#FIHSeriesFinals: Goals rain down in le Touquet as Ireland and France qualify for semi-finals

During this last day of pool action, Ireland beat Singapore by a comfortable margin, claiming an automatic qualification spot in the semi-finals. France qualified for the semi-finals in front of its home supporters despite a great performance from Chile. Scotland beat Egypt with a stunning last minute goal and Korea confirmed its qualification for quarter-finals against Ukraine.

Ukraine v Korea (Pool B)

The first match of the third day started with Ukraine against Korea. In beautiful sunny conditions, Korea opened the scoring in the first quarter by converting a penalty corner though Yang Jihun, who shot past Koval Sergii in the Ukraine goal.

It was not long into the second quarter, before Korea struck again with a field goal scored by Hong Eunseong. Toward the end of the second period, Ukraine reduced the goal difference after an incredible collective movement started from their own defence. Shevchuk Vitalii was the player to finish the sweeping movement, pushing the ball past Kim Jaehyeong in the Korea goal.

Korea got the second half underway in style with a well taken penalty corner, converted by Jang Jognhyun. Despite their combative style, Ukraine were no match for Korea team as they hit their rhythm. In the 38th minute Jeon Byungjin made it 4-1 and seconds later Kim JungHoo added to the score line. Only 10 second before the end of the third period, Ukraine were rewarded for their hard work as Andrei Koshelenko scored from a penalty stroke.

Jang Jonghyun scored his second of the day from a penalty corner and  Jeon Byungjin added to his tally with his second and Korea’s seventh. A final flourish saw Lee Jungjun add his name to the scoresheet and the higher-ranked team took a well-deserved 8-2 win, sealing Korea’s position as leaders of Pool B.

Korea’s captain Lee Namyong, said: “We are very happy, in the first half Ukraine played really well with a great defence and we had to step our game up on the second half to score many goals.”


FIH Series Finals Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, 2019

Result: Ukraine 2, Korea 8 (Pool A)

Umpires: Benjamin Peters (USA), Michiel Otten (NED)


Scotland v Egypt (Pool A)

With Egypt leading Pool A and Scotland chasing a win to maintain the possibility of qualifying for the next round, spectators were expecting a tight and competitive match. The first quarter lived up to expectation as both teams played at a high intensity. Great defence meant the score remained 0-0 going into the first break.

With seven minutes of the second quarter remaining Egypt, after a second penalty corner in a row, converted and opened the score through Amr Ibrahim netting in the Scottish goal. Scotland instantly fought back and put together a brilliant collective move to come back to 1-1 with Cameron Golden the last to touch the ball deftly past the ‘keeper.

As the pressure grew, Egypt’s Walid Metwalli received a yellow card. The Scots took advantage of a perfectly executed penalty corner which was converted by  Duncan Riddell to give his team a 2-1 lead.

In the fourth quarter, Egypt gave it their all against a strong Scotland defence. They were rewarded when Ibrahim scored his second goal of the day – a shot that rasped into the roof of the Scottish goal.

With just 40 seconds remaining on the clock, Scotland’s Kenny Bain proved the hero of the hour as he shot home from a penalty corner to give his side the precious three points. It was a fitting moment as Bain also received his 100th international milestone award at the start of the match.

Winning goal scorer Kenny Bain said: “Egypt is a good team, we don’t know much about them as we’ve not played them in a long time. We knew they were good, we knew they had some really really talented players. We definitely did very well. We have a super young team and super talented team and what was amazing is that they were so mature in that end phase and we made it so yeah, we are really happy”


FIH Series Finals Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, 2019

Result: Scotland 3, Egypt 2 (Pool A)

Umpires: Nick Bennett (ENG), Paul Walker (ENG)


Ireland v Singapore (Pool A)

After their loss against Egypt on Sunday, Ireland really needed to win against Singapore to make it through the pool stage. The match couldn’t have started better for the Green Army as Shane O’Donoghue converted a penalty corner within the first minute of the first quarter. Shortly after, it was the same scenario, albeit a different scorer, as Conor Harte netted after the second penalty corner. Ireland made it 3-0 when Matthew Nelson took the ball around the Singapore goalkeeper Sandran Gugan.

The second quarter saw Ireland extend their lead as Stephen Cole and Benjamin Walker both added to the scoreline. The Irish were in dominant form against a young but combative Singapore team.

Straight after the half-time break Ireland won another a penalty corner which was converted by O’Donoghue – his shot flew directly into the top right corner of WEE Wei Xuan’s goal.

Cole got his second just before the end of the third quarter to make it 7-0.

Luke Madeley got his name on the scoresheet when he converted yet another penalty corner and then O’Donoghue completed his hat trick, the first three-goal haul of this FIH Series Finals event in le Touquet.

The final goals came from Conor Harte and Lee Cole to complete a totally dominant performance by the top-ranked team in France. Matthew Bell was awarded a milestone hockey ball to mark his 100th caps for Ireland and what a way to celebrate.

Hat trick scorer Shane O’Donoghue said: “That was a big improvement from two days ago, obviously we were pretty disappointed with the results against Egypt. It was better today and we put a comprehensive win today. The team is very happy!”


FIH Series Finals Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, 2019

Result: Ireland 11, Singapore 0 (Pool A)

Umpires: Tyler Klenk (CAN), Nazmi Kamaruddin(MAS)


France v Chile (Pool B)

An enthusiastic French crowd celebrated their team’s opening goal against Chile – a penalty corner conversion from Victor Charlet.  Even the rain couldn’t dampen the fan’s high spirits.

Both team were playing intensive hockey, although France were dominating proceedings. “Les Bleus” thought they had scored a second goal but the umpire disallowed it for an infringement. It took France until the end of the half before Etienne Tynevez was able to smash a second goal home. To that point, Chile had set up a resolute defence.

The third quarter was equally intense and the French attack were continuously thwarted by the Chile goalkeeper, Nicolas Renz, who pulled off some fantastic saves to keep the score at 2-0.

The final goal came with just three minutes left to play. Pieter Straaten was the scorer as he weaved some magic before slotting the ball home. With this performance France had ensured themselves direct qualification to the semi-finals on Saturday 22 June.

Victor Charlet of France said: “It is perfect to finish off as top of the pool as it was the objective of the team. Today was a very tough game as the Chile team was strong and good with the ball. The job is done and winning the pool is perfect”


FIH Series Finals Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, 2019

Result: France 3, Chile 0 (Pool B)

Umpires: Fraser Bell (SCO), Kris Cholewa (IRL)


The action in le Touquet continues on Thursday with the quarter-finals:

Scotland v Chile at 15:30 CEST

Korea v Egypt at 18:00 CEST