In today's four-match day, which brought all teams to two matches played, Argentina and Spain both struggled in Johor Bahru against Belgium and England respectively, but bagged wins that take them to the top of their pools, while in Singapore, New Zealand and India split points and Australia defeated Japan 6:1.
In pool A, still reigning Junior World Champions Argentina booked a hard-fought win over Belgium to claim the table lead from Pakistan. Belgium played very well today and are hard done by by the result, but found the titleholders to have the self-confidence, patience and perseverance of true champions. After a goalless first half in which the Belgians had the better opportunties Argentina found the net in the second half through Agustin Mazzilli and twice Alan Andino for a 3:0 final score.
Pool C's Spain struggled likewise with England, not quite finding their rhythm and meeting fiercely determined opposition in the English squad who had rebounded nicely from the disappointing loss to the home team in their opening match. A pair of first half goals was sufficient however to carry the Spanish through. A late goal from a quick break after a wasted Spanish penalty corner yielded a goal for England in the 69th minute but it was too little too late, and Spain left the field with another three points collected.
Meanwhile in Singapore, pool B's Australia was shocked into attention by an early penalty corner goal from Japan's Ken Asakura, but rebounded fast to score six goals that Japan had no answer to. Japan's goalkeeper Arika Morishima made a string of great saves, trying to keep the score from escalating, but he couldn't ward off defeat. Australia thus take the lead in their pool, ahead of Germany on goals scored.
Finally, India and New Zealand met today for a potential key match in pool D, but ended up splitting the points in a 2:2 draw. India had the better chances, and probably should have won the contest but was held back by their lack of effectiveness, wasting scores of penalty corners and other prime opportunities. This result keeps both teams behind the Netherlands, vying for the elusive second place in this preliminary pool.
Follow our extensive tournament coverage including a live ticker from key matches, daily summaries, a photo gallery and video interviews at http://www.juniorworldcupmen2009.sportcentric.com.
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