Rourkela: The final day of classification matches of the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 were played in the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium here as Argentina and India registered wins to end their campaigns in the 9th position, while Malaysia and France finished on wins as well, ending their campaigns in the 13th position.
Losses for Wales and South Africa, saw them finish 11th, while Japan and Wales ended their campaigns in 15th place.
Argentina beat Wales 6-0, France thrashed Chile 4-2, and Malaysia trounced Japan 3-2.
India took on South Africa in their final game and seemed to feed off the energy of the raucous spectators from the first whistle. The hosts registered a 5-2 win.
Abhishek opened the scoring for India in the 5th minute as a powerful slap pass by Harmanpreet Singh found him in space at the top of the circle and he unleashed a vicious shot that was past Gowan Jones in the blink of an eye.
India added a second goal towards the end of first quarter as Harmanpreet dispatched a powerful dragflick between the keeper and the post defender off a penalty corner won by Mandeep Singh.
South Africa’s best chance of the first half came in the 18th minute as an aerial ball over the Indian defence allowed Keenan Horne to get a shot away from the right, but his shot hit the post and deflected out of bounds.
The third quarter produced much more balance as South Africa dominated possession and territory but India looked like a constant threat on the counter.
Abhishek had the best chance early in the half as a great pass by Akashdeep found him with just Jones to beat, but his tentative shot was saved well by the rushing keeper.
At the end of the quarter another Indian counter attack allowed Abhishek to be the provider and his cross from the right deflected off a South African stick and fell to Shamsher at the far post who tapped the ball in to extend India’s lead.
Akashdeep Singh added a fourth in the final quarter as he deflected a cross by Jarmanpreet at the front post that snuck through the legs of Jones.
South Africa scored a goal right after sparking unlikely hopes of a comeback, but India added a 5th goal through Sukhjeet to put the game beyond their opponents.
Dayaan Cassiem earned a penalty stroke in the final minute cutting through the entire defence before being brought down by Sreejesh. The stroke was dispatched by Mustapha Cassiem, bringing the final score to 2-5 in favour of the hosts.