Japan and USA both registered victories in their respective matches against South Africa and Mexico on Saturday and as a result, these two teams will clash with each other to grab the top spot in Pool B of the FIH Men’s Series finals. Meanwhile, South Africa and Mexico will play to reach the cross-overs. The USA thrashed Mexico 9-0 whereas Japan defeated South Africa 2-0. After the win, USA’s hockey player Paul Singh said that he is pretty happy with the team’s result and also expressed his happiness on playing hockey in India. “We just wanted to score scores in general. We are very confident as we trained pretty well going into this match. We wanted to press Mexico as we knew they would turn it over pretty early. It’s a good result and zero goals against us show that our defence is pretty solid,” Paul Singh told ANI.Also Read - China Blasts US, Japan Rhetoric Ahead of Quad Summit
“My mom and dad are from Punjab. My dad is from Ludhiana and My mom is from Jalandhar. I wish they would have come here to see my match. I love it in India and there was a big crowd here to watch us play. It’s cool and I enjoy it a lot. I have never played hockey in India so it’s pretty cool,” he added. The match between the USA and Mexico started on the right foot for the USA team. They scored just three minutes after the initial center pass-through Michael Barminski Jr from short distance after a fine cross from his teammate Alberto Montilla. Also Read - India vs Pakistan Hockey Match In Asia Cup Is Expected To Attract All-Time High Viewership: AHF CEO Tayyab Ikram
One minute before the end of the first quarter, Julian Croonenberghs deflected a powerful shot from Paul Singh into the goal, giving them a 2-0 lead. The game continued to follow the same pattern in the second half. Mexico struggled to create meaningful attacking opportunities while Rutger Wiese’s players’ offensive efficiency continued. Sean Cicchi, twice with drag-flicks from penalty corners, Alberto Montilla, after a beautiful cross from Kei Kaeppeler, Christian de Angelis, from short distance, Michael Barminski Jr, after a nice team combination in a short space within the circle and finally William Holt, from a penalty stroke, consolidated the convincing USA performance. Also Read - Sec of Defence Lloyd Austin, Russian Defence Chief Sergei Shoigu Speak Over Phone, First Time Since Ukraine War
“It was actually a tough game for us because last year we played Mexico and the score was 5-5, so we weren’t quite expecting tonight’s result but we knew we had a lot of potentials and that we could play well against them. We’re very pleased with the result,” USA’s Tyler Sundeen said after the win against Mexico. On the other hand, Japan registered a 2-0 victory over South Africa as their first goal was scored by Kentaro Fukuda.
One goal down, South Africa had to show a more offensive face in the second half. They did so, but Japan was in determined mood and, despite Rassie Pieterse’s outstanding performance, Japan doubled their lead with Kazuma Murata concluding a magnificent team movement with a delightful deflection goal.
“We had a good game today. All the players worked hard together and showed a good mentality. We had some really nice phases in that match. Against the USA, we will need to improve further our performance,” Japan’s captain Manabu Yamashita said after the win against South Africa.
The USA will take on Japan on June 10 whereas South Africa and Mexico will clash with each other on the same date.