Men's World League Semi final underway in Johor Bahru
POOL A: Japan fought back from three goals down to secure a stunning 3-3 draw with Korea, a team eight places above them in the FIH World Rankings. The Johor Bahru crowd witnessed a hugely entertaining clash between the two teams from Asia, with both sides scoring some truly memorable goals in the contest. The honours were also shared in the shared in the first match of the Hockey World League Semi Final, with Germany and Argentina playing out a 1-1 draw. Full reports about the matches can be found below, along with video highlights.
Korea – Japan 3-3 (3-0)
Japan fought back from three goals down to secure a stunning 3-3 draw with Korea, a team eight places above them in the FIH World Rankings. The Johor Bahru crowd witnessed a hugely entertaining clash between the two teams from Asia, with both sides scoring some truly memorable goals in the contest.
Korea were in rampant form in the first half, powering to a 3-0 lead thanks to a trio of high class strikes. The first came from Kim Seong Kyu, who pounced following two excellent penalty corner saves from Japan’s Katsuya Takese, before the first field goal of the tournament arrived courtesy of Lee Nam Yong’s thumping volley. Korea’s third goal was the best of the lot, with Kang Moon Kweon slapped home an outrageous strike that rattled the backboard at break-neck speed.
If the first half belonged to Korea, no-one would dispute that Japan owned the second period. The world number 16 produced a heroic display, scoring three goals without reply to earn a thoroughly deserved draw. Kei Kawakami fired home in the 43rd minute to give his side hope before Toshihiro Tachibana cracked home a wonderful backhand strike from a seemingly impossible angle with 13 minutes remaining. The equaliser arrived with nine minutes left to play, when Heita Yoshihara bundled the ball over the line from close range to ensure that Japan claimed a share of the spoils.
Coupled with the earlier 1-1 draw between Germany and Argentina, the result leaves all four Pool A teams locked together on one point each.
Germany – Argentina 1-1 (1-0 HT)
The honours were shared in the first match of the Hockey World League Semi Final, with Germany and Argentina playing out a 1-1 draw. A penalty corner strike from Gonzalo Peillat late in the game cancelled out an early strike from Christopher Zeller, giving Argentina a fine result against the world number 1 ranked team and reigning Olympic champions.
It took Germany less than five minutes to win the opening penalty corner of the match, with Christopher Zeller finding a foot in the Argentina circle before launching a ferocious drag-flick into the roof of the net to give the Europeans an early advantage. Argentina were very much second best for long periods of a half played in sweltering conditions, with 2012 FIH Young Player of the Year Florian Fuchs and rising star Christopher Ruehr both going close. That said, Argentina were certainly not without their chances and could easily have drawn level had Lucas Vila hit the target instead of firing over the crossbar with a blistering volley. Vila was in the thick of the action towards the end of the half, forcing a fine save from Nico Jacobi with an angled deflection before hitting the post with a follow up effort from a tight angle.
The South Americans continued their improvement into the early stages of the second half, but the German defensive line held firm. Eventually though, Argentina got the goal that their hard work deserved, with Gonzalo Peillat tying the scores with a ripper of a penalty corner flick in the 61st minute. It proved to be a key moment, earning Argentina a superb result against the best team in the world.Back