It was a day that sprung few surprises in Malaysia, as the final games from Pool A and Pool B fell the way that many would have expected to decide the final rankings in each pool. The games from Pool A consisted of some fairly convincing results for both Australia and Argentina. Defending Champions Argentina punched another stamp of confidence onto their campaign as they beat Chile 8-0, resigning the Chileans to their bottom spot, with the Argentinians finishing on top of Pool A. In the other game, Australia finished their pool stage with a 5-2 victory over Malaysia to decide second and third place. Having only lost to Argentina so far, the Australians fell into second place, whilst the tournament hosts rested in third.
France’s high-octane back-and-forth win over South Africa kept them top of Pool B, continuing their perfect record in the tournament so far. Elsewhere in the group, Germany registered a more convincing 10-0 win over Egypt, forcing themselves into second place, leaving Egypt last with no points and South Africa settled in the third-place spot.
South Africa vs. France (4-5)
The most action packed game of the day saw nine goals scored in the first half as France beat South Africa 5-4. With the starting buzzer still ringing in South African ears, France netted two field goals in the first four minutes. The game then found some relative calm, before South Africa sparked it into frantic life yet again with a field goal reply in the 14th minute. France then converted a penalty corner a minute later to put themselves 3-1 up, before South Africa scored their own penalty corner within the same minute.
With the score at 3-2 going into the second quarter, punches did not stop being thrown by either side. South Africa wrestled the score back to 3-3 in the 21st minute, a goal that was answered a minute later by a French field goal to restore their lead. Three minutes of peace was interrupted by Cameron Le Foriester’s second field goal of the game, which equalised the game once again. France then took two minutes to find their fifth goal, the final one of the quarter, the half and the game. Two wasted penalty corners from South Africa in the third quarter, followed by France failing to convert one in the final quarter, left the game at 5-4, France managing to just about extend their blisteringly early lead to the final buzzer.
Player of the match, Mathis Clément, called it a “super hockey game” where his team “fought well” to win.
Germany vs. Egypt (10-0)
Despite Argentina’s 8 goal winning margin, the most destructive game of the day was won by Germany as they put ten goals past the Egyptian team. The Germans, clearly intent on one-upping their quarter-final opponents, scored with brutal regularity. With two goals coming in each quarter – other than the second which saw four breach Egypt’s goalline – Germany rounded off the pool stage in a remarkable manner. Even leaving five penalty corners unconverted, the Germans still scored five corners and five field goals to reach their impressive ten.
The Egyptians did manage to win two penalty corners, one in each of the third and fourth quarter, but could not take advantage. Nikas Berendts’ hat-trick was not enough to win him player of the match as Florian Sperling’s two field goals earned him the award.
After the game, Sperling commented that it was an “early morning game, tough game – the heat is so intense – but I think we did the easy things right [and] we did them with high intensity. In the last quarter they had no more stamina so we won and I’m very happy.”
Argentina vs. Chile (8-0)
Argentina continued their faultless pool stage in Kuala Lumpur as they thrashed Chile 8-0. The Chileans made a decent effort of damage control across the first three quarters, managing to keep the score to only 3-0 at the end of the third quarter, however, the final quarter saw the floodgates open. The defending Champions scored five more times to reach 8-0, with Cappuro Bautista’s hat-trick the highlight of an impressive goal-scoring performance.
Argentinian captain, Inaki Minadeo, focussed his attention very quickly towards their quarter-final match against Germany, a repeat of the last tournament’s final. He commented “I feel very happy. We are proud of the team and now we have to prepare for the quarter-finals with Germany. It will be a very difficult match, but we have to play as we do and we’re prepared.”
Australia vs. Malaysia (5-2)
Australia stamped their authority early on in their final group match against Malaysia, as they found themselves 3-0 up at the end of the first quarter. Two converted penalty corners and a field goal left Malaysia with what proved to be too much to do in the final three quarters. Even when Malaysia managed to claw a goal back in the 21st minute, Australia’s reply, six minutes later, reasserted their three goal lead.
Similarly, in the third quarter, Malaysia’s 44th minute field goal made it 4-2 before the Australians found their three-goal lead again just a minute later from a successful penalty corner. The game finished 5-2 as Australia maintained the lead they established right from the first quarter, with goals coming from Cooper Burns, Geddes Cambell and Jake Lambeth, the latter two finding the net twice each.
To see the current pool standings after Day 4, click here.
by Asia Hockey