Holland too good for India

Holland too good for India

Holders Germany suffer shock loss

Holland too good for India

India were given a strong wake-up call by the Netherlands in their opening encounter in the Hero Hockey Junior World Cup on Friday night.

The last edition’s runners-up produced an authoritative performance to earn a 3-2 victory and sent a stern warning to other teams in the tournament.

The stakes were high for the match. The Netherlands in hockey can never be taken lightly. Their colts played akin to the standards set by their seniors, underlined by bursts of speed and stoic defence.

The Indians were simply swept away by their wave of attacks. India's defence was frequently found scattered and their half-hearted moves lacked conviction. The few that managed to reach the circle fell flat in the face of a robustly guarded citadel.
The orange shirts were quick off the blocks with Milan van Baal founding the net in the third minute in a well-stitched move. Tom Hiebendaal, set inside the circle by Pelle Vos, sent a parallel pass to Van Ball, who slotted in.

Showing urgency

India showed urgency for an equaliser, earning a penalty corner in the fifth minute but Sukhmanjit Singh’s flick couldn’t produce the result. India then found the answer through another penalty corner and Gurjinder Singh made no mistake in drawing parity in the 13th minute.

The Netherlands then pressed on with ferocity and the Indian defenders were soon dancing to their onslaught. Mark Rijkers gave them a 2-1 lead in the 25th minute with a reverse flick in a goalmouth melee and silenced a small but raucous home crowd.

India were yet to swallow the setback when the Netherlands exposed the fragility of the Indian defence. Rik van Kan's firm strike from the right was blocked by goalkeeper Harjot Singh but it went straight to Van Baal near the goalmouth who extended the lead in the 28th minute. The Dutch entered the half-time with a commanding 3-1 lead.

India put up a galvanised show in the second half and for a while it was the Dutch who found themselves on the backfoot. Making most of this opportunity, Akashdeep Singh, latching on to the pass from Ramandeep Singh, entered the striking circle and with a firm reverse flick reduced the gap in the scoreline in 42nd minute.

In an intense second half, the teams played as if their lives depended on it. Tempers soared as India searched for an equaliser and captain Manpreet Singh was handed a yellow card after his stick hit Rijkers, injuring him.

However, India’s desperate attempts yielded little from the Netherlands, whose domination in the field was unquestioned. India next play Canada on Saturday.

In other matches, defending champions Germany’s campaign started off on a sour note with Belgium overpowering them with a 3-1 victory in Pool A. Belgium keeper Arnaud Flamand made some stunning saves to be named the man of the match.

Australia toyed with Argentina before notching up a comfortable 5-2 victory while France scraped past Spain 4-3.

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