Friday, August 16, 2013
South Korea gets first bite..
THE International Hockey Federation (FIH) confirmed yesterday that if Argentina win gold in the ongoing Pan American Cup, the South Americans will also take South Korea into the World Cup.
Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) vice-president Manjit Majid Abdullah said: “FIH CEO Kelly Fairweather confirmed in a conversation with me that if Argentina win gold in the Pan American, South Korea will qualify for the World Cup.
“After that, it is Spain’s turn followed by Malaysia.”
This came about after South Korea finished fourth in the World League Semi-finals in Johor Baru while Spain were fifth in the World League in the Netherlands.
Malaysia also finished fifth in Johor, but as Spain are higher ranked than Malaysia, they will get the first bite at the pie.
“Argentina are on fire in the Pan American now, and should win the gold with ease. After that, the Euro Championships start (Aug 17-25) and we will know if Spain make the grade from there.
“Spain can even finish fifth in Euro and still qualify as in that continental championship, Belgium, Germany, England and Netherlands have qualified for the World Cup.”
And if Spain qualify by reaching the semi-finals before Aug 24, Malaysia need not break sweat in the Asia Cup on Aug 24- Sept 1 in Ipoh, as their place is cemented by the Oceania Cup which will run from Oct 30-Nov 3.
New Zealand and Australia, both of whom who have qualified for the World Cup, will only be playing for ranking against each other in the Oceania Cup.
“So Argentina need to start the ball rolling with a win, and before the start of the Asia Cup, we will know if Malaysia have also qualified for the World Cup,” said Manjit.
In the Johor World League, the top three qualified for the World Cup --- Germany, Argentina and England.
And in the World League in Netherlands; Netherlands, Belgium, Australia and New Zealand made the grade to the World Cup.
And going by Argentina’s current form in the Pan Amer ican, only if they do not show up for the semi-finals or final, will the gold medal go to another team.
Argentina, in Group A, have hammered Mexico 13-0, United States 8-0 and Uruguay 29-0 to sail into the semi- finals of the Pan American Cup.
They will play Trinidad and Tobago, who in Group B had beaten Brazil 5-2, Chile 5-1, and lost to Canada 3-1.
Canada and United States square off in the other semi- finals.
But the best route for Malaysia, who last played in the 2012 Kuala Lumpur World Cup, is to win the Asia Cup gold in Ipoh and make the grade with flying colours.