Floorball: Singapore floored by Thailand

17th-ranked Singapore were stunned by the lowest-ranked side in the 16-team tournament. The Thais are No. 22.
17th-ranked Singapore were stunned by the lowest-ranked side in the 16-team tournament. The Thais are No. 22.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/SINGAPORE FLOORBALL ASSOCIATION

Singapore coach Matti Joutsikoski has called on his men to bounce back after their shock 4-3 defeat by Thailand in the World Floorball Championships yesterday.

The Singaporeans, who were last in their four previous appearances in the tournament (1992, 2010, 2012, 2016), could have sealed their best finish by winning the 13th to 16th classification semi-final.

But the Finn's 17th-ranked charges were stunned by the lowest-ranked side in the 16-team tournament. The Thais are No. 22.

Still, Singapore can avoid reclaiming the wooden spoon if they defeat Japan, whom they beat 9-5 in the group stage, in the 15th-place play-off. Poland beat Japan 6-2 yesterday and will meet Thailand.

Joutsikoski said: "What determines us is not the scoreline but how we come back after a game such as this. We remain a strong team and we'll keep our heads up.

"Singapore had previously finished last in the final stage of the World Championships. We remain steadfast in our determination to change that. Tomorrow presents us an opportunity to do just that and we will strive to make the best of that opportunity."

In an intense encounter with both teams committed to attack, defender Gary Wong gave Singapore the lead in the 10th minute only for Thai forward Tnakit Kayairit to equalise in the 22nd.

Forward Akmal Shaharudin restored their lead in the 33rd minute before goals from Tnakit (39th) and Apichet Ratanaprathum (40th) swung the match back in the kingdom's favour.

Captain Syazni Ramlee equalised in the 51st minute with a solo effort, dribbling down the left before cutting in to power his shot into the net but hopes of forcing the match into extra time were ended with five minutes to go when a pass out of defence was intercepted and Thai forward Pawat Thaidit flicked home for the winner.

If there was a positive for Singapore, it was the form of goalkeeper Jay Pal Sidhu, named best player of the match for pulling off 21 saves to keep his side in the fight.

Joutsikoski said: "The better team won today. Thailand rose to the challenge, executed their game strategy well and utilised opportunities well. We were a step behind and gave them too much time and space to execute their counter-attacks.

"We now have one more game left and we will get our minds, bodies and every member of the team ready to give our best performance yet."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 07, 2018, with the headline 'S'pore a step behind Thais but aim to end on a high'. Print Edition | Subscribe