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Ryul disappointed but China on verge of cross-over (12/6/2018)
--Errol D’Cruz
Ryul disappointed but China on verge of cross-overs

Kim Sang Ryul, the venerable South Korean coaching China’s team which has been making waves at the 14th Men’s World Cup bore a dejected look even after his debutants held Ireland 1-1 in a pool B match at the Kalinga Stadium on Tuesday.

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“Ireland played much better than us. They missed chances. We now have to play the world No. 1 team Australia but we will do our best,” the 63-year-old mastermind of his country’s epic 2000 Sydney Olympic silver medal victory, said.

Ryul, who studied hockey coaching at the NIS, Patiala, in 1985, wasn’t satisfied with the draw and his somber visage contrasted his players’ cheer as they clicked selfies in the background, perhaps as memoirs of a performance that could well write a new chapter for Chinese hockey.

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The draw against the 10th ranked Irish meant the Chinese, ranked 17th, remain unbeaten with a match to play after carving out a sensational 2-2 draw against seventh-ranked England in their opener.

Ryul’s team have two points and face a daunting challenge in their concluding match on Friday when they play defending champions Australia who have already made sure they have topped the pool and qualified for the quarterfinals.

For all that, however, China are the best placed to make the cross-overs. England and Ireland square up to each other later on the same day. Both teams have a point each after drawing with China and losing to Australia.

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Ireland, though, have the advantage on goal difference having lost just 1-2 to Australia in their opener. England’s 0-3 defeat to the Kookaburras leaves them with a severe disadvantage on goal difference and the task to beat Ireland.

It England and Ireland draw and China lose to Australia, goal difference will come into play as all three teams will have collected two points each.

The Chinese, on their part, can make sure they finish third in their pool if they keep the Australians down to just a two-goal victory not matter what happens in the England-Ireland match.

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