NEW DELHI - Australia and France made the quarterfinals of the Hero FIH Junior Men's World Cup after registering contrasting victories in their respective Pool B matches on Sunday at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.  While Australia blanked Spain 2-0, France rallied to eke out a laborious 3-2 win over Argentina. Captain Daniel Beale and Dylan Wotherspoon scored the two goals for Australia. Australia started on an attacking note from the initial whistle and were all over the Spanish circle but they somehow failed to produced desired results, even as they got a series of penalty-corners. Spain managed to contain the Aussies and the break was reached on a goalless score.

Australia finally managed to scored in the 38th minute when Beale found the ball in a messy scramble in the circle after Spanish goalkeeper Mario Fernandez Garin stopped three shots in quick succession from close range. Spain also had a chance on the next action on a penalty-corner but goalkeeper Andrew Butturini did a good job.

The Aussies had most of ball possession and Wotherspoon scored in the 63rd minute to give a comfortable two-goal cushion to the Kookaburras. Spain had a desperate final surge but they failed to net the ball. With two losses in as many matches, they are already out of contention for a berth in the quarters.

In the other Pool B match, Pieter Van Straaten, Theophile Ponthieu and Jean-Laurent Kieffer scored for France, while Estanislao Perez Pesado and Gonzalo Peillat hit the board for Argentina. It was fast and furious battle, which was going at breakneck speed from one end to the other.

France had a chance on penalty-corner first but they scrambled it, and Argentina scored on a swift counter-attack that found Estanislao Perez Pesado scoring the goal in the 20th minute. France came back in the 25th minute when Pieter Van Straaten netted the ball. They then quickly took the lead as Theophile Ponthieu scored in the 31st minute. But Argentina came back on the buzzer with a penalty-stroke by Gonzalo Peillat, sending the two teams 2-2 into the break. In the second half also the pace of play remained very high. Jean-Laurent Kieffer gave France the lead in the 48th minute and the French managed to cling to their narrow lead, earning their second win in two matches and a quarterfinal berth.

Meanwhile, Malaysia beat South Africa 2-1. Both the teams had narrow wins on opening day and started the match cautiously, not wanting to risk falling behind early. Things started to heat up after ten minutes. South Africa bobbled their first penalty-corner but Matthew Brown made no mistake on the second one, slotting the ball high out of reach of Hafizuddin Othman in the Malaysian goal.  The Asian Champions reacted immediately and besieged the South African circle, calling keeper Rene De La Peyre into action left and right. He stood his ground well but was fooled by a deflection from his own defender on a free hit drilled into the circle in the 27th minute. Malaysia had multiple chances to take the lead in the final minutes of the period but South Africa were kept afloat by De La Peyre, in fine form tonight, and the break was reached on a tied score.

After another period of domination, Malaysia logically took the lead in the 43th minute by Firhan Ashari, turning around at the top of the circle and blasting the ball in the backboard. Play was fast and entertaining and it was soon the turn of South Africa to be threatening, earning a penalty-corner after Ignatius Malgraff cut through the whole Malaysian defense. The corner was upgraded to a penalty-stroke but Matthew Brown’s attempt was well guessed by the keeper, maintaining the narrow Malaysian lead.

South Africa pushed desperately for the elusive equalizer but Malaysia did not break down, protecting the three points for the win until the end to stand alone at the top of the standings in Pool D.

RESULTS

Australia    2-0    Spain

France    3-2    Argentina

Malaysia    2-1    South Africa

New Zealand    2-2    England