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Hockey World Cup 2018: France 1-0 China: 5 talking points

  • 5 Major Talking Points from the France China game from the 2018 Hockey World Cup
Mohak Arora
ANALYST
Feature
Modified 20 Dec 2019, 20:19 IST

2nd Pool A v 3rd Pool B - FIH Men
2nd Pool A v 3rd Pool B - FIH Men's Hockey World Cup

France defeated China 1-0 at the Kalinga Stadium in the second crossover match of the 2018 Men's Hockey World Cup via a solitary goal from Timothee Clement.

In a battle between the two lowest ranked sides of this World Cup, Les Blues came on top as the World Cup debutants, eliminating China.

The French team attacked from the word go and finally found a way through the resilient Chinese defense in the sixth minute of the third quarter as Maximillien Branicki's shot was deflected past the Chinese goalkeeper by Timothee Clement.

France is now set to face top-ranked Australia in the quarter-finals.


#5 Keep shooting, the ball will eventually hit the back of the net

Timothee Clement celebrating his goal
Timothee Clement celebrating his goal

The old adage, "Keep shooting and you will eventually get the goal" proved right once again in the second crossover match of the 2018 Hockey World Cup.

France had seven shots in the first half to China's none, and eventually scored with their eighth shot of the game.

Jeroen Delmee's men earned four back-to-back penalty corners in the first three minutes of the game but the Chinese defenders, especially Guo Jin, put their body on the line to ensure the ball was kept out of the net.

In the sixth minute of the third quarter, man of the match Victor Lockwood created a spectacular opportunity which ended up with a Branicki shot cleverly deflected in by Clement.

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#4 China had no Plan B

Chinese national team warming up for their match
Chinese national team warming up for their match

The Chinese team managed an impressive 2-2 draw against the English team and then drew 1-1 against Ireland before losing 11-0 to the mighty Australians.

The impressive draws showed that China can be lethal on the counter-attack but their weakness in building attacks from the back were highlighted in their last group match.

Again, in this match, the French team committed players in an orderly fashion keeping their formation intact. The Chinese coach was expected to play a clever hand and reveal some tricks from under his sleeve but that never happened as the Chinese forwards looked out of sorts in the closing minutes when they saw the French team trying to defend their slender 1-0 lead.


#3 Wang Caiyu had a good game

Wang Caiyu making a save against England
Wang Caiyu making a save against England

The Chinese team conceded four back-to-back penalty corners in the first three minutes of the match. The first three were ably blocked by the Chinese defense who put their body on line to ensure that Wang Caiyu wasn't called into action. The fourth penalty corner breached the Chinese defenders but Caiyu stepped up to make an important save.

In the ninth minute, he padded another shot from the French forwards. Two minutes later, he charged down to stop Clement from scoring a goal.

The 6 feet 4 inch goalkeeper was finally beaten when Clement deflected Branicki's shot in the back of the net. After conceding 11 goals in 60 minutes against Australia, the youngster had a good game against the French team.


#2 China showed a never-say-die attitude

France v China - FIH Men
France v China - FIH Men's Hockey World Cup

China were coming back off a 11-0 loss against Australia while France had just beaten the World No.2 Argentine side 5-3 to set up this encounter between the two teams.

The Chinese, clearly starting the match as underdogs, went down a goal in the third quarter of the match. Without any other tactical plan, the Chinese team went down to 10 men as AO Yang got a yellow card with only five minutes to go on the clock.

Even after going down to 10 men, the Chinese team went up the pitch and earned a penalty corner in the dying moments of the game and further went down to 9 men as Du Talake stopped a France counter with a foul.


#1 Write off France at your own peril

French team celebrating the goal against China
French team celebrating the goal against China

Les Blues came to India as the lowest ranked side in the tournament and narrowly picked up a point as they lost 2-1 to the Black Sticks in their first game of the Pool A match. They drew 1-1 against the Red Sticks and had just one point after two games.

With the World No.2 Argentine side up next, France's World Cup journey appeared to have ended. But, the French team shocked the world and especially the Argentine fans, as they pulled a 5-3 win.

The French team beat China to set up a quarter-final against the World No.1 Australian team and anyone writing them off before the game could be in for a big shock.

Published 11 Dec 2018, 08:38 IST
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