Saturday, June 20, 2009
SUNDAY: Final -- Netherlands v Germany (7.30pm, Johor); Third-Fourth: New Zealand v Australia (5pm, Johor).
THE stage is set for an all-European final tomorrow in hockey's Junior World Cup at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru.
The Germans were tied 2-2 with Australia but took the first chance that they received in the sudden-death to break Aussie hearts.
The Oceania teams -- Australia and New Zealand -- will batle for the bronze.
Germany got off to a cracking start when they took a 2-0 lead. Florian Fuchs shook Australia with an 18th minute field goal, and Patrick Schmidt made it 2-0 with a penalty corner effort in the 27th minute.
Australia, energised by Kleinschmidt's goal, drew level in the 44th minute when Matt Ghodes deflected in a cross, and took the match into extra-time sudden death.
The Germans soaked up the pressure before Fuchs struck in the fourth minute of extra-time when he received a deft pass and beat goalkeeper Leon Hayward.
At the Sengkang Hockey Stadium in Singapore. New Zealand played their hearts out and by half-time, Simon Child's 22nd minute goal was enough for them to plan for a better second half against the Netherlands.
But the Dutch had other plans and in the 39th minute, Jan-Willem Buissant equalised with a field goal and Mink van der Weerden made it 2-1 with a 60th minute penalty corner attempt.
The Dutch won another penalty corner in the 62nd minute, and Mink broke New Zealand's resistance with another sizzling flick. The floodgates became open, and Robert Kemperman made it 4-1 for the Dutch in the 65th.
Asian teams Pakistan and South Korea kept their structure in the classification to finish fifth and seventh respectively.
Pakistan beat former champions Argentina 4-1 at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium while South Korea made amends for their poor show in the pool matches when they edged Spain 4-3 to finish seventh.
THOUGH Malaysia failed to meet the target of reaching the semi-finals of the Junior World Cup and are reduced to fighting for 11th place today with Belgium, Johor HA president Tunku Majid Sultan Iskandar will propose to the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) that K. Rajan be retained as Juniors coach.
"I took him in to coach the Juniors when I was the president of the MHF, and back then, even I was worried that this bunch of Juniors could become better players in time for the World Cup.
"But Rajan has done an excellent job and the Johor HA will propose to the MHF council to offer him a contract to train the next Junior World Cup team," said Tunku Majid.
Rajan was the third coach hired to train the Juniors after two others quit because the boys were in such poor shape that beating Singapore was also an uphill task.
Last year, Tai Beng Hai, who is now coach of the national senior team, quit the Juniors team after they went on a losing spree of 30 friendly and tournament matches.