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Four teams remain undefeated at the Rabo Hockey Junior World Cup at the end of the first Pool phase in Rotterdam.
India, Korea, Australia and Argentina enter the next stage with maximum with points after all won their third successive match today.
Today was the completion of the first Pool phase, with teams battling not only to make it through to the medal rounds, but to maximise their points before the combination of Pools and matches against new opponents.
At day’s end, the top three teams from each of the four Pools below progressed to the next phase. Pool A and Pool D combined to form Pool E, while Pools B and C combine to form Pool F. The teams that finished fourth in Pools A, B, C and D combine form Pool G.
Teams take forward the points earned against the other qualified teams from their Pool and will now play the remaining teams not from their original Pool to complete five preliminary round matches.
The top two teams in each six-team Group at the end of this phase of the competition will progress to the semi-finals. The winners of the semi finals will contest the final.
In day three action, Korea did enough to win against England with two goals in the final six minutes edging them past their Pool A opponents in the final match of the day.
After falling behind to a Jong Hyn Jang penalty corner drag flick - his seventh of the tournament – England responded well with a Richard Lane hat trick in the space of 11 minutes before half time.
However England couldn’t sustain their first half form as Korea took advantage of their opportunities to steal the match win Pool A.
The loss might come back to hurt England. Although they finished in the top three in their Pool, they go through to the next stage with zero points and will need a dream run through the remainder of the preliminary rounds to have a chance of semi final action.
In Pool A’s other match, Spain easily accounted for Mexico, with three goals in each half more than enough to subdue the Pool’s bottom team.
Argentina finished top of Pool B and recorded their second 1-0 win in a row, this time against South Africa. Argentina again took and early lead and held on to secure their third win and subsequently win the Pool.
It’s was the South African’s third one-goal loss in succession and with a little more luck, they would be contesting the medal rounds instead of being assigned to the Pool playing for the 13-16 classifications.
The other Pool B match was frantic as Germany outlasted a fast-finishing Malaysia. Germany led 4-1 at half time and looked like recording a huge win.
However Malaysia found their fighting spirit and began to claw their way back into the match on the stick of penalty corner marksman Zulkifli Mohd Rejab, who ended with four.
Seven goals were scored in an amazing second half as Malaysia surged closer to the Germans. However just as it looked like the tide would turn in Malaysia’s favour, Germany settled and eventually took the match 7-5.
Australia showed good determination to come back from a mixed first half to sneak past Pakistan 3-2 in an entertaining clash. Australia was guilty of trying to play Pakistan at their own game in the first half and struggled to keep pace, but the in the second half they were more controlled and broke down their opponents with a pair of Colin Hennessy goals in the 50th and 53rd minutes.
With six points going into the next round of matches, Australia are looking good to keep their winning streak going and reach the semi finals after disappointingly missing out at home in Hobart four years ago.
Pool C’s third representative in the medal rounds was decided in the day’s first match with Belgium defeating Chile 2-0. It was a fitting reward for Belgium who have shown promising periods play in the first days of the tournament.
While it’s hard to see them making the semi finals, if they keep on their improvement curve their remaining opponents will be made to work hard to get a result.
Pool D provided today’s most fascinating results. In the marquee match, India outclassed Netherlands 4-1. India have improved in each match and their strong record in Junior World Cups is beginning to come to the surface.
Their speed and execution at various stages were too much for the Dutch to handle and the defending champions are strong favourites to make another Junior World Cup semi final at least.
The day’s biggest celebrations were belonged to Egypt, who won their first match of the tournament and defeated Poland 3-2. The win allowed Egypt to make the medal rounds and although they are highly unlikely to go any further in the tournament, they were justifiably overjoyed at reaching this stage.
Spain 6 defeated Mexico 0
Goals: ESP – Roger Padros FG 10m 50m, Jordi Fabregas FG 13m, Juan Fernandez FG 23m FG 68m, Jorge Rodriguez FG 43m
Korea 5 defeated England 3
Goals: KOR – Jong Hyun Jang PC 15m, Jong Soo Lee FG 28m, Yong Ho Choi FG 50m, Young Jin Kim FG 64m, Chang Yong Yeo FG 66m; ENG – Richard Lane FG 22m FG 23m FG 33m
Argentina1 defeated South Africa 0
Goals: ARG – Lucas Vila PC 15m
Germany 7 defeated Malaysia 5
Goals: GER – Thilo Stralkowski FG 9m FG 20m, Moritz Fuerste PC 29m FG 31m, Oliver Korn FG 38m, Tim Blasberg FG 48m, Jonathan Froeschle PC 58m; MAS – Zulkifli Mohd Rejab PC 27m PC 42m PC 44m PC 55m, Ismail Abu PC 55m
Australia 3 defeated Pakistan 2
Goals: AUS – Ian Smyth FG 29m, Colin Hennessy FG 50m FG 53m; PAK – Tariq Aziz FG 28m, Shakeel Abbasi FG 56m
Belgium 2 defeated Chile 0
Goals: BEL – Henry Cavenaile FG 5m, Jerome Truyens FG 39m
India 4 defeated Netherlands 1
Goals: IND – Sandeep Singh PC 11m PC 60m, Tushar Khandekar FG 14m FG 62m; NED – Philip Steller PC 38m
Egypt 3 defeated Poland 2
Goals: EGY - Karim Abd El Aziz FG 18m, Tarek Haggag FG 39m, Amr Ahmed FG 55m; POL – Piotr Rozek PC 11m, Karol Szyplik PC 70m
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