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Junior Men’s Hockey WC: India’s title defence ends with 2-4 loss against Germany in semis (Ld)

Bhubaneswar : Defending Champions India suffered a crushing 2-4 defeat against six-time title-winners Germany in the second semifinal of the 2021 FIH Junior Men’s Hockey World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium, here on Friday.The loss brings India’s title defence to an end and Graham Reid’s boys will now face France in the third-place playoff match on Sunday.Uttam Singh 25th) and Boby Dhami(60th)were India’s goal scorers while the Germans scored through Erik Kleinlein (15th minute), Aron Flatten (21st), skipper Hannes Muller (24th) and Christopher Kutter (25th) in the semis.In the final on Sunday, Germany will be up against Argentina, who beat France 3-1 in the penalty shoot-out in the first semifinal, earlier in the day.Notably, Germany last won the Junior World Cup title in 2013 in New Delhi. Since then, a third-place finish in the last edition in Lucknow in 2016 was their best performance.Indians were under pressure from the very beginning as Germany with their continuous attack kept the hosts’ defence on their toes. Soon, India did the counter attack and got a chance to score but they failed to convert it.Germany at the same time earned a penalty corner in the 13 th minute and Erik Kleinlein made no mistake, converting it into a goal. India responded instantly and got their first Penalty corner, but Germany averted the attack. At the end of the first quarter, Germany were ahead with one goal.

In the second quarter, it was Germany all over the place again as Indians were running here and there only to get the ball possession but they failed miserably in doing that. In between India enhanced their game and got a second penalty corner in the second quarter, but again failed to convert it.However, Germany scored their second goal in the counter attack when a fierce pass from the left flashes towards the Indian goal post and Holzmueller did the rest of the work . With 5 minutes only left for the second quarter, India were 2-0 down.Germany made it 3-0 in the 24th minute. However, Indians got a short-lived respite as Uttam Singh in a counter attack scored for the hosts. Germany scored one more goal in the second quarter to further strengthen their 4-1 lead.It was Germany again who ruled the field with their precise and calculated play. But India got a few more chances in the third quarter. In the 34th minute, Manjeet got a good opportunity and was up against the German goalkeeper but he missed his shot completely.In the final stages of quarter 3, Sanjay sent a long pass forward in hope of a deflection, but Uttam Singh was not around this time to flick it in. The German goalkeeper Brinckman got a one-on-one situation to again deny India a shot on goal.In the last minute of fourth quarter, India were able to score one more goal when B Dhami got a long pass from the right corner and flicked it into the German goal post.India, who defeated Belgium by a solitary goal in the quarterfinals to qualify for the successive semi-final, faced probably the biggest challenge of the tournament against rampant Germany. However, they failed to deliver the creativity and speed that had been their hallmark in earlier games.”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,” said India’s captain Vivek Prasad after the game.



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