Germany cemented their place in the final of the Japan Olympic Qualifier by defeating the host nation 4-0. It was a controlled performance by the world number 1 side, with goals coming from Philip ZELLER and Moritz FUERSTE, with two penalty corner strikes coming from the stick of Christopher ZELLER. Earlier in the day Malaysia kept alive their hopes of a place in the final by defeating Switzerland 4-3. Malaysia now need victory over the host nation on Saturday to seal their birth in Sunday’s final, with Japan needing just a draw to progress. In the other fixture played on Day 4, Italy were soundly thrashed by a Poland side who produced their best hockey of the tournament to win 6-0.
Full details of all today’s matches can be found below.
Match 10 – Malaysia v Switzerland: 4-3
Malaysia overcame a good performance from Switzerland to win 4-3, keeping alive their chances of qualifying for Sunday’s final. Goals from Muhd Razie ABD RAHIM (2), Boon Huat CHUA and Kevinder Singh MAKBUL SINGH helped to secure all three points from the match.
The first half was not dominated by either side, although it was Malaysia who went into half time as the team ahead. Muhd Razie ABD RAHIM scored with a neat deflection to give Malaysia the lead in the 15th minute, but moments later Thomas GÄHWILER equalised with a simple tap-in. Boon Huat CHUA re-established the lead for Malaysia just before half time with a superb effort that flew into the roof of the net. Six minutes after half time Kevinder SINGH MAKBUL SINGH scored Malaysia’s third, after his team had dominated the opening period of the second half. In the 51st minute Ismail ABU had the chance to move Malaysia into a 4-1 lead with a fantastic chance at the top of the circle, but blazed his shot over the cross bar when he should have done better. Malaysia had further chances to kill of their opponents with excellent chances from Boon Huat CHUA and Tengku Tajuddin TG ABDUL JALIL, but the opportunities were wasted. Thomas GÄHWILER pulled a goal back as the end of the match drew near, picking up a brilliant reverse stick pass from Ulrich BERGMANN to score. However, Malaysia dominated the second period and it was Muhd Razie ABD RAHIM who scored the vital goal with five minutes left to play. Philip KELLER scored a consolation overtime penalty corner for Switzerland, but Malaysia were deserving winners in this contest.
On Saturday, Malaysia will play Japan in their final match of the round-robin phase of the tournament, with Switzerland facing Italy.
Match 11 – Italy v Poland: 0-6
In the second match of Day 4, Poland produced their best display yet to thrash Italy 6-0. Poland dominated the first half, and deservedly took the lead in the 16th minute through Tomas CHOCZAJ after great work from Darius RACHWALSKI. Tomasz GORNY made it 2-0 when he was left unmarked in the circle and finished with ease. Poland could easily have scored on many more occasions, and would have done were it not for some excellent goalkeeping from Albert MARCHI. Italy went close five minutes before half time when Massimo LANZANO hit the post from a penalty corner, but Poland made it 3-0 when Marcin STRYKOWSKI deflected the ball into the goal. A brilliant goal from Tomasz MARCINKOWSKI made the score 4-0 in the 37th minute, firing a spectacular reverse stick shot inside the post from the left hand side of the circle. Poland’s Robert GRZESZCZAK and Marcin GROTOWSKI were guilty of missing some excellent chances in the second half, but the team never looked likely to throw away such a significant lead. They eventually added to the score with seven minutes left to play through Marcin GROTOWSKI, thanks to a clever pass from Tomasz CHOCZAJ. Marcin STRYKOWSKI completed the rout with three minutes left to play, lifting the ball over substitute keeper Francesco MITROTTA.
The result moves Poland onto six points, giving them a boost in confidence ahead of Saturday’s clash with Germany. Italy will face Switzerland in their final match of the round-robin phase of the tournament.
Match 12 - Germany v Japan: 4-0
Germany guaranteed their place in the final of the Japan Olympic qualifier by defeating the host nation 4-0. The first half was an even contest, but Japan had the best of the early opportunities to open the scoring, with Hiroki SAKAMOTO and Kazuyuki OZAWA going close. In the 13th minute Kenta TANAKA had Japan’s best opportunity of the first half, when he fired straight into the pads of Christian SCHULTE with the goal at his mercy. It was a chance that they would regret missing. Germany eventually won a penalty corner, and Philip ZELLER scored after the initial strike was saved by Shunsuke NAGAOKA. Japan worked hard to get back into the match, but Germany looked very much in control for much of the latter stages of the first half. Second half was much more one sided, with Germany raising their game to score three unanswered goals. Moritz FUERSTE smashed an unstoppable drive into the corner from the right hand side of the circle before two powerful penalty corner strikes from Christopher ZELLER sealed victory for Germany.
Japan need to secure a result against Malaysia on Saturday to take a place in the final of this competition. Germany will face Poland on Saturday, in a match that is likely to be used as preparation for Sunday's Final.
Tomorrow is a tournament rest day, with the action resuming on Saturday 12th April.
Malaysia v Switzerland: 4-3
MAS – Muhd Razie ABD RAHIM FG 15m
SUI – Thomas GÄHWILER FG 15m
MAS – Boon Huat CHUA FG 35m
MAS – Kevinder SINGH MAKBUL SINGH 41m
SUI – Thomas GÄHWILER FG 64m
MAS – Muhd Razie ABD RAHIM FG 67m
SUI – Philip KELLER PC 70+m
Italy v Poland: 0-6
POL – Tomas CHOCZAJ FG 16m
POL – Tomasz GORNY FG 26m
POL – Marcin STRYKOWSKI FG 33m
POL – Tomasz MARCINKOWSKI FG 37m
POL – Marcin GROTOWSKI FG 63m
POL – Marcin STRYKOWSKI FG 67m
Germany v Japan 4-0
GER – Philip ZELLER PC 21m
GER – Moritz FUERSTE FG 49m
GER – Christopher ZELLER PC 62m
GER – Christopher ZELLER PC 65m
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