The second day of crossovers at the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 saw Germany and Korea seal their quarterfinal berths with wins over France and Argentina respectively. Germany will now take on England in the quarterfinals, while Korea will face Netherlands, with both matches to be played in Bhubaneswar. France and Argentina head into the 9-16 classification matches, which will take place in Rourkela.
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Match 1: Germany vs France 5-1
France and Germany were both coming off strong performances to end their pool-stage matches. France almost got the better of Argentina in an incredible 5-5 draw where Argentina needed to score with just six seconds left on the clock to get to the draw, while Germany pulled off a huge 7-2 win against Korea in their final game.
The start of the game looked to set up an even contest as France and Germany both traded opportunities in the first half of the opening quarter. Germany had the first big chance through a penalty corner, but Peillat’s flick was at a comfortable height for Thieffry to save.
France then got a big chance to grab the lead as a great run into the circle by Gaspard Baumgarten led to the ball hitting a German foot. It was young star Clement who received the opportunity to score from the corner, but he dragged his effort low and wide.
Germany ended the quarter on the front foot and finally found the opening goal through Marco Miltkau, who had been searching for his first goal in the tournament.
Germany blew the doors open in the second quarter scoring thrice to take a huge lead into the halftime break. Their first goal of the second quarter came via a brilliant counter-attacking move started by Hinrichs that allowed Germany to go two-on-one in the French circle and while the pass to Wellen was initially intercepted by Thieffry, the rebound fell to the German forward who kept his impressive form going by scoring his fifth goal of the tournament.
Captain Mats Grambusch then latched onto a loose ball in the French circle in the 24th minute, to score his second goal of the tournament, and Trompertz made it four for the Honamas, just a minute later, by deflecting a low drag flick by Tom Grambusch, over Thieffry and into the French goal.
Germany slowed things down in the third quarter, secure in the big lead they built up in the first half. France had a great opportunity midway through the quarter, as an aerial ball seemed destined to find Clement free in the German circle, but a leaping Tom Grambusch extended his stick in the air and managed to get a slight touch on the ball that deflected it away from Clement, keeping Germany’s clean sheet intact.
The best chance early in the fourth quarter also fell France’s way, with Masson’s run and piercing pass finding Van Straaten in the circle and his cross nearly found Clement open at the far post, but Hinrich positioned himself perfectly to intercept the pass and clear the danger. France did finally manage to get a consolation goal with two minutes left on the clock as a low drag flick by Clement was deflected over Stadler by a diving Goyet, to give France a goal they deserved for the attacking intent they showed throughout the second half.
Germany got the final goal of the game to put the cherry on top of a great performance, as a quick penalty corner routine caught the French defence unaware and Peillat’s low drag flick met no resistance sealing a 5-1 win for Germany and a spot in the quarterfinals against England.
Captain Mats Grambusch was awarded player of the match and said: “Our first half was among the best hockey we have played as a team, constantly attacking and getting the goals that took us to this win. The second half was a little step down for us in terms of intensity, but we managed the game well overall.”
Match 2: Argentina vs Korea 5-5 (SO: 2-3)
Argentina made a good start to the crossover game, dominating possession and territory, pinning Korea into their own defensive half. The opening goal came rather fortuitously for the Argentines as a deflected ball into the circle was not handled well by the keeper and the ball fell to Maico Casella whose diving shot looped over the keeper and into the goal.
Korea settled into the game after the goal and won a penalty corner late in the first quarter, but Jang’s attempted drag flick did not get the height he wanted and was easily saved.
Korea had a much better start to the second quarter and they turned defence into attack with Jang Jonghyun intercepting a cross in his own circle and bursting out to launch a counter-attack that deflected off a Argentine stick and fell to Sunghyun Kim who had an empty goal to tap the ball into.
Korea then quickly added a second goal to grab the lead as a messed penalty corner routine saw the ball ping across the circle and fall to Junwoo, who tapped it into the goal. Argentina were back level inside a minute as Nicolas Keenan scored from the right after his first deflected shot attempt was saved, but the rebound fell kindly back to him. The goals continued to flow as Argentina scored from a penalty corner through Nicolas della Torre, whose powerful flick dissected the keeper and the post defender to perfection.
Argentina started the second half looking to increase their lead but Korea absorbed the early pressure well, not giving away any penalty corners despite multiple circle penetrations by the Argentines. Finally, Korea had the opportunity to attack 10 minutes into the half and they quickly won a penalty corner that was scored by star drag-flicker Jang Jonghyun.
Once again, one goal brought another as Argentina won a penalty corner of their own within a minute of conceding and Nicolas della Torre scored once again, going to his right and beating the post defender for pace, restoring their lead.
Argentina finally managed to double their lead early in the fourth quarter, as a speculative shot into the Korean circle was deflected by Casella and once again the save by Kim fell right to Keenan, who put the ball through the goalkeeper's legs to give Argentina some breathing room. Korea would not go away however and a penalty corner in the 50th minute saw Jang score his second goal to half his team’s deficit. 5 minutes later, Korea were back level as a penalty corner variation allowed Namyong Lee, the injector, to deflect the low shot by Jang into an empty goal.
The shoot-out capped off a great comeback for Korea as keeper Jaehyeon Kim saved attempts by Domene and Toscani, and kept Ferreiro out long enough for the eight seconds to run out, while Korea scored three out of their four attempts to become the only Asian team to qualify for the quarterfinals where they will now face the Netherlands.
Jang Jonghyun was awarded player of the match and said: “We are really happy as a team to get this win, and we are going to try to go even better in the quarterfinals.”