SINGAPORE - Try as they might, Singapore just could not shake off a fifth consecutive wooden spoon at the World Floorball Championship.
In the play-off for 15th place at a packed Sparta Arena in Prague yesterday, the national men's team lost 2-4 to Japan, to finish last like they did in 1996, 2010, 2012 and 2016.
In front of 1,124 fans, Singapore started brightly and took a fourth-minute lead via Hafiz Zubir's screamer from the halfway line. However, Japan stunned the Republic with two quick goals in the eighth minute and extended their advantage to 3-1 by the end of the first period.
Glendon Phua reduced the arrears with a lovely back-stick finish in the 35th minute but just could not find an equaliser. Singapore went for broke at the end of the third and replaced their goalkeeper with an outfielder, but that only allowed Ichiro Ueda to plunge the final dagger into Singapore's heart with a long-range strike into an unguarded goal with two minutes left.
Despite the disappointment, world No. 17 Singapore can look back at some positives. With a 4-4 draw against Canada (12th) and a 9-5 win over Japan (16th), Singapore had claimed their best group-stage haul of three points (two points for a win) in five WFC outings.
They missed out on a top-12 playoff spot to Canada only on goal difference, and lost 4-3 to Thailand in the 13th to 16th classification semi-final.
Singapore will now turn their sights on next year's SEA Games after the sport was approved last month. The Republic won both the men's and women's tournament when floorball made its SEA Games debut in Singapore in 2015, but the sport was dropped when Malaysia was host last year.