New Zealand go Dutch to keep India out

India outclassed Poland 4-2 in their final Pool D match but failed to progress into the group of eight knockout stage as New Zealand held the Netherlands 2-2 in the men’s Junior World Cup here on Friday.

For India to reach the quarterfinals and be into medal contention, New Zealand had to lose.
But the Kiwis held pool leaders Holland and sealed India’s fate.

The Dutch finished with 10 points while the Kiwis had eight. India, who finished with seven points, will now play for the 9th to 16th positions.

India looked far from comfortable at Seng Kang Sports Complex as they began lethargically and there was little cohesion between the forwards. What made matters worse were several mis-passes from the midfield.

However, they shrugged off their lethargy and took the lead in the 25th minute when unmarked left half Mohd Amir Khan seized an opportunity to send a reverse shot past Polish goalkeeper Lukasz Mis and into the net.

India doubled the lead four minutes later when striker Pramod Kumar seized a rebound from a penalty corner attempt from captain Diwakar Ram.

But if India thought that this would be a cakewalk, Poland had other ideas. The Poles returned after the break and hit back with two goals to restore parity.

Krystian Makowski reduced the margin from a field goal in the 41st minute and Piotr Kozlowski then sounded the board from a penalty corner three minutes later.
A stunned India pulled up their socks and forged ahead with a dragflick strike from Diwakar in the 50th minute and Victo Singh completed the tally in the final seconds of the match.

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