France edge SA in nine-goal showdown

A 5-4 victory saw France deny South Africa a quarter-final spot at the 2023 FIH Junior World Cup in Malaysia. In their final group match of the tournament, South Africa... Read more
France edge SA in nine-goal showdown

A 5-4 victory saw France deny South Africa a quarter-final spot at the 2023 FIH Junior World Cup in Malaysia.

In their final group match of the tournament, South Africa needed a three-goal win against France to qualify for their first-ever quarter-final. Knowing France’s strong record, having reached prior semi-finals and started this tournament with consecutive wins, the challenge was formidable.

France opened the scoring within 16 seconds through Jules Verrier and added another in the fourth minute by Stanislas Branicki. Despite the setback, South Africa set their sights on staging a comeback.

Hans Neethling struck for South Africa, but Gaspard Denis almost immediately recovered France’s two-goal cushion before Calvin Davis pulled another one back for South Africa as they trailed 3-2 at the end of the first quarter.

Cameron le Forestier equalised for South Africa with a spinning strike, but Mathis Clement’s brilliant strike put France back in the lead before Le Forestier swiftly responded with another fantastic deflection, levelling the game once more.

However, it was France that finished the first half on top as a super assist from Clement led to Haertelmeyer’s clinical finish, giving France a 5-4 lead.

Although South Africa came close in the second half, ultimately the score remained unchanged as France finished victors.

Photo: X/@SA_Hockey

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