Thursday (22 January) was quarter-final day at the Hockey World League Round 2 tournament in Singapore and it proved to be hugely successful for Malaysia, Japan, Oman and Poland, who all recorded wins to keep their respective Olympic qualification dreams alive and kicking.
Pool A winners and top seeds Malaysia (FIH World Ranking: 12) claimed victory over Pool B’s bottom side Mexico (WR: 36), with striker Tengku Ahmad scoring four goals in the contest. Tournament top scorer Faizal Saari also got his name on the score-sheet, taking his event tally to ten in just four matches. “This is my highest scoring margin in an international tournament,” said 24-year-old Faizal, “but I hope to do even better and help the team win gold in this tournament."
Malaysia’s opponent in the semi-final will be Asian rivals and Pool B runners-up Japan, a side that sits just three places below them in the FIH World Rankings at 15.
Pool A runners-up Oman (WR: 23) secured their place in the semi-finals in remarkable fashion with a shoot-out triumph over Bangladesh (WR: 29). Bangladesh were just three minutes away from victory when Muhanna Al Hasani levelled the score at 3-3 before confirming his hero status by scoring what proved to be the decisive goal in the shoot-out.
Oman face stiff opposition in their semi-final, coming up against a team that has recorded four wins from four matches and netted 22 goals in the process. Pool B winners Poland (WR: 18) booked their place in the semis with a win over host nation Singapore (WR: 37), with talismanic captain and penalty corner expert Pawel Bratkowski finding the net for the fourth successive game with a brace to take his tournament total to seven.
The teams competing in the 5-8 classification games will be back in action on Friday (23 September), with the exciting semi-finals taking place on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s tournament final and placement games. To see all tournament fixtures and results, please click here.
The three highest finishers in the eight-team men’s tournament, which started on Saturday 17th and concludes on Sunday 25th January, will each be guaranteed a place in the semi-final of the competition, where coveted berths at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games are up for grabs.
You can keep track of all of the action from Singapore on the official tournament microsite.