DELHI, India - Canada came within two minutes of upsetting New Zealand in men’s field hockey at the Commonwealth Games Sunday.
“It’s never been more painful, to be honest,” said captain Rob Short of Tsawwassen, B.C.
Gabbar Singh of Surrey, B.C. scored in the 19th minute. But New Zealand equalized when Hayden Shaw scored on a short corner, earning a berth in the Tuesday semifinal against Australia.
“We were here for the World Cup in March and people were saying we weren’t getting any respect and that we didn’t belong here,” said Jesse Watson of North Vancouver. “A performance like this proves we do belong.”
Canada, 1-2-1, finished the world tournament at Chand National Stadium in 11th place, but has a chance to end as high as seventh in the Commonwealth on Tuesday.
India, which embarrassed bitter rival Pakistan 7-4 on Sunday, plays England to determine the other finalist.
In women’s play, 1-0-3 Canada and 2-1-1 India meet Monday for fifth place. New Zealand and South Africa and Australia and Wales are in the semifinals.
Canada meets the New Zealand All-Blacks in a Monday morning rugby sevens match at Delhi University, then regroups to play Scotland and Guyana in the afternoon.
The Kiwis are the three-time defending Commonwealth champions and a favourite to win gold in the 16-nation tournament. Playoffs and the medal round are Tuesday.
Canada upset Wales in a consolation final at the prestigious Hong Kong Sevens in March.
Delhi 2010 organizing committee officials said Sunday the scoreboard that fell in the stadium has been repaired and that the tournament is sold out. Previous sellout announcements have been greeted with ridicule from the international media because of the overwhelming amount of empty seats at most venues.
Fast-paced rugby sevens debuts at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.