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Hockey World League Round 2: Tanaka wins the title for Japan

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Tanaka netted his ninth goal in six games with a 35th minute strike to level the match. (Image: Vishvatimes)

Kenta Tanaka confirmed himself as the star of the men’s Hockey World League Round 2 event in Tacarigua, Trinidad and Tobago, scoring to help Japan’s Samurais to a 2-1 victory over Canada in the competition final.

Lively attacker Tanaka netted his ninth goal in six games with a 35th minute strike to level the match after Scott Tupper’s penalty stroke had given Canada the lead four minutes earlier. Takuro Sasaki converted a penalty corner effort in the 40th minute, a goal which proved to be the winner.

As well as taking the tournament top scorer award with all nine of his goals being scored from open play, Tanaka was also named as the player of the tournament in the post event awards. Trinidad & Tobago’s Tariq Marcano was named as the best young player, while USA’s Brandon Karess took the best goalkeeper award.
The result brought both the competition and the second round of the men’s Hockey World League to an end, meaning that the teams to qualify for the Hockey World League Semi-Finals, which are qualification competitions for the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018, are now known.

The top two finishers from the men’s Round 2 events in Dhaka (4-12 Mar 2017), Belfast (11-19 Mar 2017) and Tacarigua, (25 Mar-2 Apr 2017) have all qualified for the Hockey World League Semi-Finals, being joined in the World Cup qualifier phase by the two highest ranked of the third placed finishers from those three events. Tacarigua top two Japan and Canada join Malaysia and China, who took the top two places at the event in Dhaka, as well as Ireland and France, who finished first and second respectively in Belfast.

The two highest ranked of the third placed finishers from each event also progress through to the next phase of the competition. Egypt – who today move up one place in the FIH Hero World Rankings to 19th – finished third in Dhaka, a result which proved to be enough for their progression. Scotland (WR: 23) were the third-place finisher in Belfast, and their superior ranking over USA (WR: 26), who finished third in Tacarigua, means that they also move through to the Hockey World League Semi-Finals which take place this summer.

The 3-4 classification match in Tacarigua was played between USA and Russia (WR: 21), with USA taking the win in a shoot-out. A 34th minute strike from Nikolay Yankun put the Russians ahead before goals either side of the third quarter break from Pat Harris and Tyler Sundeen put the Americans in charge. Andrey Kuraev scored nine minutes from time to level the match at 2-2 and force the shoot-out, with Paul Singh and Will Holt scoring the crucial goals as USA triumphed 2-1. The defeat was bad news for Russia, who went into the contest knowing that, due to their higher world ranking than Scotland, a victory would have been good enough for them to take a place in the Hockey World League Semi-Finals.

Trinidad & Tobago were winners of the 5-6 classification match, defeating Switzerland 4-3 thanks largely to a double strike from 16-year-old Teague Marcano. Chile won the 7-8 classification match with a shoot-out triumph over Barbados.

Final standings

1: Japan
2: Canada
3: USA
4: Russia
5: Trinidad & Tobago
6: Switzerland
7: Chile
8: Barbados

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