India risk early exit from Jr WC after loss to Dutch


Mink Van Der Weerden's hat-trick sunk India in the crucial Pool D encounter and consequentially, the Diwakar Ram-led side will have to beat Poland in their final pool match tomorrow and then pray that New Zealand loses against the Netherlands to clear their medal round passage.

Weerden was bang on target with penalty corners and found the net in the 10th, 14th and 52nd minutes, while Mandeep Antil (fifth minute) and Innocent Kullu (54th) scored for India at the Sengkang Sports Complex.
With this win, the Netherlands have assured themselves a place in the next stage with three outright wins from as many outings.
The second position from the pool is still up for grabs with both India and New Zealand in the hunt.
Contrary to the result, the match started with the Indians playing attacking hockey from the start. Their tactic soon bore fruit as Mandeep gave India the lead as early as in the fifth minute through a field goal.
However, the joy proved short-lived as Weerden single-handedly turned the table for Netherlands with two strikes in a span of nine minutes.

He restored parity for the Dutch in the 10th minute, converting their second penalty corner with a high flick that landed at the right top corner of the Indian goal.
Weerden again struck four minutes later, converting another set-piece with his powerful dragonflies to hand the Netherlands a 2-1 lead.
Stung by the reversal, India stepped on gas but the Pramod Kumar-led forward line lacked vision and squandered scoring opportunities galore.
Pramod, in particular, was guilty on quite a few occasions and cut a sorry figure with his trappings.
In the 28th minute, he lost a golden opportunity to level the scores, hitting it straight to the body of the onrushing Dutch goalie Pirmin Blaak.
In the last five minutes of the opening half India earned two short corners but failed to score on both the occasions to go into the breather trailing 1-2.
The second half started on a more sedate note with both the sides seemed in no mood to give an inch to the other.
Unfortunately for India, Diwakar was off-colour again with penalty corners. There was no surprise element in his drag-flicks as the Dutch goalkeeper easily anticipated his mid-net flick from India's third short corner in the 48th minute.

Weerden, on the other hand, was unstoppable with short corners and went to register his hat-trick in the 52nd minute to give his side a 3-1 lead.
Against the run of the play, India reduced the margin two minutes later with Innocent Kullu scoring from a short corner.
Back in the hunt after Kullu's strike, India put pressure on the Netherlands defence with constant attacks from both the wings but a vigilant Dutch custodian Blaak came in between India and goal as he denied Mandeep twice in the 60th minute.
Four minutes later, Victo Singh came agonisingly close to scoring from a Mandeep cross but his shot missed the cage by a whisker.
The Indians earned three more penalty corners in the last five minutes of the match, but failed to find the net even once.

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