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.