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Argentina beat Pakistan to place in quarter-finals

BALBIR SINGH | November 29, 2021 12:26 AM

BHUBANESWAR: The last day of action in the pool matches of the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup produced more high scores and a memorable battle for the remaining place in the final eight between Pakistan and Argentina. The pool stages were brought to a conclusion with Germany showing their class with an exhibition of attacking, creative hockey against Egypt.

Quarter final action takes place on December 1 when Germany will play Spain at 10:30; Netherlands face Argentina at 13:30; France versus Malaysia at 16:30; and Belgium will play India at 19:30.

The competition so far has been notable for the high number of goals being scored in each match. Topping the goal scoring table at this point of the competition is Miles Bukkens of the Netherlands with 11 goals. Timothee Clement and Sanjay of France and India respectively are in second place with eight goals apiece.

Pakistan 2-4 Argentina (Pool D)

Argentina booked their place in the final eight with a tensely played victory over Pakistan. The game was high tempo and high quality with plenty of creative play on display, but it was the South American side who prevailed and made the most of their opportunities.

Argentina opened the scoring in the 10th minute through Bautista Capurro, and then it was goal for goal until Ignacio Ibarra put a fourth, decisive goal past Pakistan’s goalkeeper Waqar.

The result means Argentina take second place in Pool D and will face Netherlands in the quarter finals. Pakistan will play the USA in the classification matches.

Argentina’s Mateo Fernandez, who was voted Player of the Match, said: “I had expected a team that would be playing quite direct and attacking hockey, as they did. [For our next match] the Netherlands are also a team who will give everything to win the match. I think we have to play clever and also look for the win.”

Pakistan gave their all in this game, a point emphasised by Abdul Rana in a post-match interview: “We are sad that we lost and didn’t qualify for the quarter finals but this is not the end. You will see, Pakistan hockey will rise back, and soon. We have youngsters here with no international experience, but the way they played today, we see there is capacity. We’ll learn from our mistakes. We’ll bounce back soon.”

Korea 0-9 Spain (Pool C)

It was a relatively quiet first quarter as both teams took time to settle into the match, but a goal from Guillermo Fortuno; the result of a nicely flowing passage of play gave Spain the advantage going into the first break.

This seemed to galvanise the European side and goals then followed in rapid succession. There were two goals apiece for Ignacio Abajo, Pepe Cunill and Pau Cunill, with Eduard de Ignacio-Simo and Rafael Vilallonga completing the rout.

Speaking after the match, goal scorer and Player of the Match Ignacio Abajo said: “Our first objective was to qualify for the quarter finals. Looking at our performances in the pool stage, we had two easy matches, where we knew we had to score a lot of goals. Then the match against the Netherlands was really tough. [Today] our first half was very bad, the second one really good. So now we have to keep going.”

Spain finished second in Pool C, behind Netherlands, and so will face Germany in the quarter-finals. Korea will face Egypt in the classification matches.

Talking after the match, Korea’s Team Manager Yoo Moon Ki, said: “It was a very hard match today, especially physically. In this pool, we won one match and lost twice. Our players have gained a lot of experience. We will continue to do our best until the last match and the players will keep great memories from this tournament.”

Netherlands 14-0 USA (Pool C)

Miles Bukkens continued to wow the hockey world with another consummate display of attacking hockey. His five-goal haul included four scored from open play, demonstrating his unerring instinct for the target.

There were also hat-tricks for Brent van Bijnen and Luke Dommershuijzen as Netherlands swept away the determined, but sometimes naive, challenge of the USA team.

The results mean that Netherlands top Pool C and will meet Argentina, while USA will be facing Pakistan.

A buoyant Player of the Match Miles Bukkens said he felt the team had performed well in all the pool games and was pleased that they had conceded no goals so far. “We didn’t concede any goal again today. Scoring five goals today is perfect for me. My confidence is very high right now. I look forward to the quarter finals. We will work very hard, create a lot of chances and score many goals. We will win it.”

Jatin Sharma of the USA said: “Coming in, we knew that Holland was a really tough opponent. In the first half, I think we were there. Then, we were a little bit down. But still we had to try, no matter what. We need to play with that fight throughout the whole game. If we do that, we can get some results.”

Germany 11 - 0 Egypt (Pool D)

Having watched Argentina take all three points in the previous game, Germany knew they had to win their final pool match to ensure a top spot finish in Pool D. Head Coach Johannes Schmitz will be pleased by the way his team responded to the challenge as a fluid team performance saw the ball fly into the Egyptian net seven times before half time and a further four times to make the final score a convincing 11-0.

Benedikt Schwarzhaupt continued his fine tournament with two goals – impressive penalty corner shots that both flew high past the goal keeper Mahmoud Saleem. Masi Pfandt, Matteo Poljaric and Player of the Match Michel Struthoff also scored twice and Schmitz will be pleased to see seven different players on the score sheet.

Despite the scoreline, mention should be made of Egypt’s goalkeeper Saleem, who made courageous saves to break down several German attacks.

Germany’s Michel Struthhoff was Player of the Match, scoring two classy goals for his team. Speaking after the game he said: “Overall we did a good job. We had some tough moments but overall we did a good job. We will be playing Spain. This will be a good game against a good team. Now we will have a rest and do some preparatory meetings and we will be ready.”

Egypt’s Head Coach Abu-Talib Maggid said: “First of all, one part of the tournament is now done. Now we have another tournament of three games and we will take that one game at a time. We have learnt a lot because it was a tough pool and that is where you learn from the hard lessons.

“In the next matches, we need to be clever at keeping the ball and if we play smarter and reduce unforced errors then we will have different results.”

Egypt will play against Korea in the classification matches, while Germany face Spain in the quarter-finals on Wednesday 1 December.
Results

Korea 0-9 Spain (Pool C)

Player of the Match: Ignacio Abajo (ESP)

Netherlands 14-0 USA (Pool C)
Player of the Match: Miles Bukkens (NED)

Pakistan 3-4 Argentina (Pool D)
Player of the Match: Mateo Fernandez (ARG)

Germany 11-0 Egypt (Pool D)
Player of the Match: Michel Struhoff (GER).

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