Japan and Georgia were huge revelations at Budapest 2022 and it was a pity they were playing only for ninth position. However, what a match they provided in Szeged, going down to the wire with Japan emerging victor 16-15. Earlier, Australia defeated South Africa 19-4 for 11th place.
Classification finals — Szeged
JAPAN 16 GEORGIA 15
The best teams, apart from the top eight, played against each other for ninth place in Szeged. Japan and Georgia just barely skipped the quarter-finals. In the first quarter, attack and exclusions played the main role. Japan was fast and Georgia had big shooters. In the second quarter, Japan scored four goals in three minutes and scored seven in total, while Georgia scored three. At halftime, both teams were up and down. After two rushing quarters, there were no goals for four minutes in the third, and only 2-2 from each side. The last quarter also ended in a draw. Japan and Georgia scored four each.
This was an amazing roller-coaster game, Georgia up in the first, Japan up in the second and a really close tie in the second half.
Stats don’t lie
Both teams had 39 chances and scored 31 from them. There was only one penalty shot in the game, with 29 exclusions.
Georgia is just one step away from being in the top teams from Eastern-Europe, while Japan has a really unique style, with high pressing. Both teams have a bright future, if they follow this way.
What they said
Yoshinori Shiota (JPN) — Head Coach
“Georgia is a very strong team; we tried to do our Japanese style and zone defence and it came out well. We wanted to be in the top eight, but I’m very happy with this result. We are able to see that Japan is strong, quick and brave. I’m very proud of my team.”
Katsuyuki Tanamura (JPN) — Goalkeeper
“Japanese people are smaller than other nations, but with good teamwork and good strategy we won this game. The ninth place is very good for us, we are so happy. We want to continue doing our work and prepare for the Olympics. I felt so good here, but the win at the end crowned everything at the top.'
Dejan Stanojevic (GEO) — Head Coach
“We opened the game very well; Japan opened the second quarter very well. We were good until the fourth quarter, where we scored goal by goal and we couldn’t focus in the end. It’s not good to end the tournament with a loss, but we gave our maximum every good. The best memory was playing on Margaret-Island.”
Boris Vapenski (GEO) — Four Goals
“Japan played from the start to the end and we thought that it was finished in the first quarter. We started to lose our heads; at the end we came back. I’m satisfied that we didn’t give up at the end. We will grow as a team and everything will be good. The best memory was playing in the Hajós Alfréd arena; it was really good to play in front of a huge crowd.”
AUSTRALIA 19 SOUTH AFRICA 4
The Aussie Sharks tried to frame the world championship with a win against South Africa, because they could only win against Kazakhstan on the opening day. South Africa wanted to win for the first time in the tournament. Australia scored two goals in the first, but South Africa climbed back and only lost the first by one goal. In the second quarter, Australia did not give any chances and scored six unanswered goals. In the third, South Africa at least scored one, but let in four. In the last period, the Aussies scored six goals once again .
In the first quarter, Australia missed some scoring opportunities, but it didn’t make the same mistake in the second, where it outscored South Africa by six goals and decided the match — a virtual Commonwealth championship.
Stats don’t lie
Australia scored 19 goals from 34 shots and was 66 per cent accurate from extra-man situations and also from penalties. The Africans had 33 opportunities, which was the most it achieved in the tournament.
Australia has a new, young team. This was the first world championship for most of them. Tim Hamill’s sons will be back stronger next year. South Africa finished the tournament in 12th place with no wins, skipped the match against Canada, and with a 19-113 goals difference, but there are four teams behind it. It was a big slip from sixth three years ago for the Aussies while South Africa retained its ranking.
What they said
Tim Hamill (AUS) — Head Coach
“We are happy to finish the tournament with a win; it was a huge learning experience for us. We are going to go through all the games and analyse everything. Honestly it was a well-organised championship, everything was so good. It’s been amazing here.”
Luke Pavillard (AUS) — Player of the Match
“Always good to finish a tournament with a win; we had some good and tough results. We left everything in the pool. The whole experience was amazing, as it was my first championship. We are probably going to celebrate a little bit, but we have to prepare for the next tournament.”
Vaughan Marlow (RSA) — Head Coach
“Playing against a lot of experienced teams was really good, because we learnt a lot from them; we need to play more and get better. The best memory was the game on Margaret Island — it was like playing a football game at Wembley.”
Jonathan Swanepoel (RSA) — Athlete
“It was our first world championship (for these players) and we learned a lot from this tournament. Hopefully next time we will be better. Playing on Margaret-Island was the best memory for me, but also the tough matches against strong teams.”