Friday, June 12, 2009


Malaysia failed to make it to the second round of the Junior World Cup when they were held to a 3-3 draw by Spain at the Johor Bahru Hockey Stadium.

Needing a win, the Malaysian’s were done in by poor umpiring, something the FIH will never rectify as it is the Asian teams that suffer at the hands of incompetent umpires from Europe.

Still the Malaysians have nothing to be ashamed off as they played their hearts out and credit must be given for their fighting display especially when they were 3-1 down at one stage of the match.

Pakistan also made it into the second round by the skin of their teeth when they lost 2-1 to Belgium. Pakistan, Argentina and Belgium all finished with nine points.

But Pakistan made it due to a better goal difference having scored 15 and conceded 6 thus having a plus 9 advantage, while Argentina 17-7 were on 10 plus while Belgium at 13-6 had a seven goal plus. If Belgium had scored another goal, then they would have been involved in a penalty shootout with Pakistan.

However the talking point was the draw between Holland and New Zealand at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium in Singapore that ensured the exit of 2001 champions India.

The manner in which the match ended in a draw must surely leave a bitter taste in the mouth of the Indians.

This was because Holland had taken a 2-0 lead through goals by Verga Valentin in the 27th minute and Mink van der Weerden in the 44th minute only to concede twice in the final 20 minutes when Hugo Inglis in the 53rd minute and Simon Child in the 61st minute.

Although India defeated Poland 4-2, their 2-2 draw against New Zealand and 3-2 defeat at the hands of Holland put paid to their hopes of finishing in the top eight of the tournament.

Malaysia could not have asked for a better start as Faizal Saari gave them the lead in the 9th minute, his reverse stick hit giving Spanish keeper Francesc Mata no chance at all.

Spain found the equalizer in the 20th minute when Roc Oliva, playing with his thigh heavily bandaged due to an injury in the match against England, scored after the Malaysian defence were slow to clear the ball.

Malaysia were dealt a bitter blow two minutes later through a blunder by Belgium umpire Vincent Loos.

He failed to keep up with the ball and Xavier Lleonart made a reverse stick pass when the ball had clearly crossed the goal line and his pass found Javier Garcia who had the simplest of task to put Spain 2-1 ahead.

Spain went 3-1 ahead in the 49th minute when Xavier Lleonart scored but Harvinder Singh reduced the deficit in the 54th minute.

Khairul Azrain scored with ten minutes remaining but the grandstand finish Malaysia were hoping for never came as Spain held out to end with a draw.

South Korea qualified as Group C champions after coming from behind twice to hold England to a 2-2 draw at the Johor Bahru Hockey Stadium.

The match between Malaysia and Spain will determine which team joins the Koreans into the second round from Group C.

In Singapore, Germany and Australia will be involved in a penalty shootout to determine who will emerge Group B champions.

This came about as a result of identical number of points as well as goals scored and goal difference. Both the teams have 10 points with a goal difference of 11 as a result of 13 goals scored and two against.

In another match, Argentina defeated Egypt to seal their place in the second round and will await the Pakistan v Belgium match to see if they finish as champions or runner up.

With Holland certain of their place in the second round, the other spot will be decided between New Zealand and India.

The Kiwis need a draw while India needs to defeat Poland and hope that that Holland wins against New Zealand.