The favoured teams have begun to pull away from the challengers after the second day of the Rabo Hockey Junior World Cup in Rotterdam.
Argentina, Australia, India, Korea, Netherlands and Pakistan are all unbeaten after two rounds with one match remaining before Pools A and D, and Pools B and C merge after Saturday’s round.
Full points heading into next week’s matches will provide those teams with a significant advantage over their opponents in the race for a spot in the semi finals.
England found their scoring touch with an overwhelming victory over Mexico in the day’s second match. Darren Cheesman and Simon Mantell scored three goals each as England boosted their goal difference with a 12-0 win, the equal biggest of the tournament so far.
Korea took the sole lead of Pool A with a tough win over Spain. The Koreans speed and the penalty corner threat posed by Jong Hyun Jang marks them as a team has a legitimate title chance. Their remaining match against England on Saturday will give a further indication of both teams’ relative strengths after both demolished Mexico by similar scorelines.
Pool B was headed for a major shock as South Africa took the lead twice in their match against Germany. However Germany somehow managed to conjure a goal in the second last minute through Richard Braun – his third for the match – to win the match and get their first points of the tournament.
In Pool B’s other match, Argentina scored in the second minute and it was enough to defeat Malaysia 1-0. Argentina is the only unbeaten team in Pool B and a win against South Africa in their final pool match on Saturday will give them a good chance of making it to the semi finals. South Africa meanwhile have to beat the Argentine’s in order to keep their tournament hopes alive.
Malaysia have a tough final Pool match against Korea but should probably advance to the next phase.
Australia was again scheduled in the first match of the day and their start was a replica of yesterday as they scored twice in the first five minutes to race to an early lead.
However Belgium regrouped and were willing to take the match to the Australians in an entertaining match. Colin Hennessy again found himself in the right position to score a hat trick, the perfect complement to his four-goal haul against Chile.
Pakistan struggled against a less illustrious opponent before finally sneaking through against Chile 2-1.
Pakistan’s two goals in the final three minutes of the first half was just enough. Chile suffered a huge loss to Australia on day one, but rebounded with a more purposeful performance that almost brought their first point of the tournament.
Australia and Pakistan meet on Saturday to determine the winner of Pool C before the top three teams merge with the leading trio from Pool B for the next phase of the tournament.
Chile and Mexico also meet on Saturday, with the winner to advance further in the tournament and the loser to enter the classification matches for positions 13-16.
India met strong resistance from Poland and although they never looked like losing the match, it was a lot closer than most expected. India dominated play and possession but lapses in concentration allowed Poland to exert second half pressure and almost snatch a draw.
In the final match of the day, the Netherlands posted another solid win, this time over Egypt 4-0.
Pool D mirrors Pool C, with favourites India and Netherlands both undefeated and set to meet on Saturday. The Dutch are the only team in the tournament yet to concede a goal but their defence will be presented with the biggest test yet against the Indians.
While both are guaranteed to advance to the combined Pool phase, the match is still vital because points earned in the first three matches are carried into the next part of the tournament.
The third representative from Pool D will be decided by the winner of Egypt and Mexico. Based on their performances in the opening two days, Egypt is heavily favoured to grab the remaining spot unless Mexico can find a way to stop conceding goals and start scoring them.
England 12 defeated Mexico 0
Goals: ENG – Richard Lane FG 9m, Darren Cheesman FG 13m FG 32m FG 44m, Simon Mantell FG 15m FG 21m FG 65m, Ashley Jackson FG 17m FG 48m, Waren D’Souza FG 26m FG 47m, Andrew Watts FG 62m
Korea 3 defeated Spain 1
Goals: KOR – Jong Hyun Jang PC 28m PC 52m, Young Jin Kim FG 64m; ESP – David Alegre FG 48m
Argentina 1 defeated Malaysia 0
Goals: ARG – Pedro Ibarra PC 2m
Germany 4 defeated South Africa 3
Goals: GER – Richard Braun FG 21m FG 51m FG 69m, Thilo Stralkowski FG 49m; RSA – Justin Reid-Ross PC 14m, Austin Smith FG 35m, Pierre-Gerard Gendenhuys PC 53m
Australia 7 defeated Belgium 1
Goals: AUS – Colin Hennessy FG 2m FG 35m FG 53m, Mark Knowles FG 9m FG 38m, Daniel Hotchkis FG 61m, Des Abbott FG 69m; BEL – Jerome Truyens PC 29m
Pakistan 2 defeated Chile 1
Goals: PAK – Yasir Islam FG 32m, PC 34m, Thomas Kannegiesser FG 47m
India 3 defeated Poland 2
Goals: IND – Prasad Gowdalli Mallappa FG 22m, Birendar Lakra FG 43m, Sandeep Singh PC 56m; POL – Piotr Rozek PC 38m, Karol Szyplik PC 66m
Netherlands 4 defeated Egypt 0
Goals: NED – Olmar Meijer PC 8m, Teun Rohof FG 14m, Pieter Welten FG 18m, Roderick Reinstra FG 55m
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