The final day of pool matches at the FIH Hockey5s World Cup determined which teams will go head-to-head in the quarter-finals of the women’s tournament on Friday.
The Netherlands, South Africa, India and Uruguay all topped their pools after going through the first two days of the tournament unbeaten.
The Netherlands will come up against Ukraine, Uruguay will play Poland and South Africa will take on Malaysia, while the last quarter-final will be contested between India and New Zealand.
Meanwhile, in the lower place playoff, which already kicked off on day 2 of the tournament, there were victories for Fiji, Namibia, Australia and the United States.
It was a one-sided affair as the Netherlands annihilated hosts Oman 21-1 in their opening encounter of the day. The Dutch took six minutes to find their first goal before the floodgates opened. Bente van der Veldt scored seven goals with Lana Kalse and Noor de Baat adding three goals each as they claimed top spot in the pool.
De Baat said afterwards: “It was a really nice game and a lot of goals so I think it was a good game for us and it was nice to play against Oman, the home country. They did really well.” As for facing Ukraine in the quarter-finals, De Baat added: “I think they are good players. They play a lot of Indoor and it’s a little bit the same so I think it will be a tough game and we will see how it goes tomorrow.
Malaysia came from behind twice in their thrilling 4-4 draw with Fiji in a match to decide who progressed to the quarter-finals. Although Fiji scored an early goal Malaysia were the better team throughout the first half and they equalised on the stroke of half-time. The second half made for riveting viewing, Fiji making a strong start and looking to be in control after scoring two quick goals. But the Fijians’ concentration dipped briefly allowing Malaysia to equalise again with two goals of their own in 20 seconds. The Malaysians then took the lead two minutes later only for Fiji to draw level within a minute. Fiji left nothing in the tank and were dead on their feet at the final whistle, but it was Malaysia who advanced to the quarter-finals thanks to their superior goal difference.
In the top of the pool clash it was South Africa who dominated the first half to set up a 6-2 win over Ukraine, with veteran Dirkie Chamberlain bagging a hat-trick. Ukraine will be disappointed with missing two open goals in the first half, but their two victories on the opening day mean they still advance to the quarter-finals.
South African rookie Teshawn de la Rey said afterwards: “To me it’s overwhelming, it’s my first World Cup and representing my country is always amazing… into the quarter-finals, we’re very excited but I think there is some technical and tactical stuff we need to work on and look at but I’m very proud of our girls and I think we can take on any challenge.”
At the bottom of the pool, Australia notched up their first win of the tournament with a 3-2 win over Zambia.
India were in full control as they beat Namibia 7-2 to claim top spot in the pool. Were it not for Petro Stoffberg’s stellar effort in goal and Taramarie Myburgh saving one on the line, the half-time score could have been much higher than 2-0. India ultimately cruised through to the quarter-finals and Namibia remain winless in the pool.
Commenting on coming up against New Zealand in their next match, Mahima Choudhary said afterwards: “We just know we’re going [into the quarter-final] and we’ll just play. We will do our best performance and focus on ourselves.”
Poland and the USA faced off for the last spot in the quarter-finals, with the USA needing a win to advance. Poland were simply too good, their 5-1 win securing second place in the pool and booking their spot in the last eight.
While the statistical position in pool D meant that all the teams started the day with a potential pathway to the quarter-finals, the matches played out as one might have expected.
There were some anxious moments as New Zealand fought back from a goal down to post a 2-1 win over Paraguay who took the lead after 12 minutes but failed to capitalise on their other chances. The Black Sticks Women came back better in the second half, equalising after 19 minutes and edging ahead just under 10 minutes later. Paraguay had a last roll of the dice with seconds remaining on the clock but Jayda Pawhau in the New Zealand goal made an excellent save to close out the match. Paraguay finished bottom in the pool and New Zealand had to wait on the result of the next match.
Uruguay delivered another clinical performance in their 11-1 rout of Thailand. Teresa Viana continued her prolific scoring with four goals, her reverse stick loop over the keeper being a contender for goal of the tournament. The result saw Uruguay topping the pool and advancing to the quarter-finals, taking New Zealand with them and relegating Thailand to third spot.
Camila de Maria said afterwards: “I feel tired, like the rest of the team, but pretty proud of the team that left everything and more on the field so very, very proud.”
With the pool matches wrapped up in the morning, the bottom eight teams started the 9th-16th classification matches.
Tiara Dutta contributed four goals for Fiji as they came from behind twice to beat Zambia 6-3, with Carol Nakombe scoring all three of Zambia’s goals. Namibia powered to a deserved 5-2 win against Thailand, Australia romped home 8-2 against hosts Oman, and the USA closed out the day with a 3-0 victory over Paraguay.
FIH Hockey5s World Cup, Oman – 25 January
Result: Match 17 (W)
Australia 3 – 2 Zambia
Result: Match 18 (W)
Ukraine 2 – 6 South Africa
Result: Match 19 (W)
Netherlands 21 – 1 Oman
Result: Match 20 (W)
Fiji 4 – 4 Malaysia
Result: Match 21 (W)
New Zealand 2 – 1 Paraguay
Result: Match 22 (W)
Thailand 1 – 11 Uruguay
Result: Match 23 (W)
India 7 – 2 Namibia
Result: Match 24 (W)
Poland 5 – 1 USA
Result: Match 25 (W)
Fiji 6 – 3 Zambia
Result: Match 26 (W)
Thailand 2 – 5 Namibia
Result: Match 27 (W)
Australia 8 – 2 Oman
Result: Match 28 (W)
USA 3 – 0 Paraguay
by Asia Hockey