Germany outplay reigning champs India
Set up title clash with Argentina, India face France for 3rd place
BHUBANESHWAR: Displaying awesome firepower six-time champion Germany overwhelmed hosts India 4-2 here Friday night to set up a title clash with 2005 winner Argentina in the Junior Hockey World Cup.
Earlier in the first semi-final, Argentina held their nerves at the crucial moments as they edged out spirited France 3-1 in the penalty shoot-out to enter the finals.
Defending champion India's hope to extend the lease in the Cup went up in smoke as Germans set up such a scorching pace from the very start that coach Graham Reid's plans were left in ruins on the Kalinga Stadium's turf.
Germany last won the Junior World Cup title in 2013 in New Delhi. and had finished third in the last edition in Lucknow in 2016
Germany played to a plan and simply outplayed their rivals in all departments of the game and took a formidable 4-1 lead by halftime. However, the hosts were spared of the more humiliating defeat as the winners missed several chances.
The European champion side never allowed Indians to settle down or take control of the proceedings. They virtually dominated the mid-field as the hosts scrambled to defend their citadel
For the winners, Erik Kleinlein, Philip Holzmueller, Hannes Muller, and Christopher Kutter scored a goal each. For the hosts Uttam Singh and Boby Dhami chipped in with a goal each
Germany was more incisive in its attacks and created early chances. Max Siegburg missed a sitter in the fourth minute and seconds later, goalkeeper Prashant Chauhan brought off a fine save off a penalty corner.
It was only in the 15th minute that the Germans managed to take the lead as another penalty corner was blocked by Prashant but on the rebound, Erik Kleinlein scored (1-0)
The next 15-minutes of the first half belonged to the winners who decimated Indian defence with their ferocious onslaughts and pumped in three goals to virtually seal the match
It was 2-0 in the 20th minute when striker Philip Holzmueller’s powerful drive deflection off a defender and flew over substitute keeper Pawan.
German captain Hannes Muller made it 3-0 four minutes later with a superb goal.
Seconds later, against the run of play Uttam Singh latched on to a long pass sent the ball home to reduce the gap (1-3).
However, in the very next minute, a German counter followed leading to a penalty stroke, and Christopher Kuttermade no mistake in converting it (4-1) and the winners regained the three-goal lead.
India tried to be on the offensive in the second session in their desperate bid for the equalizers but the forwards were not able to penetrate the German defence
Boby Dhami scored for India in the dying seconds of the match to make the final score 2-4, it was a case of too little and too late
India had beaten formidable Belgium 1-0 to advance to the semis.
captain Vivek Prasad said: “It was a great match and a very tight match. Germany played very well and congratulations to them. I hope we can win bronze. That is what we will focus on now.
“France is a great team. They beat us in the pool match [5-4] so it will not be easy but we will do our best.”
Player of the Match, Masi Pfandt said: “It is a pleasure for me to stand here and I am so happy to be in the final. We played as a team. We know Argentina is a good team, we played them in the pool [Germany won 4-3] and it was tight but if we play as we did today, then we have a good chance of winning”
Earlier in an ill-tempered and tentative semi-final, it looked as if Argentina and France were more interested in displaying their physical prowess rather than the skill with the hockey sticks.
The former champions secured two penalty corners inside the first 10 minutes but, on both occasions, France goalkeeper Guillaume de Vaucelles denied the opposition. They got another penalty corner in the 18th minute but wasted that too.
France's got a good chance in the 25th minute in the form of a set-piece but, it was wasted. The second also failed to produce a good game as both the teams adopted defensive tactics. Though the Frenchmen controlled the proceedings in the final quarter.
Just before the final whistle tempers flared after Lucas Montecot missed France's fourth attempt, resulting in almost fisticuffs but officials of both teams and on-field umpires rushed quickly to handle the situation.
In the penalty shoot-out, Lucio Mendez, Bautista Capurro, and Franco Agostini scored for Argentina while only skipper Timothee Clement found the target for France.
Argentina’s captain Facundo Zarate said: “We are very happy and very proud. We trained very hard to get here and we have done well. Now we have to play another 60 minutes.
“We are going to prepare as we have for the other matches. We are going to prepare equally well and play equally well.”
A disappointed Timothee Clement said: “It was a good game for the two teams. It is hard to lose in the semi-final. Now we focus on getting third place.
”In the 5th-8th place classification matches, Belgium overcame Spain (4-3 shoot-out)and the Netherlands trounced Malaysia.9-3.