Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Pakistan had to contend with an 11th place finish as they thumped Poland 5-0 in the 11th-12th  place match of the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Saturday.

Pakistan were clearly the superior team between the two sides as they controlled most part of the game with a dominating display. They seemed to have got the mojo back in terms of their accuracy and speed. They created many penalty corners and converted them into goals with ease to put Poland under tremendous pressure throughout the match.

Though Poland created few scoring opportunities during the fag end of the match, they couldn’t convert them into goals.

“There were lots of expectations on us. At the hindsight, we could have performed better in the tournament. We got our form back gradually as the tournament progressed. It was evident from today’s match,” said Pakistan captain Abdul Rana.

“We haven’t got any practice sessions back home since last two and half years due to Covid-19 imposed restrictions. Most of our players had gathered dust and the team took its time to run in a well-oiled manner. Hopefully, our guys will learn valuable lessons from this mega event and carry the mantle of the senior team in the coming years,” said Rana.

Meanwhile, Poland skipper Gracjan Jarzynski said their players have been benefitted immensely by playing against some quality opposition teams.

“We have to improve the pace of our game and short passes while playing with big teams in big tournaments,” said Jarzynski.

South Africa will take on Korea in the last match today.