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Women´s WFCQ 2017 AOFC - Day 4 – 03.02.2017
Only two matches were played today in the Asia Oceania WFC 2017 qualifications but they were two very important games. In the quarterfinals the 2nd and 3rd placed teams from the groups played to decide the final two AOFC teams that would qualify for WFC 2017.
First up was Thailand v Korea. Korea have shown good development over the years and their women´s team have returned to international competition after a 3yr break. Thailand are new to international floorball but have found a good group of players with a background in field hockey. At times, Korea found it difficult to get out of their own area with no strong opening moves, relying on high balls to put the ball up the court. The Thais relied more on a fast running game with counter-attacks out of their defensive zone.
The game was very tight in the first 30mins but once the first goal went in then there were 4 scored in the 10 mins before the end of the second period. Both teams also had goals disallowed. Two quick goals to Thailand to start the final period allowed them to start to control the game a little more, even going out to a 5-2 lead. But Korea were not done. Two goals in two minutes from Ran Kim, the second being a great shot from a perfect free-hit pass by Yejin Shim, brought them back to within one goal. The pressure on the Thais grew but their defence didn´t break again and they held on for a 5-4 win and qualified for the final round.
Korea lodged a protest after the match over their disallowed goal, but the protest was not upheld as the current IFF regulations do not allow for the use of video review to overturn a referee´s decision during a match. Video review is only used for disciplinary matters, except in events where the goal-camera technology is in use, such as it was in the Men´s WFC 2016 in Latvia.
The second quarterfinal was between Singapore and New Zealand. No matter the result of this game, New Zealand has had their best tournament ever. They won their first international and played a very strong game against top-ranked Australia, showing that they are on the right track with their development. Singapore are one of the strongest countries in Asia with floorball being played in schools and with well-established competitions at all levels.
Like in their game against Australia, the New Zealand defence was the key to the match being very tight in the first 30mins. New Zealand had been able to attack a little more than against Australia, but finally Singapore got through and a couple of quick goals broke the resolve of the Kiwi defence and a 4-0 second period set Singapore up for the win. The New Zealanders didn´t have the legs in the last period to stage any real comeback, but they did manage to get the last goal of the game, with a final score of 7-1. For Singapore, seven goals and seven different goal scorers shows great depth in the team, which they will need when they face off against their European & Americas opponents in December in Slovakia.
Although the AOFC qualifying teams are decided there is still plenty of floorball to come from New Zealand. Play-offs for 5th-8th, as well as semi-finals and all the final placement matches are ahead.
Saturday 4th February
For all the standings and player statistics visit the AOFC Event Page.
Photos: Masanori Udagawa
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