Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Will Australia do a Holland and let New Zealand into the semi finals of the Junior World Cup?

Will another Asian country, this time South Korea, bear the consequences of another friendly draw that will see them out of the semis?

Will these teams, Holland and Australia eventually pay the price with New Zealand going on to win the JWC?

These are mind boggling questions on the lips of those at the JWC.

But before one jumps to conclusions, there is not an iota of proof that matches are being fixed to allow certain teams through into the next round.

India cried foul when they missed the cut as Holland drew with New Zealand 2-2, despite leading 2-0 at one stage.

And Korea will probably do the same if Oceania neighbours Australia and New Zealand play to a draw tomorrow at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium.

The reality is that both India and South Korea have themselves to blame as they left their fate in the hands of other teams.

If they had both won their matches against the Kiwis, then questions like this would have never arisen.

The fact of the matter is that New Zealand are a great team, and they deserve their place in the second round and the semis.

While other teams can boast of sponsors and government backing, the Kiwis are at the JWC due to their family financial support and money from the players pocket.

This is unheard of in India, Korea and in Malaysia there would probably be a mutiny of sorts if players had to pay their way to a tournament.

So I for one will not begrudge Australia should they allow New Zealand a draw.

Thus the cast for the semis would have been completed on Wednesday, with Australia playing Germany while Holland to take on New Zealand.

And I pick Holland to play Germany in the final on Sunday, though I would love to see New Zealand fairy tale continue by defeating the Dutch in the semis and the Aussies in the final thus laying to rest the conspiracy theories that have plagued the JWC.