Lausanne, Switzerland: The Netherlands and Malaysia prevailed in their quarter-final and semi-final matches on the third day of action in Oman on Tuesday to set up a tantalising final to crown the first ever men’s FIH Hockey5s world champions.
The Netherlands defeated India in the last-eight playoff and then Oman in their semi-final to book their passage into the final.
Meanwhile, Malaysia overcame Trinidad and Tobago and then a spirited Poland to make their way through to the gold-medal match.
That leaves Oman and Poland to battle it out for bronze.
Meanwhile, in the Challenger Trophy, contested by the teams that didn’t make it through to the quarter-finals, Pakistan will come up against Switzerland for the spoils.
This is how the third day’s action unfolded…
The Netherlands finally ended Oman’s fantastic run in the hosts’ first ever FIH World Cup with a relatively comfortable 5-3 win in the first semi-final of the day. The Dutch dictated matters in the first half and built up a 3-0 lead before the break. Oman fought back well to win the second half, but the Netherlands used all their experience to control possession and dictate the pace. The Dutch are deserved finalists, while Oman can approach the bronze medal match with their heads held very high.
Netherlands captain Imre Vos speaking after the win said, “Feels amazing to be in the finals. It has been a great tournament so far with fantastic opponents, and we have had to stay alert the whole game. Each time we lost focus a little bit throughout the tournament, opponents have punished us, so it has been tough, but very happy to have reached the finals despite that.”
Malaysia survived a late onslaught from Poland to win the second semi-final 4-3. Both teams played a tight, disciplined first half and the scores were locked at 1-1 at half-time. Malaysia went ahead just after half-time with a long range shot, and then added two more to lead 4-1 with six minutes to play. Poland staged a comeback, scoring twice in the late stages before missing a challenge opportunity as the clock ran down.
Malaysia captain, Akhimullah Anuar, who got on the scoresheet twice in the semi-final, speaking after the match said: “I have to give credit to the team. We have sacrificed a lot to get here. We did not start the tournament in the best way, with the draw against Oman, but since then have improved every game to get this far.”
Meanwhile, in the playoffs for 5th – 8th place India had a comfortable 9-4 win over Kenya, India’s Utam Singh and Kenya’s Moses Ademba bagging hat-tricks, while Egypt’s Hossameldin Ragab scored a hat-trick in his side’s 8-5 victory over Trinidad and Tobago.
Earlier in the day in the quarter-finals, the Netherlands came from behind three times in a 7-4 win over India. It was three goals in the three minutes before the break that eventually gave the Dutch a 5-3 lead, and even a hat-trick from Mohammed Raheel’s wasn’t enough to get India back into the game.
Hosts Oman absorbed all the early pressure from Kenya and then took full control for a 5-2 win, Khalid Al Shaaibi contributing a hat-trick and helping his team to the semi-finals in their first ever FIH World Cup.
Poland squeaked home 2-1 in a thrilling encounter with Egypt. Goalkeepers Maciej Pacanowski and Mohamed Hemid delivered excellent performances, and with the scores locked at 1-1 going into a frantic final minute, they were both called on to make desperate saves. Poland clinched the match from a challenge with time up on the clock.
Malaysia trailed three times in their 5-4 victory over Trinidad and Tobago before building a 5-3 lead after a strong start to the second half. Trinidad and Tobago came back hard in the final minute, scoring once and being denied an equaliser by an excellent Shahrul Saupi save with 30 seconds remaining.
In the playoffs for 9th to 12th position, where the teams are vying for the newly introduced Challenger Trophy, Pakistan’s Rana Waheed bagged five goals as his side unravelled Australia 11-3. Switzerland scored two very late goals against New Zealand, with Elias Brönnimann completing his hat-trick in the 29th minute to level the scores and then scoring another in the shootout where the Swiss prevailed 2-1.
In the 13th-16th place playoffs, the USA completely dominated Jamaica in a comfortable 8-1 win. Nigeria came back from two goals down against Fiji, Dennis Solomon equalising in the final minute to complete his hat-trick, and then edged them out 2-1 in the shootout.
FIH Hockey5s World Cup, Oman – 30 January
Result: Match 29 (M)
Netherlands 7 – 4 India
Result: Match 30 (M)
Oman 5 – 2 Kenya
Result: Match 31 (M)
Egypt 1 – 2 Poland
Result: Match 32 (M)
Trinidad and Tobago 4 – 5 Malaysia
Result: Match 33 (M)
Jamaica 1 – 8 USA
Result: Match 34 (M)
Nigeria 5 – 5 Fiji (SO: 2-1)
Result: Match 35 (M)
Pakistan 11 – 3 Australia
Result: Match 36 (M)
Switzerland 7 – 7 New Zealand (SO: 2-1)
Result: Match 37 (M)
India 9 – 4 Kenya
Result: Match 38 (M)
Egypt 8 – 5 Trinidad and Tobago
Result: Match 39 (M)
Netherlands 5 – 3 Oman
Result: Match 40 (M)
Poland 3 – 4 Malaysia