Germany and Netherlands book quarter-final berths in Junior Hockey World Cup
Bhubaneswar, November 27, 2021
Six-time champion Germany and strong contenders Netherlands recorded their second victories as they chalked out identical hard-fought 3-2 wins over Argentina and Spain, respectively, and joined France in the quarter-finals of the FIH Junior Hockey World Cup at Kalinga Stadium here on Friday.
In other matches of the day, Malaysia put up a spirited display to hold formidable Belgium to a 1-1 draw, a result that keeps both sides in contention for the knock-out phase from Pool A.
South Africa outplayed Chile 5-1 while Korea overpowered USA 5-1 in their league matches
Germany survived the last few minutes of scare to claim a 3-2 win over Argentina, and, with six points, guaranteed a place in the quarter-finals.
Mateo Poljaric and team captain Benedikt Schwarzhaupt gave Germany, the six-time Junior World Cup champions, a two-goal lead before Bruno Stellato’s penalty corner halved the deficit midway through the third quarter. Hannes Müller restored the two-goal cushion on the stroke of quarter-time, but Franco Agostini breathed new life into Argentina’s chances. However, it was not to be, leaving Argentina needing to defeat Pakistan in their final pool match to confirm their place in the last eight.
“The last five minutes were pretty intense,” said Germany captain Benedikt Schwarzhaupt, who was named Player of the Match.
“Argentina was a very tough opponent, very passionate. We’re very glad that we won today and ensured that we’ve got one foot into the quarter-finals. Now we need to recover and look at what went well today and what didn’t. Then we have our match against Egypt with the objective to finish on the first spot of our pool.”
Argentina’s Facundo Zarate said: “We already knew that it would be a tough game, a very physical game. Now, we need to focus on the next match. Against Pakistan, like for the other teams, we expect a tough, physical, and very skillful match. We’ll be ready to fight.”
In a pool C contest, a late penalty corner conversion by Miles Bukkens gave the Netherlands a second successive victory, beating Spain 3-2 to move into the last eight
The Dutch opened a 2-0 lead with Sheldon Schouten and Guus Jansen scoring a goal each, However Spain bounced back to draw level in the third quarter through Borja Lacalle and Pau Cunill.
Bukkens netted the winner with just one minute of the match remaining, giving the Netherlands a crucial win.
“First of all, very proud of the team, from the reserve players to the staff”, said Player of the Match Luke Dommershuijzen of the Netherlands. “So, well-done everyone! We were leading 2-0 and then Spain came back but we believed in ourselves, showed a lot of character and scored the winning goal. You can only enjoy this!”
Spain’s Alvaro Portugal said: “We’re a bit disappointed because we were 0-2 down and then we came back but we conceded a silly corner at the end of the match and lost the game. We now have to focus all our efforts in the match against Korea and we have to win! We have to go to the quarter-finals.”
In the last match of the day Malaysia held formidable Belgium to a 1-1 draw, with goalkeeper Shamir Shamsul producing a Player of the Match performance to earn his team a precious point in their quest for a quarter-final berth.
The result saw both teams move onto four points, one point ahead of South Africa going into the final round of pool matches. Belgium was dominant but fell behind on the stroke of half-time when Amirul Azahar fired home a penalty corner rebound.
The Europeans had to wait until the fourth quarter before finally restoring parity, with Thibeau Stockbroekx slamming home a brilliant penalty corner effort – the only time they managed to beat the superb Shamsul – to ensure the points were shared.
“Thank you for the award,” said goalkeeper Shamsul on receiving his Player of the Match prize. “We played well as a team to get the result. We will work hard in the next game [against South Africa].”
Belgium captain Dylan Englebert said: “We wanted to win this game. It was not an easy game, they defended really well. Their keeper had a good game and they defended hard. We maybe lacked a bit of luck at the end. We were happy to come back at 1-1, but we wanted to score that last goal but it didn’t come today. Now we have a small amount of time to prepare for our next game [against Chile], so our focus is on that now.”