Pakistan, France Secure Semifinal Berths in Men’s Nations Cup

Pakistan, France Secure Semifinal Berths in Men’s Nations Cup – Pakistan and France have clinched spots in the semifinals of the FIH Hockey Men’s Nations Cup in Poland, adding to New Zealand’s earlier qualification, following a thrilling 11-goal encounter.

In Pool B action, France emerged as the top finisher, closely followed by Pakistan. Malaysia secured third place after prevailing over Canada in the day’s opening match. France asserted dominance in Pool B with a triumphant third consecutive victory, edging past Pakistan in a gripping 6-5 showdown.

From the onset, the Olympic hosts showcased formidable offensive prowess, capitalizing on vulnerabilities in Pakistan’s defensive line. Victor Charlet initiated the scoring spree in the seventh minute, while Eliot Curty’s pass to Blaise Rogeau resulted in a thunderous shot off the crossbar, doubling France’s lead just before the first quarter’s end.

France maintained pressure, extending their advantage as Gaspard Baumgarten netted a third goal seven minutes before halftime. Charlet secured his brace shortly after, converting from another penalty corner.

Despite defensive lapses, Pakistan remained a dynamic force in attack. Their relentless efforts were rewarded in the 26th minute with a converted penalty stroke by Abu Mahmood. Seizing momentum, Pakistan capitalized further, with Murtaza Yaqoob slotting home a rebound from a penalty corner in the 29th minute.

France reasserted control in the third quarter, with Charlet completing his hat-trick from a penalty corner in the 39th minute. Pakistan retaliated early in the final quarter, courtesy of Ashraf Rana Waheed, who capitalized on a precise delivery from Amad Butt.

Pakistan continued to press, with Butt orchestrating the buildup for their fourth goal, converted by Rehman Abdul in the 52nd minute. Pakistan’s relentless pursuit of victory culminated in a 5-5 deadlock following a quick reaction from Hannan Shahid to Mahmood’s saved shot in the 56th minute.

Despite the belief in a complete comeback, Pakistan faltered defensively, allowing Charlet to seal France’s victory with another successful penalty corner, concluding the scoring affair.