Teams at the head of the table faltered on day five of the BDO Hockey Junior World Cup to set up an enthralling final round of matches.
Previous Pool leaders Argentina and USA both suffered one-goal losses, opening the way for the chasing teams to surge ahead and assume control with just one match remaining before the classification phase.
At this stage, four teams from Pool E and three from Pool F are still in contention and just as matches yesterday failed to resolve the complicated puzzle, today made the composition of the final four just as uncertain.
Fortunately for the teams who stumbled slightly today, their results have not precluded them from calculations and all remain in contention.
In Pool E, ladder leaders USA conceded not only a late goal to Australia but also their number one spot.
However even with the loss, USA can still make their first Junior World Cup semi final with a win over Spain tomorrow.
After a devastating last-minute loss to the Netherlands on Sunday seemingly ended their title chances, Australia raced back into contention with their last-gasp victory over the USA.
Australia sits two points behind Spain and Netherlands and one adrift of USA, but are still a strong chance to make the semi finals.
In the match between Spain and USA tomorrow is a draw, Australia can advance with a win over England.
Netherlands can also secure a top two Pool finish with a victory over home team Chile. However the match will be extremely difficult for the Dutch given Chile’s ability to rise in front of a large and parochial Santiago home crowd.
In Pool F, Argentina could have secured a place in the semi finals with a victory over Germany, however they couldn’t recover after letting through an early goal and suffered their first loss of the tournament.
The loss was a significant one, dropping the South Americans to third on the points table and making them reliant on slip-ups by teams above them to continue their semi final streak at the Junior World Cup which stretches back in 1993.
Argentina have won a medal at each of the last three Junior World Cups (including gold in 1993) and failure to make the semi finals would come as a shock to a country that has enjoyed a strong record at women’s senior and junior level over the past decade.
Germany are in the box seat in Pool F, needing only a win over bottom-placed Scotland to qualify for Friday’s semi finals.
They produced a superb defensive display against Argentina and celebrated as if they had won the tournament after the full time siren. However they will need to refocus and apply their energy to the Scotland match to avoid a disastrous result after working so hard to put themselves into such a powerful position.
Similarly Korea, the reigning Junior World Cup champions, are also a simple victory away from a chance to defend their crown.
They can wrap up a final four place in the opening match on day six with victory over India. The match will not be an easy one however, with India highly competitive in all of their matches so far.
With a more productive output, India would feature strongly in the semi final frame, having drawn three of their five matches.
Their draw with Scotland today officially ended their title hopes and the best they can now hope for is a playoff for positions 5-8.
In Pool G to decide positions 13-16, Belarus record their first victory of the tournament and China scored a second half goal to sneak past a determined Zimbabwe.
China play Canada tomorrow and Belarus clash with Zimbabwe. The top two teams in Pool G will play for 13th place and the bottom two for 15th place on Saturday.
Visit the BDO Junior World Cup website, http://bdojuniorworldcup.worldhockey.org.
Posted 7 hours ago.
The relationship between on-field officials and players in many team sports is not always the smoothest. However,...
Posted 10 hours ago.
Field Hockey Canada is pleased to announce the appointment of Robin D’Abreo as the National Women’s Program...
Posted 1 day ago.
USA: Family heirlooms traditionally consist of faded pictures, foreign coins and vintage rings, treasured items with...
Posted 1 day ago.
Since its foundation in 1969, the European Hockey Federation (EHF) has always valued its players with Best Player,...
Posted 2 days ago.
The Black Sticks Men battled hard but were defeated 2-1 by Korea in the sixth and final test of the series in a wet...
Posted 3 days ago.
The Hockeyroos will welcome back a number of familiar faces as they head to Europe for next month’s Investec Hockey...