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Korea upset Spain; Pakistan struggle
July 01, 2005 15:24 IST
Korea and Pakistan scored hard-fought victories in their respective league matches to join Australia in the second round of the Rabobank Men's Junior World Cup hockey tournament in Rotterdam on Thursday.
Korea authored the tournament's biggest upset by scoring a 3-1 win over Spain, the overwhelming favourites and ranked No.1 among the 16 participating nations.
It was Korea's second consecutive win in pool A following their 11-0 drubbing of Mexico on Wednesday.
The defeat notwithstanding, Spain, who beat England 1-0 on Wednesday night, are certain to qualify for the next round as they have to play lowly Mexico on Saturday and are expected to win comfortably.
Meanwhile, Pakistan's struggle to find their form and rhythm continued as they scored an unimpressive 2-1 win over Chile for their second success in pool C following a 3-1 result against Belgium.
On a breezy and chilly afternoon, Pakistan found the boards twice towards the end of first-half through Islam Yasir (32nd) and Imran Muhammad (34th) struck.
But their hopes of increasing the tally on resumption were dashed as Chile scored their first goal in the tournament when Thomas Kannegiesser found the target in the 49th minute.
Thereafter, a resurgent Chile stepped up the pace and against all expectations troubled Pakistan no end.
Pakistan, winners of the inaugural World Cup in 1979, were indeed trifle fortunate to survive the Chilean pressure and their relief at the final hooter was palpable.
Chile still have a chance to advance to the next round. They play Belgium on Saturday and a victory will take them to the next phase of the tournament. Both Belgium and Chile have lost both their matches so far.
The Koreans were deserving winners, for they showed greater discipline when under pressure while the Spaniards, in their anxiety to stay in the game committed far too many errors.
Also, the European junior champions contributed to their defeat by playing a stereotyped game that the Koreans read well to successfully repel the attacks.
Korea took the lead in the 28th when Jong Hyun Jang converted a penalty-corner. Spain applied tremendous pressure thereafter and equalised in the 48th as David Alegre swept home a cross from the right wing.
At this critical juncture, the Koreans displayed character and two counter-attacks fetched them two goals in the 52nd and 64th minutes.
Jang came up with another conversion and then Young Jin Kim deflected a cross to the net to provide Korean an insurance goal.