Still reeling from dropping out of quarter-final contention, Belgium produced a massive 12-goal win over Canada to ensure they progressed to the playoff for ninth to 12th place at the FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.
They’ll take on Malaysia in their next match after the hosts claimed a 4-1 victory over Egypt. South Africa recorded a comfortable 5-1 win over Chile to set up a clash with New Zealand, who emerged as 3-2 victors in a closely fought encounter with Korea.
This leaves Egypt, Canada, Chile and Korea fighting over the bottom four places.
Here’s how all four matches played out on Day 7…
Malaysia vs Egypt (Full-Time Score: 4-1)
Hosts Malaysia dominated all the statistics in their 4-1 win over Egypt. Harris Osman opened the scoring for Malaysia with a tap-in at the post after a powerful pass from midfield was deflected by two Malaysian players to undo the Egyptian defence. Mohamed Rafaizel produced some high-quality goalkeeping to deny the Egyptians before Harizan Faris fired a straight drag flick home for Malaysia to lead 2-0 at half-time.
Malaysia were awarded 14 penalty corners in the second half but Mahmoud Hassan and the Egyptian defence frustrated them with some fine saves. Muhammad Danish Aiman eventually produced a low drag flick to beat the keeper on his right foot, and Che Nur Aqilrullah completed the win with a scrambled goal from open play. There was some consolation for the Egyptians as Abdelmonem Basel rifled in a brilliant goal.
Player of the match Shahmie Suhaime said afterwards: “I had a very confident game today. Consistency is the point.”
Belgium vs Canada (Full-Time Score: 12-0)
Belgium romped home 12-0 against Canada with three players completing hat-tricks or better – Max Luyten completing his in the opening 10 minutes. First was a neat tap-in from in front of goal, followed by a diving deflection at the post. His third was an incredible reflex deflection as he was diving towards goal, somehow getting his stick to a ball high above his sliding body. Lucas Balthazar added a drag flick for the Belgians to end the half 4-0 up.
Balthazar added two more in the second half – both from penalty corners – while Hugo Labouchere bagged his hat-trick in the space of eight minutes in the third quarter from two accurate drag flicks and a penalty stroke. Labouchere slotted in his fourth off a drag flick in the fourth quarter, Thomas Crols added a field goal and Luyten grabbed his fourth as the Belgians wrapped up the mammoth win.
Player of the match Max Luyten explained: “We were pretty disappointed to not come out of the group stage because we felt we were a team that deserved to play a quarter-final and go and play for the medals, and we wanted to show the world that we’re a team that actually should play for medals and I think we did that.”
South Africa vs Chile (Full-Time Score: 5-1)
South Africa produced a dominant performance in beating Chile 5-1. Hans Neethling picked out a perfectly placed Ditlhakanyane Leruo who fired in from close range for an early score. David Tshebi then found himself on the end of another Neethling feed and teased his shot past the keeper to double the lead by half-time.
The South Africans opened the gap even further in the third quarter, Neethling riding a heavy challenge and finding the net for his first, and then getting on the end of the good pass to deflect in for his second. Alexei de Witt pulled one back for the Chileans from a penalty corner, the South African keeper beaten by a big deflection off the first wave’s leg. But Nathan Ansell put in another one for South Africa, the penalty corner injector pouncing on the rebound after Julián Villanueva made a good initial save.
Player of the match Hans Neethling commented on what the team did differently from the previous matches: “We backed our midfielders more and we played shorter passes.”
Korea vs New Zealand (Full-Time Score: 2-3)
New Zealand came from behind for a 2-3 win in a hotly contested match against Korea. The Koreans scored first, JunYeol Lim working beautifully in the circle for a reverse stick goal. Jonty Elms struck back to level the scores at 1-1 just before half-time.
James Hickson rounded off some good inter-passing to give the junior Black Sticks the lead for the first time after 37 minutes. But Korea drew level within a minute, Dohyun Lim rifling a penalty corner in low at the keeper’s left foot. New Zealand then reclaimed the lead, Luke Aldred setting Scott Cosslett up with a beautifully executed short corner variation. Korea pulled their keeper off in the dying minutes to chase the game but the Kiwis absorbed the sustained period of pressure to hold on for the win.
Player of the match Scott Cosslett looked ahead to the New Zealanders’ next match against South Africa: “We know we’re a good team. We’ve played them before, it was a good match, they’re a good team too, so we’ve got to just go away, prep right and come back with the same energy and fire that we had today.”
To see the current pool standings after Day 7, click here.
To see the full match schedule, click here.
FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup Malaysia 2023 - 11 December 2023
Bukit Jalil National Hockey Stadium, Kuala Lumpur
Result: Match 25
Malaysia 4-1 Egypt
Player of the Match: Shahmie Suhaime (MAS)
Umpires: Hideki Kinoshita (JPN) and Hyosik You (KOR)
Result: Match 26
Belgium 12-0 Canada
Player of the Match: Max Luyten (BEL)
Umpires: Bruce Bale (ENG) and Jonathan von Hoesslin (RSA)
Result: Match 27
South Africa 5-1 Chile
Player of the Match: Hans Neethling (RSA)
Umpires: Nazmi Kamaruddin (MAS) and Rajput Sourabh (IND)
Result: Match 28
Korea 2-3 New Zealand
Player of the Match: Scott Cosslett (NZL)
Umpires: Antonio Ilgrande (ITA) and Lukasz Zwierzchowski (POL)