeeping dogfight with P.R. Sreejesh, who he looked up to. “ The whole experience of being in India and playing against India is really special. Sreejesh is someone who I like a lot and followed what he has done. So this is presumably the biggest moment I’ve had in hockey, ” Hayward tells Sportstar. “ I was gon na say hello to Sreejesh and( Krishan) Pathak but also I was too nervous, to be honest, and I was trying to not be sick actually(laughs). it was a big moment. ”
Hayward had come on in the alternate half of all the Pool games and began on the bench again on Sunday. “ It was enough delicate, ” says Hayward, on switching into match mode after full- time “ But I had done my schoolwork and I was riveting on the notes I had made. That’s where I was feeling my confidence come from, knowing I had prepared for this situation, indeed if it hadn’t happed. ”
Hayward has had plenitude of jobs over the times in finance and coaching in hockey over the times before landing a full- time part at Finnz Chartered Accountants in Waikato. “ So that’s my day job( accountant) and this is what I do( hockey) on my spare time, which is enough crazy. But if they’ve any HIL(Hockey India League) contracts ready and come knocking, I’m ready to come over, ” he says.
Hayward calls it a demanding job where he works and also plays hockey 10- 15 hours a week, which is n’t the same quantum of time as a professional player. “ When you have to work as well, it gets enough delicate to put that time away, ” he says.
“I’m lucky to have a veritably flexible employer. When I’ve time to go down there for a week, I’ll spend the week with them, other times I might do 3- 4 hours a day. Other times they’re enough good with me to let me swindle around with my hockey. Without them, I don’t suppose that would be possible. I’m lucky to have two amazing heads, Greg and Alan, down there. The whole platoon is really caring and understanding of my situation and my dreams, ” Hayward added.
Hayward is the aged family of Australia transnational protector Jeremy, who scored a chapeau- trick in Kookaburras ’ opening game. Leon turned out for Australia too in 2014 before he moved to New Zealand in 2019 and made himself available for Black sticks through his mama ’s lineage. His mama Ellie was a hockey player too.
His parents had flown down to Bhubaneswar to watch Jeremy in action but surprised Leon by turning up in Rourkela for the platoon’s match against Chile the coming day. On Sunday, they were in the daises in Bhubaneswar to watch Leon have his moment for New Zealand.
‘Little family ’ Jeremy’s Australia, too, has progressed to the knockouts and the possibility of facing his stock in a World Cup is commodity Leon says he’d love to witness. But before that, defending champion Belgium awaits next for New Zealand. Know More News…