#FIHSeriesFinals: Green Machine Suffers The Blues As Host Nation Sweeps To Victory

France were crowned champions of the third and final FIH Men’s Series Finals in le Touquet Paris-Plage after they defeated higher-ranked Ireland in a fast paced and entertaining match. A large and vociferous crowd urged the home side to victory and the men in blue delivered.

Earlier in the day, Korea had put on a dominant display to beat Scotland by a comprehensive 5-0 score-line.

The results mean that France and Ireland finished first and second respectively and will go to the FIH Olympic qualifiers in October and November. Korea finished third and Scotland fourth.

Korea v Scotland

The seventh and last day of the FIH Men’s Series Finals in France started with the classification match between the defeated semi-finalists Korea and Scotland.

Both teams were looking to finish their FIH Series Finals campaign with a win, a respectable third place and, importantly, world ranking points.

It is was a fiercely competitive first quarter, although neither team could find a way through to goal. Korea could count themselves unlucky as they hit the post, but that was the nearest either team came to scoring.

The previous day’s disappointment was taking its toll on both teams and the players seemed to be lacking energy in those opening minutes.

David Forrester, the Scottish goalkeeper, was the busiest of the two goalkeepers in the second quarter but, although he saved several earlier attempts, he could do nothing about Jeon Byungjin’s perfectly executed shot. Korea went into the half-time break 1-0  up.

One minute into the second half, Korea’s captain Lee Namyong scored a stunning second goal.

Scotland fought back but were sometimes a little wasteful in front of goal and this was their downfall.

The third goal for the Asian team came from a penalty corner, which Jang Jonghyun converted with a fast and low shot.

Kim Sunghyun added to the score with a well-worked goal that involved some good team passing. Scotland’s woes increased when Jang Jonghyun scored his second penalty corner to give his side an unassailable 5-0 lead.

The result means Korea finish in third position and Scotland fourth in the third and final FIH Men’s Series Finals.

Korea captain Lee Namyong said: “It was good winning today. We have finished the competition well so we are all happy!”

FIH Series Finals Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, 2019
Result: Korea 5, Scotland 0
Umpires: Michiel Otten (NED), Nick Bennett (ENG)

Ireland v France 

Both Ireland and France had topped their respective pools on route to the semi-finals and final of this competition, so the spectators knew they were in for a showpiece match between two teams in good form.

Urged on by a vociferous crowd, France went on the attack as they heaped pressure on the Ireland defence. Only another outstanding performance from David Harte in the Ireland goal withstood the early pressure. Eventually something had to give and it was Blaise Rogeau who absolutely smashed the ball from the top of the circle to beat Harte and give Les Bleus the lead.

Ireland came back into the game just before the end of the quarter when Sean Murray danced his way through the defence to score the equaliser.

The second quarter continued at the same breathless level of intensity and, again, it was France who made pressure pay. Victor Charlet converted a penalty corner and the first half ended ‘advantage France’.

Charlet doubled his tally five minutes into the second half. It was from another penalty corner and Charlet’s stunning shot momentarily silenced the crowds of spectators. As the centre pass was taken, the support from the French part of the stands was ear-splitting.

Ireland never gave up on the match and chased envy last ball but this was France’s day. The icing on the cake came when Victor Charlet was revealed as the tournament’s top goal scorer and his team mate Charles Masson was voted Best Player.

Victor Charlet said: “It is an awesome feeling to win this tournament in France. It was important for us to win in order to confirm the progress French hockey is making. It is something we showed at the World Cup and we have continued to show progress here.”

FIH Series Finals Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, 2019
Result: Ireland 1, France 3
Umpires: Diego Paul Walker (ENG), Fraser Bell (SCO)

Individual Awards:

Best Player – Charles Masson (FRA)

Best Junior Player – Cameron Golden (SCO)

Best Goalkeeper – Kim Jaehyeon (KOR)

Top Scorers:

Shane O’Donoghue (IRE)

Victor Charlet (FRA)

Jang Jonghyun (KOR)