Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Aus, France book QF berths in jr hockey WC

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New Delhi: Australia and France made the quarterfinals of the FIH Junior Men’s World Cup after registering contrasting victories in their respective Pool B matches on Sunday at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here.

While Australia blanked Spain 2-0, France rallied to eke out a laborious 3-2 win over Argentina.

Captain Daniel Beale and Dylan Wotherspoon scored the two goals for Australia.

In the other Pool B match, Pieter Van Straaten, Theophile Ponthieu and Jean-Laurent Kieffer scored for France, while Estanislao Perez Pesado and Gonzalo Peillat hit the board for Argentina.

France had a chance with a penalty-corner first but they scuffed it and Argentina scored on a swift counter-attack that found Estanislao Perez Pesado scoring the goal in the 20th minute.

France came back in the 25th minute when Pieter Van Straaten netted the ball. They then quickly took the lead as Theophile Ponthieu scored in the 31st minute.

But Argentina came back on the buzzer with a penalty-stroke by Gonzalo Peillat, sending the two teams 2-2 into the break.

Jean-Laurent Kieffer gave France the lead in the 48th minute and the French managed to cling to their narrow lead, earning their second win in two matches and a quarterfinal berth.

Later, Asian champions Malaysia scored a narrow 2-1 win over South Africa to become the first team from Pool D to qualify for the quarterfinals.

Malaysia rode on an own goal (27th minute) and a second half strike from Firhan Ashari (43rd) to register the come-from-behind victory after Matthew Brown put South Africa ahead in the 13th minute.

In the other Pool D match, England and New Zealand settled for a 2-2 draw.

England scored two first-half goals through James Gall (14th minute) and Luke Taylor (27th) to race to a 2-0 lead at the break.

But the Black Sticks made a spirited comeback in the second period and pulled one back when Kane Russell converted a penalty corner in the 39th minute before Matt Rees-Gibbs (68th) scored a late equaliser to keep New Zealand in the reckoning.

South Africa, New Zealand and England are in with a chance to qualify for the knockout stage.

India will bring ‘best show’ vs Korea

India face a must-win situation in their last pool match against Korea if they wish to progress to the knockout stage of the Junior Men’s World Cup and the home team’s chief coach Greg Clark said his wards will give their best in the do-or-die game.

Both India and Korea are on three points each from two outings in Pool C, but the hosts need an outright result in their favour in order to qualify for the quarterfinals, whereas, a draw would be enough for the Koreans to go forward by virtue of a better goal difference.

“I have full confidence that the boys will do well in the next match against Korea like they did in the last match against Canada,” Clark said on Saturday.

“We will definitely put our best show (against Korea). We are still very much alive in the tournament” he insisted. (PTI)

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