Field Hockey Canada > Canada opens World League Semi-Final with dominant 6-0 win over Pakistan

Canada opens World League Semi-Final with dominant 6-0 win over Pakistan

PHOTO: Iain Smythe (left) and Floris van Son (right) celebrate a goal in Canada’s in 6-0 win over Pakistan at the 2017 World League Semi-Final on June 16 in London (By Alex Morton/Getty Images)

June 16, 2017 | Shaheed Devji |


It was a dream start for Canada’s men’s field hockey team Friday at the 2017 World League Semi-Final in London.

Canada’s men, ranked 11th in the world, defeated 13th ranked Pakistan 6-0 in the Canadians’ first match of the competition.

Veteran forward Iain Smythe scored twice, while Scott Tupper, Floris van Son, Brenden Bissett, and Gordon Johnston added singles in the winning effort.

“Absolutely can’t complain with that sort of game. We’re excited for sure,” Smythe said after the game.

“I think we came in with the game plan that we wanted to do and we stuck to it and maintained possession when we needed to and capitalized on the opportunities when we had the chance.”

The win is the first time the Canadian men have defeated Pakistan since a 3-2 victory at the 2010 World Cup.

The six goal margin of victory over Pakistan also surpasses Canada’s previous largest victory over Pakistan in 1998, when the Canadians won by five goals, 7-2, in a four-nation tournament in Durban, South Africa.

Pakistan was coming off a 4-0 loss to the Netherlands in its first game of the competition on Thursday, so was looking for an improved performance against Canada.

But it was the Canadians who came out on the front foot.

After controlling play early but missing a penalty corner in the 4th minute, Canada got on the board in the 11th after van Son earned another corner with strong play through the midfield.

Tupper’s flick was ruled to hit a Pakistani foot and Canada was awarded a penalty stroke, which Tupper converted to put Canada ahead 1-0.


Van Son continued his strong play in the second quarter when a long aerial ball sent him and Smythe on a fast-break up the field. Van Son fired a backhand pass across the face of the goal to a diving Smythe who knocked the ball in for his first of the game and the 2-0 Canada lead.

“It was a great call by Ian,” van Son said. “I heard him calling for it. I just knew without even looking that he was there.”

The second quarter could have easily been dubbed “the van Son show,” as he wasn’t done.

After Smythe picked up his second of the night on a rebound off a Johnston flick, van Son was found open up-field again. This time, he made a quick move around the Pakistani player, and went to his backhand for a shot that beat the keeper Amjad Ali on the short side to give Canada the 4-0 in the 28th minute.

“4-0 going into the second half was amazing. We didn’t expect that,” van Son added after the match.

“We watched the Netherlands-Pakistan game so we knew what they were capable of, so we had a good game plan.”

The second half was quieter, and Canadian keeper David Carter was forced to make a couple of key saves as Pakistan tried to mount a comeback.

But their hopes were short lived. After a scoreless third quarter, Canada added to the lead in the fourth frame.

Gabriel Ho-Garcia went on a solo dash before before setting up Taylor Curran in the circle, where he moved the ball to Bissett for the game’s 5th goal. And Johnston scored on a penalty corner in the final minute to complete the scoring.

On Saturday, Canada – which currently sits in first place in Pool B, tied with the Dutch but ahead on goal differential – hits the field against World No.6 India, who beat Scotland 4-1 in their first match.

The game can be watched live online at 6:00am PT/9:00am ET at CBC Sports.

Canada and India last met at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, where they tied 2-2.