Santiago (Chile) 28 Nov, 2016: China and Korea’s challenge for quarterfinals berths in the 2016 Women Junior Hockey World Cup fizzled on Sunday leaving Japan as Asia’s only bright hope now following final group matches at Club Deportivo Manquehue.
A 3-2 victory for the United States over Korea was enough for the Americans to sneak through the last eight from Group A behind Netherlands, while Spain and Belgium qualified from Group D in what proved to be a day filled with drama.
The Koreans need to beat the Americans to strike out any possible threat to their hopes and went straight into top gear as Seoyeong Kim scored from open play two minutes into the game but the US drew level after 18 minutes through Margaux Paolino.
Erin Matson edged US further ahead in the 33rd minute and whilst the game continued to go end to end, the Americans were 3-1 up when Lauren Moyer scored in the 58th minute via a penalty corner.
Korea, however, continued their push to the front and reduced the deficit to 3-2 through team captain Hyejin Cho with two minutes remaining towards the end.
“Korea is a very good with a flat defence that was something that we struggled with a little bit. We couldn’t get wide enough. They are a really good team – we struggled with their aerials too – they were incredible,” said US midfielder Julianna Tornetta.
On Friday, Netherlands were the first team to qualify for the quarter-finals after winning their second match of the tournament against the Americans and concluded their Group A fixtures on Sunday with an emphatic 13-0 victory over Zimbabwe.
The Dutch topped Group A with nine points and Americans second with six points followed by Korea (3) and Zimbabwe nil.
Like the Koreans, China too needed to win against Belgium to stake a claim in the quarterfinals though the Belgians were merely looking at a draw to take them through to the last eight. But the Chinese ended their game with a 2-2 draw.
Qiu Guo gave China an early penalty corner goal after only three minutes and Mengling Zhong doubled the lead in the 42nd minute from a penalty corner conversion. However, a lapse in concentration by the Chinese in the last two minutes of play gave Belgium the break to score, first through Marie Ronquetti in the minute and Stephanie Vanden Borre equalised in the very minute in similar fashion.
New Zealand also faced the same situation and needed to win to be in with a chance of reaching the quarter-finals but didn’t help their chances when they let Spain’s Lucia Jimenez score after only five minutes. The Black Sticks had opportunities but Lucia doubled their lead seconds before the half-time hooter following a mistake at the back from New Zealand.
Spain continued to dominate in the second half, with goals from Lara Panpin and another from Marta Segu to leave the final score 4-0. Spain’s win guaranteed them of top spot, with Belgium finishing second.
The top two teams from each Pool qualifying for the quarter-finals.
Asia’s third representative – Japan go into action on Monday hoping to pull off the biggest upsets of the tournament by defeating Germany in Group D last preliminary round encounter. A win by the Japanese, making their debut here, who are making their debut, will catapult them into second in the standing with six points and a place in Nov 30 quarterfinals.