FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup Malaysia 2023: Pool C 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 third 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.

Canada, India, Korea and Spain all feature in Pool C, 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.

 

Canada

FIH Junior World Ranking: 14
How they qualified: 2nd Place – Junior Pan American Championship 2023
Junior World Cup history: 2021 – 13th, 2016 – 16th, 2013 – 16th, 2001 – 16th, 1985 – 12th, 1982 – 8th

About the team: Canada are all set to compete in their seventh Junior World Cup competition, having sealed a berth to the 2023 event in Kuala Lumpur thanks to a second place finish in the Junior Pan American Championship 2023 earlier this year. They sailed through the pool phase of that competition without conceding a goal, recording comfortable wins over hosts Barbados (6-0), USA (4-0) and Guyana (5-0). Canada were given a stern test by Chile in the semi-final, eventually triumphing in a shoot-out (1-1, 3-1 SO), before being overpowered by Argentina 6-1 in the gold medal match. Numerous players from Canada’s Junior Pan American squad are set to feature in KL, including Robin Thind and Hudson Loh, who both scored four times in Barbados. Shotstopper Armaan Bagri is another player to watch, having been named goalkeeper of the tournament at the Junior Pan Ams.

India

FIH Junior World Ranking: 3
How they qualified: 4th Place – FIH Hockey Junior World Cup Bhubaneswar 2021
Junior World Cup history: 2021 – 4th, 2016 – 1st, 2013 – 10th, 2009 – 9th, 2005 – 4th, 2001 – 1st, 1997 – 2nd, 1985 – 5th, 1982 – 5th, 1979 – 5th

About the team: India arrive in Kuala Lumpur as the continental champions of Asia, having stormed to the title at the Junior Asia Cup 2023 in Salalah, Oman earlier this year. The two-time junior world champions defeated Chinese Taipei (18-0), Japan (3-1), Thailand (17-0) and Korea (9-1) to set up a final against eternal rivals Pakistan, who held India to a 1-1 draw in the pool phase. The final was another close contest, but goals from Angad Bir Singh and Araijeet Singh Hundal secured a 2-1 victory. Hundal scored eight times for India in Oman and could be a player to watch alongside penalty corner ace Amandeep Lakra, who found the target six times during India’s third place finish at the recent Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia. Uttam Singh, who was named rising player of the tournament at the 2022 Asia Cup for India’s senior men, will captain the side during their 11th Junior World Cup campaign.

 

Korea

FIH Junior World Ranking: 11
How they qualified: 3rd Place – Junior Asia Cup 2023
Junior World Cup history: 2021 – 10th, 2016 – 14th, 2013 – 8th, 2009 – 7th, 2005 – 8th, 2001 – 7th, 1993 – 9th, 1989 – 4th

About the team: Korea take to the men’s FIH Junior World Cup stage for the ninth time, having previously finished as high as fourth (1989) and as low as 14th (2016). The team secured their ticket to Kuala Lumpur by winning bronze at the Junior Asia Cup in Salalah, Oman earlier this year, bouncing back from a heavy semi-final loss against India (9-1) to beat Malaysia 2-1 thanks to goals from Lim Dohyun and Yoo Seungho. Lim Dohyun top scored for Korea in that event, netting six times with five penalty corners and one penalty stroke. The team is captained by Kong Yoonho, who also competed in the 2021 Junior World Cup in Bhubaneswar, India alongside 2023 team-mates Lee Sungmin and Park Geonwoo.

Spain

 

FIH Junior World Ranking: 6
How they qualified: 4th Place – EuroHockey Junior Championship 2022
Junior World Cup history: 2021 – 7th, 2016 – 6th, 2013 – 13th, 2009 – 8th, 2005 – 3rd, 2001 – 5th, 1997 – 8th, 1993 – 7th, 1989 – 8th, 1982 – 7th, 1979 – 9th

About the team: Spain have competed in 11 of the 12 Men’s Junior World Cup competitions played to date, with bronze at the Rotterdam 2005 event being the pinnacle of their achievements in this tournament. A 12th appearance was sealed by a fourth place finish at the EuroHockey Junior Championship 2022 in Ghent, being pipped in the bronze medal match by host nation Belgium. The Junior Red Sticks had beaten Belgium (4-1), Scotland (8-1) and England (4-2) to finish top of their pool at the Euros, with penalty corner expert Oriol Bozal scoring four times ahead of a 3-0 semi-final loss at the hands of eventual winners the Netherlands. In August, Spain travelled to Germany for a 4 Nations event in Düsseldorf, bouncing back from an opening match los against India (6-2) to beat England (3-0) and hosts Germany (4-1) before defeating England (3-0) for a second time in the 3-4 classification match. Pol Cabre Verdiell and Nicolas Alvarez scored three goals each in Düsseldorf, and will be looking to make their mark 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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