England – Korea 2-1 (1-0)
A 59th minute goal from Harry Martin gave Bobby Crutchley’s young England team a 2-1 victory over Korea in the 3-4 Placement match at the Hockey World League Semi Final event in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. The victory confirmed England as third place finishers in the competition, denying Korea automatic qualification for the 2014 Rabobank Hockey World Cup in The Hague.
The result was good news for New Zealand, who are confirmed qualifiers for the World Cup by virtue of being the highest ranked of the two fourth place finishers from Rotterdam and Johor. The Black Sticks are ranked 6th in the world, ahead of Korea who are 8th. However, Korea's high finish in the tournament means that they still have an excellent chance of qualifying for the event should they fail to do so at their continental championship.
Despite missing key players Ashley Jackson and Mark Gleghorne for this match through injury, England gave a good showing of themselves in the first half and took the lead in the 12th minute. Ben Arnold was the scorer, driving from left to right across the circle before firing accurately into the bottom left corner of Lee Myung Ho’s goal. Korea’s chances in the first half were limited, but looked extremely threatening in the early stages of the second period.
Korea came agonisingly close to levelling the scores in the 48th minute when Jeon Byung burst into the circle and tipped the ball past England goalkeeper George Pinner, only for Lee Nam Yong’s diving backhand effort to travel just wide of the unguarded net.
Moments later, Nam Hyun Woo brought another fine save from Pinner, before Korea eventually grabbed an equaliser in the 51st minute. England charged down the initial penalty corner flick, but a second effort towards goal was deflected in by Kim Seong Kyu.
The goal seemed to be something of a wake-up call for England, who once again began to take the game to Korea and scored what proved to be the winning goal eleven minutes from full time. A penalty corner variation came the way of Nick Catlin, who placed a perfect pass onto the stick of Harry Martin who could not miss from close range.
Korea had a superb chance to equalise in the final minutes of the game when they won a penalty corner, but England shot-stopper Pinner produced a fine diving save to deny the flicked effort from the top of the circle.
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