Sunday, July 6, 2014

Russian men win first Hockey World League Round One


Top-seeded Russia played true to reputation hammering hosts Crotia 10-0 to not just rack up their fourth consecutive win, but also claim the first Men’s Hockey World League Round One Tournament being played in Croatia. The 23rd ranked Russians looked a part in the tournament, winning each game in emphatic fashion, slamming 38 goals in four goals and not conceding not a single goal.

Russia’s dominating performance largely revolved around the duo of Dmitry Azarov and Nikolay Yankun, who together accounted for 21 of 38 goals scored in the tournament.  Dmitry Azarov netted 12 goals, while Nikolay Yankun notched up 9 goals.
Russia had earlier decimated Turkey 10-0, Switzerland 7-0 and Bulgaria 11-0.

50th ranked Bulgaria, who suffered demoralizing 0-11 defeats to Switzerland and Russia in their first two games, subsequently came out fighting winning their games against Croatia and higher ranked Turkey to take third spot behind 36th ranked Switzerland. 39th ranked Turkey finished last among five teams, remaining winless in the tournament.

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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