India beat Belgium to lift the Junior Hockey World Cup for the second time. By winning the tournament, India became the first country to win the title on their home soil. Belgium, who were playing their first finals, were outranked by the Indian counterparts as they dominated since the word go.
Early in the game, India got two penalty corners but failed to convert either. The first goal of the game came in the 8th minute when Gurjant Singh scored a zero angle goal with a reverse hit. Simranjeet Singh scored his third goal of the tournament and the second of the game in the 22nd minute. India conceded their first penalty corner of the game in the 29th minute but Belgium failed to score. At half-time, India were leading 2-0.
The second half began in the same fashion with India on the offense. India got its third penalty corner in the 48th minute but failed to make it count. In the 59th minute, Gurjant was one on one with the Belgium goalkeeper but Loic Van Doren was able to save the assault. India got its 4th penalty corner in the 60th minute which got deflected by a Belgium defender’s leg, resulting in a 5th penalty corner.
Belgium keeper Van Doren deflected the stroke and no further damage was done. Belgium got their second penalty corner in the dying moments of the game which was followed by a third penalty corner. Belgium’s Fabrice Van Bockrijck scored in the last minute of the game. At full time, India were ahead by a goal (2-1). India won its second title after a gap of 15 years. Gurjant Singh was awarded the Man of the Match.
It was India’s third appearance in the finals. India lost 3-2 to Australia in 1997 but came back strongly in the next edition. In 2001, India won its maiden title against Argentina by 6-1. Germany defeated Australia 3-0 to clinch the bronze medal.
India’s performance in the tournament
The semi-finals between India and Australia went down to the wire. Australia’s Tom Craig broke the deadlock in the 14th minute as he converted a penalty corner. In the second half, Gurjant Singh’s field goal in the 42nd minute got India off the mark. Mandeep Singh’s field goal in the 48th minute gave India a 2-1 lead. The equalizer was scored by Australia’s Lachlan Sharp in the 57th minute by a field goal. The game went to penalty shootouts where India held on to their nerves and defeated Australia 4-2. Australia’s Blake Govers and Jack Welch
Australia’s Blake Govers and Jack Welch scored while Matthew Bird and Lachlan Sharp failed to convert the penalties. For India, all four shooters – Harjeet Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Sumi and Manpreet (junior) scored.
In the quarter-finals against Spain, India were trailing 1-0 in the first half. Spain’s Marc Serrahima converted a penalty corner in the 22nd minute. India’s Simranjeet Singh scored in the 57th minute to draw level. In the 66th minute, Harmanpreet Singh converted a penalty corner to give India a one goal lead. India maintained their lead to oust Spain in the quarters.
In the first game against Canada, India won by 4-0. The first goal came from Mandeep Singh in the 35th minute which was a field goal. A penalty stroke conversion from Harmanpreet Singh in the 46th minute gave the team a 2-0 lead. In the last 10 minutes of the game, Varun Kumar converted a penalty corner in the 60th minute and Ajit Pandey scored a field goal in the 66th minute, resulting in a comfortable 4-0 win.
India-England encounter saw a flurry of goals. With 8 goals in total, 5 came from the Indian colts. England’s Jack Clee scored a field goal in the 10th minute, the first of the game. India fought back strongly with 5 goals from Parvinder Singh (24′), Armaan Qureshi (35′), Harmanpreet Singh (37′), Simranjeet Singh (45′) and Varun Kumar (59′). In the dying moments of the game, England’s Will Calnan and Edward Horler scored two goals to reduce the deficit.
In the last game against South Africa, India drew first blood with a field goal from skipper Harjeet Singh in the 11th minute. South Africa drew level with a penalty corner conversion from Kyle Lion-Cachet in the 28th minute. Mandeep Singh’s field goal in the 55th minute helped India take a 2-1 lead and sealed the game.