Japan are on their way to Germany after clinching the fifth and final place from the BDO World Cup Qualifiers in Changzhou, beating France 2-1.
The match was riddled with errors and played at a slow tempo compared to other matches during the tournament, perhaps as both teams suffered with nerves, but that wouldn’t bother the Japanese as they came out on top.
Japan celebrated by dancing and cheering to their supporters from the main pitch and then went onto the second pitch to continue celebrating their amazing achievement. France left the ground devastated knowing they had two cracks at qualification against Japan; once earlier in the week when they could have made the semi finals with a win, and today.
New Zealand secured first place in the final of the qualifiers, beating Korea 4-1 in a fast and action packed match. Both teams were happy to play open hockey, so shots on goal were aplenty.
The Kiwi’s had taken control the match by halftime though, leading 3-0, a performance which was built on fantastic team play, especially for two of their goals. Some consolation for Korea was that Jong Ho Seo was named Player of the Tournament after the match.
Earlier in the day Pakistan took on England, the later deservedly winning 3-1, in the playoff which decided who finished third and who was relegated to fourth.
Both teams played a very entertaining style of hockey, with play moving freely from end-to-end similarly to the final, but it was England’s ability to convert their chances and create more chances throughout the second half that proved the difference.
After their success in Changzhou New Zealand, Korea, England, Pakistan and Japan can look forward to the challenges that lie ahead in Monchengladbach, where the other top hockey nations of Australia, the Netherlands, Spain, Argentina, Germany, India and South Africa await in the battle to become World Champions.
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