Pakistan vs. Korea: 3-2 (half-time: 1-2)
In Sohail Abbas’ 350th international match, Pakistan found their form in the second half ending their London campaign with a narrow victory over continental rivals Korea.
A Muhammad Imran penalty corner launch with nine minutes to play gave Pakistan their first and only scoreline advantage of the match.
The first half yielded circle penetrations for both teams, Shafqat Rasool found himself on the receiving end of a liberating pass from Muhammad Rizwan Sr, but he seemed to close his own angle to goal allowing Myung Ho Lee to block with ease.
Korea attacking from both endlines with Sung Hoon Yoon and Nam Yong Lee faced a blockade of green shirts that brought on a series of crosses that were only slightly more effective.
With five to play in the half, an attack through the middle found Hye Sung Hyun open for an easy touch at the right post giving Korea short lived lead. Muhammad Waqas replied emphatically within a minute with a resounding strike. Korea would not be denied their half time advantage as another Hyun tally at the end of a scramble survived a Pakistan team referral.
Pakistan held the advantage in the second half, Abdul Haseem Khan finding his own rebound off of Lee and calmly lifted the equalizer over the prone keeper. Korea pressed forward but was unable to find space in the crowded attacking quarter.
Imran’s winner came just after a similar drag flick from Sohail Abbas temporarily injured Lee in the Korean goal and perhaps limited his mobility on the decisive strike.
Pakistan leaves London with a seventh place finish and the consolation of being the highest ranked Asian team in the competition.
Argentina vs. New Zealand: 1-3 (half-time: 0-3)
A methodical performance by the Black Sticks highlighted by strong midfield and sharp finishing provided a comfortable ninth place finish over a slow starting Argentinian team.
While Argentina briefly controlled the opening minutes an errant free hit by Manuel Brunet was delivered into the circle by Simon Child for the awaiting Stephen Jenness to deflect past Jan Manuel Vivaldi for the first tally.
Matias Parades on the receiving end of a skillful give and go had his reverse bat find the side mesh, to cap a sequence of Argentina efforts that were a step short.
New Zealand extended twice, first with an immense corner flick by Richard Petherick and then quick reverse blast by Nicholas Wilson. Argentina finished the half with nine players having both Lucas Rossi and Matias Vila serving suspensions, personifying the overall team frustration.
Argentina was eager to start the second half but their chances were either lacking or rebuked. Kyle Pontifex stretching to make a penalty corner save on Peillat and then inducing the same to flick over the bar on his subsequent effort.
With eleven to play Pedro Ibarra solved the puzzle with a low PC drag, however the Argentine ascendency was initiated too late. New Zealand confidently absorbed the late charge to finish their campaign with a victory.
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