Lucknow (9 Dec, 2016): Germany checked into the quarterfinals of the Uttar Pradesh Hockey Junior World Cup Men, Lucknow 2016 on Friday at the Major Dhyan Chand Hockey Stadium here.
The six-time champions defeated New Zealand 2-1 today to be the first team to advance into the last eight as they topped Pool C with six points having disposed Spain by a similar margin of victory on Thursday.
The Germans were made to push hard for this win after going down to a Sam Lane penalty corner three minutes into the game. However, Timm Herzbruch’s open play strike in the 24th minute and Anton Boeckel 51st minute field goal kept the Germans on top throughout the match.
Germany plays Japan on Sunday and a win will confirm their status as pool leaders while New Zealand and Spain will battle for the remaining quarterfinals slot.
The Netherlands warmed up with a 7-2 win over Malaysia. Bram van Groesen scored twice, with Thijs van Dam, team captain Thierry Brinkman, Terrance Pieters, Daniel Aarts and Jorrit Croon also registering their names on the score sheet.
The young Malaysians strolled onto the pitch oozing with confidence against the Dutch after accepting a late call-up by the International Hockey Federation but came under pressure just 10 minutes into the game.
Terrence Pieters had a first look at the Malaysian goalmouth – eight minutes into the game and tested goalkeeper Muhammad Zaimi Mat Deris with a powerful reverse hit shot that was padded away and Lars Balk made his presence felt in the next minute but Zaimi had it well covered.
Though there was little fog in the air tonight compared to the last few days but with temperatures down to 16 degrees Celsius today it was chilling enough for players and spectators at the stadium.
As the Malaysians struggled to find their momentum, the Dutch went into full swing to take 3-0 lead in the first half with goals from Thijs van Dam (19th minute) and penalty corner conversions from Thierry Brinkman (29th) and Bram van Groessen (33rd).
The European 2014 Junior Nations Championships winners continued where they left off by scoring four more goals via Terrance Pieters (40th), Daniel Aarts (44th), Jorrit Croon (49th) and a 63rd minute penalty stroke which Groessen had no trouble putting past Zaimi.
It was only in late stages of the second half that the Malaysians found the rhythm and courage twice to sneak their way into the Dutch territory to score through Muhammad Hafiizhuddin Zaidi (59th) and Amirol Aideed Arshad penalty corner. They had two more penalty corners that came their way but could make nothing of it.
Wallace Tan’s Malaysia will take a rest on Saturday and return to the pitch on Sunday against Egypt and then Belgium on Monday in matches they need to win to harbour any hopes of moving into the quarterfinals.
Belgium also started their campaign in Group B with a flurry of goals for a comfortable 4-0 victory over African junior continental champions Egypt.
The young Red Cougars team, who finished third behind India and Germany at a Four Nations Invitational event in Valencia, Spain recently, grabbed a 2-0 lead going into the first half with goals from Philippe Simar after 18 minutes and Henri Raes fired home from an acute angle 10 minutes later.
Belgium had better ball possession and domination of the second half as Alexandre van Linthoudt knocked in the third goal (46th) from open play and Alexis Lemaire broke the camel’s back via a penalty corner conversion in the 60th to rule against an Egyptian side that only trained at home for the last 45 days prior to coming here.
“It’s a great start and I am happy with the three points against Egypt. We have two tough matches against Netherlands (Dec 11) and Malaysia (Dec 12) and our objective here is to qualify for the quarterfinals,” said Belgium coach Jeroen Baart.
Argentina and Austria played out a 1-1 draw in a Pool A encounter. The Argentineans won the Junior World Cup in 2005 and have several players who went on to become Olympic gold medallists at Rio 2016, most notably team captain Pedro Ibarra and attacking star Lucas Vila.
But it took Tomas Domene and Argentina 47 minutes to break the deadlock for the opening goal and Austria’s Oliver Binder found the equaliser seven minutes before the end as both teams settled for one point.
“We had a lot of chances but we couldn’t score, and that is a problem for us,” said Argentina captain Maico Casella after the match. “We have some things we need to work on.”
Japan is virtually out of contention for quarterfinals spots following a second consecutive defeat. The young Samurais were beaten 0-1 by New Zealand on Thursday and lost 1-4 against the Spaniards today. Lucas Alcarde Garcia’s brace (27th and 37th minutes), Marc Serrahima (8th) and Pablo De Abadal’s 25th goal lifted Spain. Atsushi Sugiyamana scored Japan’s only goal in the 48th minute.
Day three action on Saturday resumes with Group B and C matches taking a rest while India, who defeated Canada 4-0 on Friday, return to the field to face England and South Africa takes on Canada in Group D fixtures.
Australia and Argentina are also expected to provide the fireworks in Group A matches while Korea and Austria will be out win their first full points in the event.
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