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Argentina and Germany to contest final in Bhubaneswar

BALBIR SINGH | December 04, 2021 06:07 PM

BHUBANESWAR: Argentina and Germany will be contesting for the title at the FIH Odisha Men’s Junior World Cup Bhubaneswar 2021 after a thrilling day of hockey action. There was the drama of shoot-outs; plenty of goals, some outstanding saves and, as always, heartbreak and joy as the tournament approaches the grand finale.

In Sunday’s final Argentina and Germany will be meeting each other for the second time after the European team beat the South American side in a tight 4-3 pool match. The third place contest will be between France and host nation India – again two teams that met in the pool stage, where France were 5-4 winners.

Belgium will play Netherlands in an all-European battle for fifth while Malaysia and Spain will regroup after today’s disappointments to contest seventh spot.

India 2-4 Germany

Going into this match, both India and Germany had been through tough encounters with Belgium and Spain respectively and the tempo of the opening quarter reflected this. Here were two teams working at a high intensity and an equally high quality of competition.

However, it was Germany who got the advantage in the opening quarter when Eric Kleinlein slotted home from a penalty corner to put his team ahead at the first break. That lead was doubled in the 21 minute when Philip Holzmüller scored.

From this point on there was little doubt about the outcome. Germany scored twice more – through Julius Hayner and Kleinlein again and any Indian attacking moves were closed down by the German defence.

India did score. Surdeep Chimarko made it 3-1 and gave his team hope but Head Coach Graham Reid will be disappointed that his side failed to deliver the creativity and speed that had been their hallmark in earlier games. The second Indian goal came in the final minute and was scored by Boby Dhami.

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”

India’s 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.”

France 0-0 Argentina (1-3 Shoot-out)

Heroics by Nehuen Hernando in the Argentina goal was the difference separating the two combatants in the first semi-final. In a tournament that had yielded so many goals, the 0-0 scoreline at full-time was an indicator of the tense and tight nature of this game.

During the match, France and Argentina played a canny game with neither side willing to take risks and push for a win. In previous matches both teams had played with an all-out attacking mindset; this was far from the case as the two teams probed and tested each other. For both teams, this was a totally different style of play with Argentina adapting to it quickest and looking the more dangerous in the early stages.

During the first half, Argentina won three penalty corners to one French penalty corner, but neither side was able to capitalise.

Both teams have great game managers in the shape of their captains Timothee Clement of France and Facundo Zarate of Argentina. What we saw during this match was these two players controlling their defences but further up the field a fear of mistakes inhibited the movement and decision-making of the midfield and forward players of both teams.

A yellow card for Antonin Igau gave Argentina the advantage for the final three minutes of the game but the South American side was unable to make the most of the player advantage.

During the shoot out, Argentina got off to a great start, thanks to the calmness exhibited by Lucio Mendez to give his side the lead with a successful opening attempt.

Argentina goalkeeper Nehuen Hernando saved the first French attempt by Antonin Igua but Argentina’s advantage was lost when Zarate saw his attempt fly wide.

Corentin Sellier then stepped up for France but Hernando again held his nerve to keep the striker out and it was Bautista Capurro who coolly scored his attempt and sent his side through to the final on Sunday, where they will meet Germany.

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 like we have for the other matches. We are going to prepare equally well and play equally well.”

A hugely 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 and Netherlands comfortably beat Malaysia. The match reports are below.

Belgium 2-2 Spain (4-3 shoot-out)

Earlier in the day Belgium squeezed every last ounce of effort to haul in and eventually overcome Spain. This was a game that went to the wire, with Spain dominating the opening half with two goals from Pau Cunill giving the Spanish team a 2-0 cushion at half-time.

Belgium fought back with goals from Jeremy Wilbers and Thibeau Stockbroekx to force a shoot-out. An efficient and calm performance from the Belgium players, combined with some very good goalkeeping by Pierre de Gratie saw the Belgium team win the shoot-out with relative ease.

Player of the Match Thibeau Stockbroekx said: “We didn’t start so well but I tried to keep the team up. The second half was for us and I think we did really well. In the first half we were lacking of energy and the basics were not there. At half-time, we discussed it, we put some energy in the team and that helped us a lot.”

For Spain, the result was the second disappointment following their defeat at the hands of Germany in the previous round. Alvaro Portugal said: “It’s a little bit like two days ago against Germany. We had the lead almost all the match and then at the end we conceded two goals. We have to improve that. We cannot permit that. We had another chance but we didn’t not convert it. This is a bit frustrating. It’s disappointing but it is what it is.”

Netherlands 9-3 Malaysia

The second match saw Malaysia steamrollered in the opening quarter by a Netherlands team intent on making up for their previous match, where they lost to Argentina.

Three goals in 15 minutes gave Netherlands a cushion to launch further attacks, although Malaysia rallied to shut down the Dutch in the second quarter. The third quarter, however, saw Netherlands once more pile the pressure on with a further three goals, with Luke Dommershuijzen chalking up a hat trick.

The last few minutes of fourth quarter was a wholly different affair as Malaysia threw caution to the wind and went in search of goals of their own. They had already scored a consolation through Mohammad Khalid but in the 59th minute Akimullah Anuar found the net before his teammate Firadus Rosdi added a third.

However, Netherlands also kept pushing and added three more goals of their own. The final score of 9-3 underlined the difference in performance and speed of play between the two teams on this occasion.

Player of the Match Luke Dommershuijzen said: “After Wednesday’s match [in which Netherlands lost to Argentina], it was hard to play but it was good today.

“Our match against Belgium will be a hard game but we trust in our systems and we also trust everyone in the team.”

Malaysia’s captain Akhimullah Anuar, said: “In today’s game, we played our way. We took our chances and scored. In the last minute, we were prepared to fight for the goal. In the next game we play Spain, we will come back and be focused and we will do our best for our country.

The Junior World Cup action continues on Saturday (4 December) with USA and Egypt – respective losers against Canada and Chile – playing in the 15th – 16th play-off at 10:30 Indian Standard Time (UTC +5.30). Canada and Chile will face each other in the 13th – 14th classification game at 13:30, with Pakistan playing Poland for 11th position at 16:30. The final match of the day sees South Africa taking on Korea to decide 9th-10th position. This match takes place at 19:30.

Results

Belgium 2-2 Spain (4-3 shoot-out)
Player of the Match: Thibeau Stockbroekx (BEL)

Malaysia 3-9 Netherlands
Player of the Match: Luke Dommershuijzen (NED)

France 0-0 Argentina (1-3 shoot-out)
Player of the Match: Facundo Zarate (ARG)

India 2-4 Germany
Player of the Match: Masi Pfandt (GER).

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