Pakistan and France secure places in the semi-finals of the Men’s Nations Cup – Pakistan and France have qualified for the semi-finals of the FIH Hockey Men’s Nations Cup in Poland, adding to New Zealand’s earlier qualification, after a thrilling 11-goal encounter.

In Group B, France came out on top, closely followed by Pakistan. Malaysia secured third place after beating Canada in the opening match of the day. France maintained dominance in Pool B with a triumphant third successive win, edging past Pakistan in a thrilling 6-5 clash.

From the start, the Olympic hosts showed formidable attacking prowess, taking advantage of the vulnerabilities in Pakistan’s defensive line. Victor Charlet started the scoring 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 end of the first quarter.

France maintained the pressure and extended their lead when Gaspard Baumgarten scored a third goal seven minutes before half-time. Charlet secured his brace shortly afterwards after converting from another penalty corner.

Despite defensive lapses, Pakistan remained a dynamic attacking force. Their relentless efforts were rewarded in the 26th minute with a converted penalty from Abu Mahmood. Pakistan took advantage of the momentum and capitalized further, with Murtaza Yaqoob scoring 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 took revenge early in the final quarter, courtesy of Ashraf Rana Waheed, who took advantage of an accurate delivery from Amad Butt.

Pakistan continued to apply pressure, with Butt orchestrating the build-up to their fourth goal, converted by Rehman Abdul in the 52nd minute. Pakistan’s relentless pursuit of victory culminated in a 5-5 deadlock after Hannan Shahid’s quick response to Mahmood’s saved shot in the 56th minute.

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