Scotland miss out on bronze but finish higher than ranking once again

Korea 5-0 Scotland (B. Jeon, N. Lee, J. Jang x2, S. Kim)

Scotland men were beaten 5-0 by Korea in the bronze medal match of the FIH Series Finals in Le Touquet. The Scots miss out on the bronze this time but have finished higher than ranking for the fourth time in three years.

Scotland took to the pitch against a Korea side ranked six places above them in the world rankings on the back of some big performances in Le Touquet.

It was a very competitive opening to the match with Korea enjoying possession but Scotland matching them with their work rate.

An excellent solo run by Russell Anderson through five Korean players almost created a shot on goal, but Kenny Bain couldn’t get on the end of the final pass into the D.

Korea hit the post after a sprightly attack down the left opened Scotland up, but the ball bounced clear and Scotland survived.

The Koreans took the lead towards the end of the second quarter after a break down the right set up Byungjin Jeon for a strike in the middle of the goal. Korea 1-0 Scotland.

There was a great chance for Callum MacKenzie right before half time, he took a great touch to go past two Korean defenders into the D but his effort shot up into the air and over the bar.

The Koreans went 2-0 ahead just after half time through some clinical finishing by Namyong Lee. A loose pass in the Scotland defence saw the ball played through for Lee and he lifted it over the advancing goalkeeper for the goal.

Cammy Golden had a penalty corner tipped over the bar as Scotland set about retaliating. Then there was a great chance for Anderson when he raced towards the far post to get on the end of a fizzed pass by Adam Le Page, but he couldn’t direct his shot on target.

Then Korea managed to find the Scotland net with a Jonghyun Jang penalty corner to go 3-0 up. The low shot squirmed under the stick of David Forrester to further the Korean advantage.

Sunghyun Kim scored Korea’s fourth right on the hooter for the end of the third quarter. They tore into the Scots D from the right and the cutback deflected into the Scots net for the goal.

Scotland were unlucky to be four behind going into the final quarter, but the terrific effort put into the tournament seemed to catch up on Scotland.

In the final quarter another drag flick by Jang fired into the bottom right corner to give Korea a fifth goal. Scotland battled until the end but it was Korea who took the bronze medal in Le Touquet, with the Blue Sticks finishing the tournament higher than ranking once again.

Scotland’s Kenny Bain said, “We’ve finished above our ranking – we said we’d try and get to the semi-finals and we met that objective so we’re really happy. We’ve got such a young team, and we’re missing a few players who are playing for GB, some others are injured, so that’s been quite tough for an inexperienced team.

“We’ve made a lot of good steps towards the Europeans which will happen this summer. I think the score line today was maybe a little flattering, but it’s been an enjoyable week and I think the tournament’s been a fantastic success.”

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