France and Pakistan joined New Zealand in the semi-finals of the FIH Hockey Men’s Nations Cup Poland 2023/24 after playing out a 11-goal thriller.  

Pool B saw Les Bleus finish first, followed by Pakistan. Malaysia finished third after defeating Canada in the first game of the day. 

Pakistan 5-6 France 

France topped Pool B with a third straight win, beating Pakistan 5-6 in a nail-biter. The Olympic hosts turned on the heat from the word go and came prepared to exploit the weaknesses in Pakistan’s backline. It was Victor Charlet who broke the deadlock in the seventh minute. With a minute to go for the first quarter, Eliot Curty found Blaise Rogeau, who sent a rocket that bounced off the bar for their second. There was no coordination at the back as Gaspard Baumgarten made it 0-3 with seven minutes to go in the first half. Two minutes later, Charlet got his second through another penalty corner. 

For all their defensive frailties, Pakistan has been one of the most exciting teams to watch while attacking. One such attempt in the 26th minute led to a penalty stroke that was converted with ease by Abu Mahmood. Suddenly, the French were not as organised as they were before, allowing Pakistan to get under their skin. A penalty corner in the 29th minute saw Sufyan Khan’s initial shot saved only for Murtaza Yaqoob to score the rebound.

The third quarter was all France again as Charlet delivered from the penalty corner yet again with an emphatic finish for his hat-trick in the 39th minute. Pakistan responded in the first minute of the final quarter thanks to Ashraf Rana Waheed who finished a superb ball from Amad Butt, who found him from a long way out. Pakistan continued to threaten Les Bleus and Butt was sensational in the build-up for the fourth, as Rehman Abdul made it 4-5 in the 52nd minute. 

Pakistan were all over France and a penalty corner in the 56th minute made it 5-5 as Hannan Shahid reacted quickly after Mahmood’s initial shot was saved. Everyone believed the comeback was complete, but Pakistan switched off and Charlet, who started the scoring, finished it with another penalty corner. 

Victor Charlet of France was full of praise for Pakistan after winning the match and said: “It’s hard to describe this game - lots of goals. Against a huge hockey nation like Pakistan, you have to be good as they have many great players. You have to be focused and defend well as they are skilful. It’s not our best game but we are happy with the win.”


Malaysia 4-2 Canada

Malaysia got their first win of the Pool phase as they beat Canada 4-2 in Gniezno. They quickly set the tone for the game, scoring a field goal thanks to Fitri Saari smashing one in from the centre of the circle in the second minute. The second goal came four minutes later when Faizal Saari made a good run down the left before squaring it for Abu Kamal Azrai, who lost balance and fell as he fired in. A simple and beautiful penalty corner technique from Syed Cholan gave the Speedy Tigers their third goal in the 22nd minute. 

Canada started showing their aggressive side in the second half and were rewarded in the 41st minute when Rooopkanwar Dhillon’s powerful penalty corner snuck in. But the celebrations were short-lived as Muhajir Abdu Rauf’s shot was deflected off an unlucky Thomson Harris. 

For all their efforts, the Malaysians couldn’t keep a cool head and disciplinary issues almost cost them. Maansarovar Sidhu came up with a clever finish in the 51st minute to take advantage as Faris Harizan got a 10-minute yellow card towards the end of the third quarter. In the end,  Malaysians came up with the goods to see off the game. 

Marhan Jalil of Malaysia won the player of the match and said: “We had good motivation to play today. We started well and only scored one penalty corner. We will study our videos to increase the percentage of our conversion.”

To see the current standings in the FIH Hockey Men’s Nations Cup, click here.

FIH Hockey Men’s Nations Cup  – 5 June 2024 

Hockey Stadium - Gniezno, (POL)


Result: Match 13 (M)

Malaysia 4-2 Canada   

Player of the match: Marhan Jalil

Umpires: Titus Ngolia (KEN), Tim Bond (NZL), Munashe Mashoko (ZIM-video)


Result: Match 14 (M)

Pakistan 5-6 France   

Player of the match: Victor Charlet  

Umpires: Erik Etsebeth (RSA),  Harry Collinson (ENG), Michael Dutrieux (BEL-video)