England’s medal hopes ended at junior World Cup

[img_assist|nid=8705|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=100]England U21 men lost out 2-4 to group winners Malaysia in their final pool match at the Hero Hockey Junior Men’s World Cup in New Delhi, India, on Monday.

“It was an extremely disappointing result, and in the first half particularly we struggled,” said coach Jon Bleby. “In the second half we competed very well, but in pushing forward for goals we got caught out at the other end.”

The Asian outfit took the lead after 15 minutes through Mohd Bin Hashim from a penalty corner, and they doubled their lead 11 minutes later with an attack down the inside right channel. The initial shot came off England goalkeeper Harry Gibson, but the rebound was pushed in by Firhan Ashari.

England pulled back a goal on 31 minutes with a good hard shot to the goalkeeper’s head side from Luke Taylor, and they prepared to step up their play after the break.

However, Malaysia were first to score in the second half, Muhammad Bin Baharam hitting home on 44 minutes from a scrappy melee in the circle which England failed to clear and left them 1-3 down.

Things got worse on 57 minutes with Fitri Saari scoring with a reverse stick shot that took Gibson by surprise.

Phil Roper pulled back a goal on 65 minutes from a penalty corner, and England took ‘keeper Gibson off in place of a kicking back as they desperately went in search of goals for the last three-and-a-half minutes.

But Malaysia held firm to top the group, while England will face Egypt on Thursday in the minor places play-off, with a final match on Saturday.