With the group stage over in the Asia Oceania WFC 2017 qualifications, two teams have confirmed their spot in the Women´s World Floorball Championships 2017 in Bratislava, Slovakia. As the winners of their respective groups, Australia & Japan can start preparing for December 2017 and the final round. Four other teams remain in contention to qualify – Thailand, Korea, Singapore & New Zealand.    

In the first game, China faced Thailand and it was another tough game for the Chinese. The Thais put seven on the board in the first period but good defence from China in the second held them out for a long time. While Thailand were able to keep the scoring up, the Chinese also had some attacking time of their own and Shuang Ding put her name in the history books by scoring their first ever goal. The final score was 21-2 and Thailand ensured themselves a spot in the quarter-finals which will decide two of the qualifiers for the final round.

Japan & Korea played next and Japan looked pretty comfortable in the first period. They knew that a win would see them on their way to Slovakia but Korea weren´t letting them get a free pass. Korea played well but the Japanese had more structure in their play, controlling the ball and steadily adding to their score. Korea could´ve relaxed and saved their legs for their match tomorrow but they played hard until the end, scoring the final goal of the game in the last minute. A 7-2 win for Japan and a guaranteed place in the WFC 2017 final round in December.

If you looked just at the score sheet for the Malaysia-Singapore game you would be led to believe that the match was a one-sided affair with Singapore dominating, but this was definitely not the case. The difference was that Singapore were just far more successful in converting their opportunities. Malaysia played with good tactical skill and managed to build the play and put pressure on the Singapore goal, but too often their attacking plays resulted in turnovers with the fast Singapore forwards moving the ball up the court and breaking the final Malaysian defence. The 8-0 for Singapore put them into the quarter-finals for their chance at qualifying. 

The last of the group games saw traditional rivals Australia & New Zealand battling it out to determine the final group standings. And battle they did. It was the tightest match so far in the AOFC qualifications, mainly due to the determination of the Kiwis. They were tight in defence and really challenged the much higher-ranked, and more experienced, Aussies, but the girls in green & gold stood up to the challenge and managed to break through and find the net late in the period. In the second period the Kiwis seemed to find another gear and piled the pressure on the Australian goal but neither team added to the score. The last period remained just as tight and as much as the very vocal Kiwi crowd cheered their team on, it was the Australians who extended their lead, taking the game 2-0 and became the second team to qualify for WFC 2017. New Zealand showed a great improvement from their last meeting against Australia which they lost 8-0 and should go into the quarter-finals tomorrow with some confidence.

Tomorrow´s games are:
16:00  Thailand v Korea
19:00  Singapore v New Zealand

The winners of these two games will join Japan and Australia in Slovakia in December.


Many great photos from all of the matches can be found at FLICKR. Match replays and player interviews can be seen on IFF YouTube (some games are still to be uploaded due to our internet problems).

For all the standings and player statistics visit the AOFC Event Page.

Photos:  Masanori Udagawa

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