FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup Malaysia 2023: Pool B Preview

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As part of our build-up to the FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup Malaysia 2023, we bring you the second of four Pool previews which examine the qualification routes, past form and crucial players from the teams that will compete at the showpiece event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Egypt, France, Germany and South Africa all feature in Pool B, with a top two finish being the only way to secure a place in the competition quarter-finals and thus maintain hopes of Junior World Cup glory.

 

Egypt

FIH Junior World Ranking: 16
How they qualified: 2nd Place – Junior Africa Cup 2023
Junior World Cup history: 2021 – 16th, 2016 – 15th, 2013 – 15th, 2009 – 14th, 2005 – 12th, 1997 – 9th, 1993 – 12th, 1989 – 10th, 1985 – 12th

About the team: Egypt are taking part in their tenth Junior World Cup competition overall and their sixth in succession, having achieved qualification with a second place finish at the Junior Africa Cup 2023 on home turf in Ismailia earlier this year. The Egyptians were pipped to the gold medal by perennial rivals and fellow Pool B opponents South Africa, who earned a 4-3 shoot-out win after regular time finished with the scores locked at 2-2. Ziad Adel top scored for Egypt in Ismailia, scoring three of his team’s six competition goals to help them claim the silver medal, with team captain Hossameldin Ragab being named as the player of the tournament. Egypt’s best finish in a Junior World Cup came in 1997 at Milton Keynes, England, where they were placed ninth.

 

France

FIH Junior World Ranking: 7
How they qualified: 3rd Place – FIH Hockey Junior World Cup Bhubaneswar 2021
Junior World Cup history: 2021 – 3rd, 2013 – 2nd, 2011 – 10th, 1985 – 8th, 1979 – 7th

 

About the team: With the Olympic Games Paris 2024 just around the corner, this Junior World Cup competition provides a fantastic opportunity for France’s rising stars to impress, particularly with Frederic Soyez, head coach of the senior side, along for the ride in the role of stand-in manager. Having medalled at both the Bubaneswar 2021 and New Delhi 2013 Junior World Cups, expectations are high for Les Bleus. The 2023 squad contains eight players who were part of the bronze medal-winning campaign in 2021, including Mathis Clément, Noé Jouin, Gaspard Xavier and Brieuc Delemazure, who all represented France seniors at the EuroHockey Championship 2023 in Mönchengladbach, Germany. With high quality players and a top class coaching team, France have every chance of getting amongst the medals once again.

 

Germany

FIH Junior World Ranking: 2
How they qualified: 2nd Place – FIH Hockey Junior World Cup Bhubaneswar 2021
Junior World Cup history: 2021 – 2nd, 2016 – 3rd, 2013 – 1st, 2009 – 1st, 2005 – 6th, 2001 – 3rd, 1997 – 3rd, 1993 – 1st, 1989 – 1st*, 1985 – 1st *, 1982 – 1st*, 1979 – 2nd*
* As West Germany

About the team: Germany are the most successful nation in the history of the Men’s Junior World Cup, having claimed the title on six occasions and medalling at 11 out of the 12 competitions staged to date. They came agonisingly close to landing their seventh title at the FIH Hockey Junior World Cup Bhubaneswar 2021 competition, with Argentina – a team they defeated in the pool phase – taking a 4-2 victory. It was a bitter pill to swallow, but 2022 European silver medallists Germany will almost certainly be amongst the favourites in Kuala Lumpur. The team recently recorded a superb competition victory on Malaysian soil in the Sultan of Johor Cup, beating South Africa (6-1) and Great Britain (4-3) in the pool phase before storming to a 6-3 win over India in the semi-finals, with Peer Hinrichs and Nikas Berendts both scoring twice. Germany’s opponents in the gold medal game were Australia, who had held them to a 2-2 draw in the pool phase. Again the sides could not be separated in regular time, with the match finishing 0-0 before Germany triumphed 3-1 in the shoot-out. Team captain Matteo Poljaric was named player of the tournament, with Joshua Onyekwue Nnaji being chosen as goalkeeper of the tournament.

South Africa

 

FIH Junior World Ranking: 10
How they qualified: 1st Place – Junior Africa Cup 2023
Junior World Cup history: 2021 – 9th, 2016 – 10th, 2013 – 12th, 2009 – 15th, 2005 – 13th, 2001 – 11th

About the team: Following a best ever Junior World Cup placement of ninth at the 2021 competition, South Africa’s rising stars will be aiming for even bigger things in 2023. In March, the team claimed the Junior Africa Cup title for the fifth time in the last six editions, with penalty corner expert James Flint scoring five times and Reece Govender being named goalkeeper of the tournament at the event in Ismailia, Egypt. South Africa recently competed on Malaysian soil in the Sultan of Johor Cup, finishing bottom of the standings in the eight team competition. However, the selection of extraordinary attacker Mustaphaa Cassiem, a bonefide star of the senior side, has the potential to improve their fortunes. It will be fascinating to see how they perform in Kuala Lumpur.

 

The FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup Malaysia 2023 begins on 5 December with 12 teams in action on opening day! Pool B action between France and Egypt will get the tournament underway at 09:00 local time on the opening day. Germany vs South Africa, Spain vs Canada, Argentina vs Australia and India vs Korea will follow the opening match. Hosts Malaysia will take on Chile in the final encounter of the opening day, with the hopes of making a perfect start in front of their passionate home fans. To see the full match schedule, click here.

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