The final day of classification matches of the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 were played in the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Rourkela as Argentina and India registered wins to end their campaigns in ninth position, while Malaysia and France finished on wins as well, ending their campaigns in the 13th position. Losses for Wales and South Africa, saw them finish 11th, while Japan and Wales ended their campaigns in 15th place.
Schedule | Results | Pools | Stats | TV Guide | Watch LIVE on DStv
Match 1: Malaysia v Japan 3-2
Malaysia struck early in the battle of the two Asian teams as a penalty corner won by Ashari was scored by Shello Silverius with Malaysia opting for a variation as Razie Rahim pushed the ball wide for a deflection that beat the post, defender and goalkeeper. Both keepers were immense in the first quarter, saving attempts that looked like they were destined to find the goal. Malaysia captain Marhan Jalil was shown a yellow card in the second half as the team had 12 players on the field and Japan took advantage earning two penalty corners and scoring from the resulting move after the Malaysian rusher had chased down the second penalty corner.
Japan and Malaysia traded goals early in the 32nd minute with Seren Tanaka scoring for Japan, and Shello Silverius scoring his second of the game for Malaysia, to keep the teams on level terms. Two minutes later, Malaysia were back in the lead as Faiz Jali found Irfan all alone in the circle on the left and his flat snuck under the Japanese keeper. Japan had a good spell of pressure to end the third quarter but couldn’t make it count, not finding the mark from three penalty corners. Japan tried to find an equaliser in the final quarter and received a boost when Malaysia were reduced to 10 players, with Najmi Jazlan receiving a yellow card, but the experienced pair of Razie Rahim and Marhan Jalil kept Japan out brilliantly as Malaysia edged them for a narrow win.
Shello Silverius was awarded player of the match and said: “We wanted to finish higher than this overall but for today we wanted to end this tournament on a high and we dedicate this win to our supporters back in Malaysia.”
Match 2: Chile v France 2-4
Chile were coming into the game on the back of two big losses, but showed a lot of heart early in the contest to take the game to France. They created circle entries but the French deep defence held strong to stop the Chilean attackers from getting their shots away. France primarily looked to capitalise on counterattacks, with Chile leaving plenty of space behind their last line of defence. France opened the scoring on one such counter through Eliot Curty and added two more in quick succession through Victor Charlet to stun Chile. Chile kept coming at France and pulled a goal back from a penalty corner of their own, with Franco Beccera getting on the scoresheet to go into the halftime break down 1-3.
The third quarter followed a similar pattern to the first as Chile pressed high in search of a goal while France defended deep and looked for counter-attacking opportunities. France scored first in the second half as a cross by Xavier Gaspard deflected off the keeper’s boot and snuck into the goal. Chile scored one of their own as a long cross from the left found Andres Pizzaro completely unmarked at the back post and he tapped the ball into an empty goal. Chile’s push for another goal went until the final whistle, but while they created plenty of circle entries, they lacked the final shots at the end of it and the game finished 4-2.
Victor Charlet was awarded player of the match and said: “It’s always good to finish with a win. Our target was making quarterfinals and we didn't make that, but at least we ended the tournament with a good performance.”
Match 3: Argentina v Wales 6-0
Before the game, Wales coach Daniel Newcombe said that playing in the ninth/11th place game was a great achievement for the team in their debut campaign but they wouldn’t be happy with just that and wanted to end the campaign with a win.
The Welsh team answered their coach’s call and started the game with a lot of attacking intent. Argentina were stifled for the first quarter as Wales dominated possession in the Argentine half, but they couldn’t find the goal to cap off a great quarter. Argentina were much improved in the second quarter and scored early through Lucas Toscani. They added a second when Martin Ferreiro’s cross from the left side of the circle was inadvertently deflected into his own goal by Joan Wall, to give Argentina a two-goal lead going into the break.
Argentina set the tone early in the third quarter with Agustin Bugallo scoring an absolute ripper on the reverse from the top of the circle. And soon they added a fourth from a penalty corner as Santiago Tarazona pounced on the rebound from the initial save and tapped the ball into the goal. Welsh shoulders started to drop, as despite the competitive nature of the game, Argentina had played the big moments well and put the game beyond the European debutants. Maico Casella, who has been Argentina’s best player in the World Cup, added a fifth goal for the Leones and Ferreiro scored his second to make it six in the final quarter.
Martin Ferreiro was awarded player of the match and said: “It's a great feeling to win two games back to back, even though we didn’t meet our targets overall. You take two big wins on the trot to wrap up a World Cup.”
Match 4: South Africa v India 2-5
India took on South Africa in their final game of the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023, in front of yet another packed crowd in the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Rourkela and seemed to feed off the energy of the raucous crowd from the first whistle. Abhishek opened the scoring for India in the fifth minute as a powerful slap pass by Harmanpreet found him in space at the top of the circle and he unleashed a vicious shot that was past Gowan Jones in the blink of an eye. India added a second goal towards the end of the first quarter as Harmanpreet Singh dispatched a powerful drag flick between the keeper and the post defender off a penalty corner won by Mandeep Singh. South Africa’s best chance of the first half came in the 18th minute as an aerial ball over the Indian defence allowed Keenan Horne to get a shot away from the right, but his shot hit the post and deflected out of bounds.
The third quarter produced much more balance as South Africa dominated possession and territory but India looked like a constant threat on the counter. Abhishek had the best chance early in the half as a great pass by Akashdeep found him with just Jones to beat, but his tentative shot was saved well by the rushing keeper.
At the end of the quarter, another Indian counterattack allowed Abhishek to be the provider and his cross from the right deflected off a South African stick and fell to Shamsher at the far post, who tapped the ball in to extend India’s lead. Akashdeep Singh added a fourth in the final quarter as he deflected a cross by Jarmanpreet at the front post that snuck through the legs of Jones.
South Africa scored a goal right after, sparking unlikely hopes of a comeback, but India added a fifth goal through Sukhjeet to put the game beyond their opponents. Dayaan Cassiem earned a penalty stroke in the final minute cutting through the entire defence before being brought down by Sreejesh. The stroke was dispatched by Mustapha Cassiem, bringing the final score to 2-5 in favour of the hosts.
Abhishek was awarded player of the match and said: “Feels great to have registered another good win and I hope we can take this form forward and play this way in the future games.”