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WFCQ 2016 AOFC: Day 3 – 04.02.2016

The last of the group matches were played today, and Japan & Thailand were the winners of the group stage. All the semi-finalists are now decided - Thailand will play Singapore, while Japan will meet Australia. With three teams from AOFC qualifying to WFC 2016, it means that the winners of the semi-finals are guaranteed a spot in Riga, while the bronze match will be the ultimate decider of who wins & looses, in regards of the qualification spots.

Today´s first match was Singapore v Japan and with both teams already assured of a semi-final berth this match was more about pride and wanting to finish as number one in their group. Both teams played to win and it was an exciting game with the teams trading goals and the lead several times in the match. While Singapore had six different goalscorers, Jumpei Oya starred for Japan with 3. The match ended 6-6, which seemed a fair result for both teams.

Best Players: Jin Quan Lim (SIN) & Kenta Oguchi (JPN)

Next up was Thailand v Australia which had become the most important group match yet, as the result of this game would determine the fate of not just these teams, but also Korea. A win to Thailand would keep Korea´s hopes alive, while either a win to Australia or a draw, would bring them to a sad end.

Thailand started very strongly in the tournament against Korea but today against the Australians they were more conservative in their play and perhaps a little nervous knowing what the result could mean for them. Australia was the first to score and then Thailand equalised. This is how the scoring went for most of the match. Only in the last period did Thailand eventually take the lead, through a beautiful goal to Watcharapon Onsuk (his first for this event), only to have Jonathon Veron equalise for Australia with just a few minutes left in the game. With both teams knowing that a draw secured their spots in the semi-final the final minutes did not see any active play, a heartbreaking sight for Korea, who knew their chances were also over.

Best Players: Pawat Thaidit (THA) & Jonathon Veron (AUS)


The final group match was Malaysia v Korea to decide 3rd & 4th place in Group B. Despite their disappointment, the Korean team management did a good job in preparing their players for the game, but they faced a determined opponent in Malaysia. Korea opened the scoring after 5mins and from here they never gave up the lead. In the second period Korea outscored Malaysia 5-1, including two short-handed goals, while Malaysia´s score came from a fantastic zorro goal by Zephaniah Chong En Wei. Malaysia saw a glimmer of hope when Chiam Ter Min scored two goals in the last period but Korea held them off, scoring a couple of their own to make the final score of 8-4

This match will now count in the calculation for 5th-7th place along with the matches that each of them will play against New Zealand over the next two days.

Best Players: Chiam Ter Min (MAS) & Ji Hwan Yeon (KOR)