Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Men's Hockey World League Round 1: Switzerland drub Bulgaria 11-0


Switzerland made a blazing start in the first Men’s Hockey World League Round One Tournament, clobbering Bulgaria 11-0 at Sveti Ivan Zelina near Zagreb in Croatia. The 36th ranked Swiss men made their belligerent intentions abundantly clear from the start with Yanik Kloter striking twice inside the first two minutes.

The 50th ranked Bulgarians had no answer to the questions asked by the Swiss inside their ‘D’ as the latter rode roughshod over them. Gael Wyss-Chodat, Nicholas Steffen, Fabian Wullschleger and Jan Hodle ensured there was no let up in intensity from Switzerland as they trooped off the pitch for the half-time break with a cozy 6-0 lead.

Changing over, the Swiss looks more goal-hungry as Marco Michel made the scoreline 7-0. Yanik Kloter and Jan Hodle scored their second of the match sandwiched by a Manuel Keller strike to turn the contest into a ridiculously one-sided affair. Yves Morard hammered the final nail in Bulgaria’s coffin netting the eleventh goal two minutes from the final hooter.

In another match, hosts Croatia pipped 39th ranked Turkey 6-1. Interestingly, Croatia do not have any FIH world ranking. 23rd ranked Russia is the highest ranked side among the five participating teams. Russia will open their campaign against Bulgaria on Wednesday.

It may be noted that teams with rankings higher than 20 compete in HWL Round One for the right to compete in Round Two events. The Round Two competitors have a ranking from 11 to 19 will earn the right to compete in Round Three – the level of competition at which the lower-ranked teams enter the contest.

The winners of Round Three reach the Final Round and will contest the right to play at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The top six or seven teams from the Hockey World League will qualify for the Olympics alongside each continental champion.

The writer can be contacted at: suhridbarua@gmail.com
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