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In a sunny but windy Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, suspense was at its maximum as Korea qualified for the semi-finals against Egypt after a shootout. Scotland also qualified after they won 1-0 in a tough and tight game against Chile.
Scotland v Chile
To open this fourth day dedicated to the quarter finals, we saw the national team of Scotland, who ended up second of the pool A, playing against Chile who qualified after finishing third of the Pool B. During a rather windy day in Le Touquet, both teams were fighting hard but making no difference in the score by the end of the first quarter.
Led by their captain, Fernando Renz, the Chileans were thinking they had opened the score sheet with a shot from Andrès Pizaro but this was disallowed by the Umpires as the number 28 Nils Strabucchi deviated with the back of his stick. Scotland consequently received two Penalty Corner opportunities, but one was stopped by Adrian Henriquez, the Chilean goalkeeper and the second ended up outside the posts.
Both teams were once attacking and once defending for the better part of the second quarter and you could easily understand that neither of them were ready to lose their spot to the semi-finals. Scotland and Chile went to the bench for half-time with a 0-0 score.
Five minutes into the second half, number 14 Cameron Golden scored a stunning field goal which came straight after his team mate Craig Falconer had to go off the field because of a hit on his knee and Maldonado Jose, the number 9 from Chile, received a green card. This goal saw a joyous release on the Scottish bench.
The National team of Chile continued to try and hit hard on Scotland defence without success which created many open spaces and counterattack opportunities for the Scots. Luckily for the Chileans, none were converted.. At the end of the third quarter, Scotland was 15 minutes away from a qualification to the semi-finals.
In the fourth and last period of this quarter-final match, Scotland monopolised the ball and played it safe to avoid any risks. Chile only had a few opportunities in front of the goal despite all their efforts to steal the ball from Scotland. Scottish head coach Derek Forsyth, and his men secured their qualification to the semi-finals after a well-played match which ended with a score of 1-0.
Scotland’s captain, Nicky Parkes said: “it was a tough match for us and I think we are going to have to play quite a lot better against France if we want to get to the finals.”
FIH Series Finals Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, 2019
Result: Scotland 1, Chile 0
Umpires: Nick Bennett (ENG), Kris Cholewa (IRL)
Korea v Egypt
With only three world ranking places between Korea (WR:17) and Egypt (WR: 20), this quarter-final draw promised to be eventful. Korea, who finished second in Pool B are possibly one of the favourites for this competition. On the other hand, Egypt also played extremely well even creating a stunning upset against the “Green Machine”, Ireland to finish third in Pool A.
Egypt came out with all guns firing in the first quarter of the match. They won two penalty corners in a row, both stopped by Kim Jaehyeon the Korean goalkeeper. Although both teams produced some of their best hockey, the score remained unchanged in the first quarter.
In a rather electric atmosphere, Korea and Egypt couldn’t be separated until Korea’s Lee Jungjun shot the ball into Mohamed Sayed’s goal.
Straight after the half-time break the team led by Ahmed Ezz, the captain, equalised with a goal from Ahmed Abd Elhakim. The pace of the match dropped as both teams sought a way to break the deadlock. The pace might have dropped but the tension and pressure remained high considering what was at stake – a place in the semi-finals of these FIH Series Finals and the possibility of going through to a FIH Olympic qualifier.
It was Egypt who scored next. A brilliant pass from Ahmed Mohsen to Walid Metwalli saw the striker convert to give his side the lead. Korea continued to press forwards and with only 18 seconds before the final whistle, Jung Manjae brought the scores level and sent the match to shoot-out.
This is where the experience of Korea paid dividends as they won the shoot-out 3-0 and so will play against Ireland in the semi-finals on Saturday 22 June.
Korea’s captain Lee Namyong said: “We are happy of course and it was a very tough game. We need to prepare for the next game and continue to play better and better every match”!
FIH Series Finals Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, 2019
Result: Korea 2, Egypt 2
Shootout (Korea 3, Egypt 0)
Umpires: Fraser Bell (SCO), Nazmi Kamaruddin (MAS)
Action in le Touquet-Paris-Plage continues Tomorrow with:
Singapore v Ukraine at 15:30 CEST
Chile v Egypt at 18:00 CEST
Semi Finals on Saturday will be:
Ireland v Korea at 15:30 CEST
France v Scotland at 18:00 CEST