Monday, June 8, 2015

Top eight confirmed in Buenos Aires

Spain, Korea and Japan join the Netherlands, New Zealand, Germany, Argentina and Canada in the quarter-finals at the Argentina Hockey World League Semi-Final in Buenos Aires.

Argentina are back on top of pool B. The Leones defeated the Olympic champions Germany in an entertaining match with 4-3 thanks to a late goal from FIH rising star Gonzalo Peillat. Spain beat Austria 4-1 to secure a top four position in the pool. Earlier, Nick Haig’s last-minute goal had secured his Blacksticks a 1-1 draw against the pool A leaders from the Netherlands with Egypt missing out on the knock-stage after a 7-3 loss to Korea.

Match 13: Egypt v Korea 2-7 (2-2)

Egypt, who lost their first three matches in Buenos Aires, were fighting hard to avoid another defeat but their effort has not paid off. The Egyptians kept the match open for quite some time, but Korea eventually sealed the 7-2 victory in the last quarter.

Captain Amr Elhady opened the scoring on 8 minutes but the advantage was short-lived. Korea recovered quickly and equalised in the same minute through a penalty corner goal from Nam Hyunwoo before turning the score around with a beautiful field goal from Jang Jonghyun (13’). Egypt struck back through Mohamed Essam (26’) before halftime to level the contest at 2-2 at the break.

Hamad Atef (34’) put Egypt ahead 3-2 but Korea responded 10 minutes later when Nam (44’) scored from a penalty stroke. However, the Koreans saved their best performance for the last quarter, adding more goals through Lee Namyong (46’), Lee Jung Jun (50’), Kang Moonkyu (57’) and You Hyosik (58’) - the 7-3 win demonstrating their superiority.

Match 14: New Zealand v Netherlands 1-1 (0-1)

Nick Haig’s last-minute strike secured New Zealand a thrilling 1-1 against the Netherlands. As the match finished tied, both teams remain unbeaten at the Argentina Hockey Champions Trophy in Buenos Aires with the Dutchmen leading the pool because of the better goal difference.

The first half of action in Buenos Aires didn’t see many scoring opportunities for either side. However, the current Olympic and World Cup Silver medallists were first on the scoreboard when Jeroen Hertberger (21’) netted following a beautiful pass from Robbert Kemperman.

New Zealand worked hard to come back and the effort paid off when they won their first penalty corner with two minutes remaining. Nick Haig (60’) took responsibility and scored. The Black Sticks were close to adding another goal but a second penalty corner taken by Nick Hayward went wide. 

Match 15: Austria v Spain 1-4 (1-3)

Spain have qualified for the quarter-finals of the Argentina Hockey World League in Buenos Aires after beating Austria 4-1 in a key encounter. The world’s number 22 finished bottom of pool B having lost all four matches. Austria will now play off in Thursday’s 9th/10th classification match against Egypt.

The match started with high intensity and both teams enjoying possession. Spain won an early penalty corner which was superbly converted by Pau Quemada (6’) after the ball was deflected from the post. Andres Mir (17’) doubled the lead at the beginning of the second quarter before the Austrians pulled one back through a penalty corner goal from Dominic Uher (26’).

Xavi Lleonart (29’) added another penalty corner goal just before halftime to secure a convincing 3-1 lead at the break. In the third quarter Quemada (43’) increased the Red Stick's lead to 4-1. Austria fought hard in the last quarter but could not bridge the gap.

Match 16: Argentina v Germany 4-3 (2-2)

Argentina maintained their unbeaten streak on home soil at the Argentina Hockey World League Semi-Final in Buenos Aires. The Leones defeated the Olympic champions Germany in an entertaining match with 4-3 thanks to a late goal from FIH rising star Gonzalo Peillat. Argentina are now back on top of pool B.

The Leones were on fire in the first quarter scoring on 8 and 13 minutes. Pedro Ibarra put Argentina ahead with a penalty corner goal before Juan Gilardi doubled the lead with a penalty stroke goal. The Olympic champions leveled the score to 2-2 before halftime thanks to goals from Florian Fuchs (21’) and Christopher Zeller (24’). Zeller received a superb flick from Martin Häner and started a solo run to score a beautiful equaliser.

Play got hectic towards the end with both sides looking for the winner in the sold-out CeNARD stadium. Peillat put his Leones ahead 3-2 when he converted a penalty corner on 53 minutes. However, it took Germany just one minute to strike back through a penalty corner goal from Tobias Hauke (54’). The game-winning goal arrived with two minutes remaining. Argentina won another penalty corner which was fired home by Peillat to secure the 4-3 win.

#HWL2015 #RoadToRio

Malaysia's 18 Olympic hopefuls...

NATIONAL chief coach Tai Beng Hai finally named his final 18 for the World League Semi-finals, with three players having less than 30 caps.
  The WL Semifinals, on June 20-July 5 in Antwerp, Belgium, is an Olympic Qualifier with the top-four assured of making the trip to Rio de Janeiro next year.
  However, the young trio ahve played in many international tournaments before and are not wet behind the ears.
  Meor Azuan (29 caps), Shahril Saabah (29 caps) and Haziq Shamsul (17 caps) will carry a heavy burden of making sure Malaysia do not miss the Olympics again -- a platform the country last played in Sydney 2000.
  "Although the three have very few caps, they have played in the World Cup, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games before and they made the squad on merit," said Beng Hai.
  Haziq, Meor and Shahril played in the last Junior World Cup in New Delhi where Malaysia finished fourth, while Shahril also played in the Netherlands World Cup. Meor has also played in the Commonwealth Games.
  Malaysia are in Group B with China, Ireland, Great Britain and Belgium. While in Group A are Australia, Pakistan, India, France and Poland.
  Only four teams from each group play in the quarter-finals, and Malaysia must beat China and Ireland (their first two games) to be in a comfortable position and avoid Australia in the last-eight if they want to play in Rio de Janeiro.
  China are already in Europe playing friendlies, and yesterday they beat France 3-1. India also left for Europe yesterday.
  "We will leave for Europe on June 14 and play a few friendlies with the Dutch under-21 side as well as Brazil for warm-up and acclimatisation.
  "On China who are our first opponents, I believe they have improved much but still, we will be looking for our opening three points against them on June 21," said Beng Hai.
  And Malaysia have plenty of rest after China, as their next match against Ireland is three days away -- on June 25.   And Malaysia have plenty of rest after China, as their next match against Ireland is three days away -- on June 25. Malaysia play Belgium the next day and Great Britain on June 28.
  Controversial striker Faizal Saari, who went Awol for a month after the Singapore World League Round Two, was given another chance by the new management in the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC).
  He was not included in the Australian and Europe Tours, but Beng Hai said his fitness level is still good.
  "We did a fitness test on Sunday, and all the 18 showed good results," said Beng Hai.
  MALAYSIA: S. Kumar (gk), Roslan Jamaluddin (gk), Baljit Singh Charun, Razie Rahim (captain), Izwan Firdaus, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Faizal Saari, Izad Hakimi, Marhan Jalil, nabil Fiqri, Azlan Misron, Firhan Ashaari, Shahrun Nabil, Sukri Mutalib, Faiz Helmi, Meor Azuan, Shahril Saabah, Haziq Shamsul.