France does an encore, beats India 3-1 to bag bronze in Junior Hockey World Cup
Bhubaneswar, December 5, 2021
India closed its campaign, as it opened, losing to France 1-3 to finish a poor fourth in the Junior Hockey World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium here on Sunday.
France thus justified that their 5-4 opening match win against the then-defending champion India was no fluke.
Much was expected from India, though they had lost to Germany 2-4 in the semi-finals. It was expected that they will regroup themselves to salvage their reputation in this third-place match but that was not to be.
France skipper Timothee Clement who scored all the three goals this afternoon claimed his fourth hat-trick, and second against India in the tournament. Birthday boy Sudeep Chirmako scored the only goal for the hosts in the third quarter.
Though both the teams had an equal share of midfield domination, India made more circle penetration but the French attacks were more incisive which fetched them nine penalty corners as compared to three earned by India.
The hosts opened on an aggressive note dominating most of the early phase as, seconds into the match, France goalkeeper Guillaume de Vaucelles made a spectacular effort to clear Sanjay’s penalty corner attempt.
In the 12th minute, striker Araijieet Singh Hundal muffed an easy chance as he had only de Vaucelles to beat but his shot hit the woodwork.
After surviving the initial onslaught, France regrouped and earned three penalty corners towards the end of the first quarter. The French, however, failed to beat the solid Indian defence.
France took control of the proceedings in the second quarter, as the Indians fell back to defend their citadel, in the process allowing their rivals to take over the midfield.
The sustained French efforts paid off as captain Timothee Clement converted a penalty corner in the 26th minute (1-0).
France kept up the pressure in the second half, constantly testing the India defence but brilliant saves by goalkeeper Prashant Chauhan frustrated the visitors' bid to increase the lead.
The Indian defence, however, was breached by Timothee Clement again in the 35th minute as he converted a penalty corner with a powerful drag-flick to make it 2-0.
Rattled by the second goal, India launched a furious counterattack. Sudeep Chirmako, who celebrated his 19th birthday on the day, produced a magical reverse flick to make it 1-2 in the 42nd minute.
However, the hosts' hopes for a comeback suffered a setback shortly after the fourth quarter began. France earned another penalty corner and Timothee Clement completed his hat-trick (3-1).
After that France was in control and could have easily increased their lead if not for some heroic saves by Prashant.
With Sudeep leading the charge, India did create a few chances to score but couldn’t convert them into goals.
India had progressed to the knockouts after finishing second in their group. In the quarter-finals, they beat Belgium but couldn’t get past Germany in the semi-finals.
9th-10th places: South Africa beat Korea 4-0; 11th-12th places: Pakistan beat Poland 5-0; 13th-14th places: Canada beat Chile 2-1; 15th-16th places: USA 2 vs Egypt 2 (Shootout: USA beat Egypt 3-0).