Day Five of the Men’s Junior World Cup saw the final games of both Pool C and Pool D play out in vastly different ways.
Pool C saw two high-scoring games round off the table convincingly and without complication. Spain’s third win, an 8-2 victory over Korea, saw them top the group unbeaten, whilst India’s ruthless 10-1 overwhelming of Canada pushed them into second, with two wins and a loss. Korea found third, with one win and two losses, whilst Canada stuck to the bottom spot with a pointless campaign.
Pool D was more closely contested. After the Netherlands handed New Zealand their third loss of the tournament with the game finishing 3-1 to the Dutch,, the second game in the pool had the potential to shake up the standings. Pakistan had the chance to top the group with a win and a good chunk of goal difference, and Belgium would take second place if they won. With the game vital to both teams, they eventually settled for a draw, leaving Belgium third and Pakistan second, a point ahead of their opposition.
The final standings mean that the Netherlands push into a quarter-final game with India, whilst Pakistan will match up against Spain.
Match 1: Korea vs. Spain (2-8)
In a game where one goal often brought two, Spain’s goal scoring proved too ruthless for the Koreans. In just the fifth minute, Spain scored their first, a converted penalty corner which was then promptly joined by another corner goal a minute later. These were Spain’s only converted corners of the game, but that did not slow the scoring rate as the first field goal went past the Korean defence in the fourteenth minute. Korea were awarded a penalty corner in both the first and second quarter, but it was too little too late, as Spain had scored three more before Korea managed to take advantage of their second penalty corner to bring the score to 6-1. Two more Spanish field goals in the third quarter put the game genuinely out of reach for Korea and meant that their 58th minute field goal was a true consolation.
Pablo Espino’s two third-quarter goals, just three minutes apart from each other, finished the game and earned him Player of the Match. He said after the game that “We are so happy [and] so proud for our team, we know that the quarter-finals will be difficult and we are focussed on them.”
Match 2: Netherlands vs. New Zealand (3-1)
The Netherlands managed to make the top spot in Pool D all but theirs as they beat New Zealand 3-1. It was a game that could have been far more emphatic though, as New Zealand received four first-half cards, including a yellow one for James Nicolson. Two wasted penalty corners in the first quarter left the Netherlands reliant upon two field goals in the second quarter to give them a decent lead. Another Dutch field goal early in the third-quarter put the game out of reach for the junior Blacksticks, despite scoring their first goal of the tournament two minutes later. The game stayed in the hands of the Netherlands right until the final whistle.
Match 3: India vs. Canada (10-1)
Like so many other games so far in the tournament, India’s huge win over Canada featured a frenzied display of goal scoring. A relatively quiet first two quarters saw India 3-1 up at half-time. A field goal in the eighth minute had opened the scoring for India before they converted two of their five first-half penalty corners. Canada found the net for a second time in the tournament, but it served only to snap the Indians into action. The second half was a fairly devastating onslaught, as three field goals were scored across the 42nd and 43rd minute, before the final quarter saw four more fly into the Canadian goal. Two in the 51st minute preceded two final field goals which slammed the game closed.
Two field goals from Ajrun Aditya Lalage were well worthy of the Player of the Match award. Before being handed his award, he commented that his team “learnt from our mistakes against Spain and tried to not repeat those mistakes in this game. We will give our 100 percent in the next game.”
Match 4: Pakistan vs. Belgium (1-1)
A game upon which Pool D hinged, it was always going to be a fiercely tense contest. Belgium did not shy from the big occasion, winning and scoring a penalty corner in the third minute. The game reached a slight deadlock through the remainder of the first half, with Pakistan failing to capitalise on two penalty corners. In the 42nd minute, Pakistan clinched back a vital goal in the context of the tournament as they netted a penalty corner. With neither side managing to break the tension to find a winner, the game ended 1-1, sending Pakistan through in second place.
To see the current pool standings after Day 5, click here.
To see the full match schedule, click here.
FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup Malaysia 2023 – 09 December 2023
Bukit Jalil National Hockey Stadium, Kuala Lumpur
Result: Match 21
Korea 2-8 Spain
Player of the Match: Pablo Espino, Spain
Umpires: Nick Bennet, Great Britain – James Unkles, Australia
Result: Match 22
Netherlands 3-1 New Zealand
Umpires: Hideki Kinoshita, Japan – Tim Meissner, Germany
Result: Match 23
India 10-1 Canada
Player of the Match: Arjun Aditya Lalage, India
Umpires: Benjamin Peters, USA – Bevan Nichol, New Zealand
Result: Match 24
Pakistan 1-1 Belgium
Umpires: Zeke Newman, Australia – Nazmi Kamaruddin, Malaysia
by Asia Hockey