For full tournament coverage from Santiago, visit the BDO Hockey Junior World Cup website, http://bdojuniorworldcup.worldhockey.org.
After the preliminary exchanges, the title hopes of the 12 teams still in contention for the women’s BDO Hockey Junior World Cup reaches a critical stage in Santiago tomorrow.
After today’s play, the top three teams in Pools A and D combined (Pool E), as did Pools C and D (Pool F). The bottom team in each Pool was relegated and combined (Pool G) to play off for positions 13-16.
In Pools E and F, teams take forward the points earned against the other qualified teams from their Pool and will then play the remaining teams not from their original Pool to complete five preliminary round matches.
Click here for the Pool E and Pool F points table
The top two teams in each six-team Group at the end of this phase of the competition will progress to next Friday’s semi finals. The winners of the semi finals will contest the final.
Tomorrow’s opening two matches could be the most decisive in determining the semi final aspirations of the teams in Pool F.
Germany and Argentina enter the second round robin stage with a maximum six points and are clear favourites to advance from the Pool. Korea looms as the biggest threat and they take on Germany in the first match of day four.
Korea squandered multiple opportunities against Argentina today and will rue their missed chances if that result proves the difference between a semi final berth and the playoffs for the minor placings at tournament’s end.
Argentina’s campaign is following a similar pattern to the title-winning run enjoyed by their men’s under 21 team at the Rabo Hockey Junior World Cup crown in Rotterdam, Netherlands, in early July.
Argentina were unbeaten in Rotterdam tournament and were consistent without being breathtaking, building their platform of success on a stubborn defence that conceded the least goals in the tournament.
Like their men, Argentina’s women have the best defensive record so far in Santiago and showed with victory over Korea today an ability to weather pressure and snatch opportunistic goals at the other end when needed.
Similar to Germany, a win for Argentina against India would almost cement their semi final berth and simultaneously end their opponent’s faint title hopes.
Of the other Pool F combatants, Scotland is too far back and doesn’t appear to have the firepower to match it with the fancied teams, while South Africa will need a charmed run and results in their favour to claim an unlikely top two finish.
While Pool F is somewhat clear, all six teams in Pool E still have a realistic a chance of mounting a semi final charge.
Prior to their union, teams in Pools A and D were successful in taking points of each other in the first stage, leaving an opportunity for all involved to press for the medal rounds.
USA, Netherlands and Spain lead the way on four points, closely followed by Australia on three. Home team Chile and England are the other chasing teams and they will need to start a winning sequence tomorrow to make a run at one of the top two spots.
USA were the surprise of their Pool, dispatching England on day one before matching the strong Dutch outfit to remain unbeaten after two rounds. In today’s meaningless match against Zimbabwe, USA continued their impressive form with a ruthless second half disposal of the disposal of the Africans.
USA can end Chile’s tournament hopes with a victory in their clash tomorrow, while Spain can do the same to England in the late match.
The home team has impressed, with an opening night win followed by a draw against Spain when they led 2-0 heading into the final 10 minutes. A loss today to Australia was a blow because it left Chile with no margin for error in their remaining three matches.
The other match in Pool E tomorrow is the battle between heavyweights Australia and Netherlands, with the winner gaining a significant advantage at the start of the second stage.
However given the closeness of the matches in Pools A and D up until this point, a series of drawn matches would not surprise and contribute to further clouding the final order of the Pool when the semi finalists are decided on Wednesday.
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