London Olympics Champions Germany defeated Argentina in the final of Hockey World League Semi Final at Johor Bahru (Malaysia), while England beat Korea to finish at 3rd place. Hosts Malaysia edged Japan in Shoot-out (4-3) after 1-1 draw in regulation to finish 5th and increase their chances of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup. World number 5 side and Asian Giants Pakistan scored a convincing 6-2 win against South Africa to avoid wooden.
Highlights of the matches played at Johor during Hockey World League Semi Final
In the final, the world number one side Germany pumped 2 goals through Florian Fuchs and Christopher Wesley in last 4 minutes to take the game away from impressive Argentine side. Both side matched each other till lemon break with score board reading 2-2.
It took 22 minutes to break the deadlock, when Germany took lead through Christopher Zeller, while Argentina reply within four minutes as young drag flick specialist Gonzalo Peillat hit the board on a penalty corner. Germany once again went ahead Florian Fuchs in 32nd minute but Argentina scored through Matias Paredes in the last minute of 1st half to level the score once.
Report: England beat Korea 2-1 to take the bronze medal at the World League Semi-Final in Malaysia. England worked hard for the victory, with a strong team performance against an in-form Korea side. The goals came from youngsters Ben Arnold and Harry Martin either side of half time, and England’s defence held strong only allowing Korea to break through once.
England were without two experienced athletes as Mark Gleghorne and Ashley Jackson both missed the game through injury.
Speaking after the game Reading’s Nick Catlin said, “We’re really really happy with the result today. As a group we came out here with the primary objective of qualifying for next year’s World Cup and we achieved that with our win over Japan. We were very disappointed with our performance against Argentina yesterday, but it was great to come back with the win today. We’ve been building this team since April and playing in Malaysia is as tough as it gets so it’s been good experience for some of the new players.”
After conceding three goals early on in yesterday’s game against Argentina, England set out to prove that lessons had been learnt. Crutchley’s men looked assured and back to their composed approach, building play up patiently and waiting for the right opening.
With 13 minutes played Beeston’s Ben Arnold poached the ball from the Korean defence and used his pace to drive across the circle to create space for the strike. The speed and accuracy beat Myung Ho Lee in Korea’s goal to make it 1-0 and give Arnold his second goal of the tournament.
England continued with the same approach for the rest of the half, but they weren’t able to capitalise. Half chances fell to Tom Carson and Barry Middleton, but Korea defended well. Just before half time Korea had a great opportunity to equalise but pressure from Adam Dixon meant Hye Sung Hyun’s attempt went wide.
Korea built momentum in the second half and England spent the majority of the early stages trying to break down their opponents attacks. With 20 minutes left to play Korea won the first penalty corner of the game. England thwarted the initial attempt, but Korea played the ball back into danger and an unmarked Seong Kyu Kim deflected the ball past a helpless Pinner in goal to make it 1-1.
Against the run of play, England won their first penalty corner in the 59th minute. After breaking early Korea lost a man off the back line and England took full advantage with a well worked routine. Richard Smith disguised his pass back to the injector, Nick Catlin, who squared the ball to Martin and with a simple tap in he restored England’s lead.
At 2-1 Korea pushed everyone forward looking for an equaliser, but England defended really well. Pinner made a match winning save in the final two minutes of the game to secure the bronze medal.
Speaking after the game England’s Head Coach Bobby Crutchley said “I think we showed a lot of resilience out there today and I’m very proud of the team and their ability to bounce back from a disappointing performance yesterday. We were under added pressure missing two players and subsequently the team had to dig deep. This tournament has given us a much needed confidence boost ahead of the European Championships next month.”