Malaysia and Poland have made solid starts to their respective Hockey World League Round 2 campaigns in Singapore, with both nations sitting top of the Pool tables with 100% win records after two rounds of matches.
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.
In Pool A, Malaysia (FIH World Ranking: 12) have been in decent form so far, grabbing two wins from two matches and netting 12 goals in the process. A double strike from Izwan Firdaus helped the team to a comfortable 5-1 victory over Ukraine (WR: 24) on Saturday with superstar Faizal Saari and Marhan Jalil both scoring twice in Monday’s 7-0 destruction of Oman (WR: 23). Ukraine currently sit second in Pool B thanks to a 2-1 win over Singapore on Monday.
Japan (WR: 15) and Poland (18) justified their status as the top ranked teams in Pool B with big wins in their opening matches. Japan cruised a 5-1 win over Bangladesh (WR: 29) while Poland beat Mexico (WR: 36) 6-0. Those results set the stage for a fascinating showdown between the two teams on Sunday, which saw lower-ranked Poland fight back from 2-0 down to take a stunning 3-2 win thanks to a late double from ace striker Krystian Makowski. The result leaves Poland on six points at the top of Pool B, three points clear of both Japan and Bangladesh – 6-1 victors over Mexico on Sunday – ahead of the final round of Pool matches, which take place on Tuesday.
“It was a sweet revenge over Japan as lost to them twice in the Champions Challenge 1 last year”, said Poland Team Manager Tomasz Cichy after the match. “With the win, we are now confident of beating Bangladesh to top the group. Our mission is to win the tournament.”
You can keep track of all of the action from Singapore on the official tournament microsite.
Photos courtesy of Singapore Hockey Federation / Alfie Lee