Russia and USA to play for third place at Men’s Hockey World League Round 2 event in Trinidad & Tobago
Canada and Japan have sealed their tickets to the World Cup qualifier stage of the Hockey World League after winning their respective semi-finals at the men’s Round 2 event currently taking place in Tacarigua, Trinidad & Tobago.
Canada (FIH Hero World Ranking: 11) fell behind to an early goal from Marat Khairullin in their semi-final clash with Russia (WR: 22), but three penalty corner strikes in the second quarter put the north Americans firmly in control with Mark Pearson levelling before Scott Tupper scored twice. Pearson claimed his second goal of the match 12 minutes from time, scoring from open play to confirm Canada’s appearance in the competition final as well as taking an important step on the journey towards qualification for the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018.
Canada’s opponents in the competition final will be Japan (WR: 16), who claimed a fifth successive win at the event by seeing off the challenge of USA (WR: 29). Following two goal-less opening quarters, competition top scorer Kenta Tanaka finally broke the deadlock in the 38th minute with his eighth goal of the tournament, all of which have come from open play. The result was sealed in the final minute of the match when Kaito Tanaka rolled the ball into an empty net after the USA had gone for broke by replacing goalkeeper Brandon Karess with an outfield player in search of an equaliser. USA will now face Russia in the play-off for third place.
Earlier in the day, Switzerland (WR: 30) defeated Chile (WR: 49) 4-2 to reach the 5-6 play-off match, where they will face hosts Trinidad & Tobago (WR: 33), who were 3-1 winners against Caribbean rivals Barbados (WR: 49).
The action continues on Sunday 2nd April, with Chile playing Barbados in the 7-8 play-off at 1315 (Local time UTC/GMT -4) before Switzerland face Trinidad & Tobago at 1530 in the fight for 5th place. The 3-4 play-off between Russia and USA gets underway at 1745 ahead of the showpiece final between Canada and Japan fixture at 2000.
Like all the Round 2 events, the competition in Tacarigua – which is located around 20 kilometres inland from capital city Port of Spain – consists of teams that came through the first phase of the competition and nations that were automatically given a bye through to Round 2 due to their higher placement in the FIH Hero World Rankings. The highest ranked teams will enter the World League at the Semi-Final stage of the Hockey World League which will take place in this summer.
The top two finishers from the men’s Round 2 events in Dhaka (4-12 Mar 2017), Belfast (11-19 Mar 2017) and Tacarigua, (25 Mar-2 Apr 2017) are certain to qualify for the Hockey World League Semi-Finals, being joined in the World Cup qualifier phase by the two highest ranked of the third placed finishers from those three events. Malaysia and China took the top two places at the event in Dhaka, with Egypt (FIH Hero World Ranking: 20) finishing in third place. In Belfast, Ireland claimed a first place finish ahead of France, with Scotland (WR: 27) taking third position.
To learn more about how the teams progress through the competition in the hope of reaching the 2018 Hockey World Cups, click here, with more details about all of the HWL events available by clicking here.
You can keep track of the tournament in Tacarigua on the official competition pages by clicking here and on FIH’s social media channels using the #HWL2017 hashtag.