The junior Colts will look to finish the tournament on a bright note.
Defending champions India will be looking to end the ongoing FIH Men’s Junior Hockey World Cup on a high. They will try to win the bronze medal in front of the home crowd at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar. The host nation has a tough task at hand as their opposition in the next match is France. The French team had managed to beat them once before in the ongoing tournament in the group stages.
The Indians will also be eager to brush aside the disappointing defeat they faced against Germany in the semifinals. Head coach Graham Reid’s men are capable of finishing the year with a medal. This year has been a comeback of glory days for Indian hockey. The senior men’s team won the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics after more than 40 years.
Meanwhile, the women’s team also finished fourth in the Tokyo Olympics, their highest finish at the quadrennial event. However, the Indian Colts have to work hard to beat France. The Europeans have been in good form in the Junior Hockey World Cup.
Plenty of chances but no finished product
France, who failed to qualify for the previous edition, had had a statement-making tournament this year. The European side opened their campaign with an exciting victory over hosts India. They came out on top after a nine-goal thriller. France then proceeded to make short work of the rest of the teams in the group. They dismantled Poland 7-1 and saw off Canada 11-1. Led by their ferocious captain Timothee Clement, who scored eight goals in the group stages alone, France looked like a real title contender for the Junior Hockey World Cup title.
It was more of the same in the quarterfinals as they scored four goals against Malaysia, setting up a semifinal date with Argentina. The South American side, however, proved to be a resilient bunch and the French attack failed to unlock the threat. The game went into penalties where the promising French side stumbled with a score of 1 to 3.
The hosts came into this tournament as the defending champions and two-time winners. However, they quickly realized that it is no easy journey when they stumbled against the French team in the first match of the campaign by a score of 4-5. However, they reached the knockout stages after two strong performances against Canada and Poland respectively.
India scored a total of 25 goals in three group matches. They, then, proceeded to show their resistance and resilience against Belgium in the quarterfinals, blunting their repetitive attacks and scoring one goal at the same time to move to the semifinals of the Junior Hockey World Cup.
A German challenge awaited them and it was one they went in with determination, only for it to slip up within the latter stages of the first period. The Germans’ sustained attack unravelled the Indian resilience with the European side coming out victorious with a score of 4-2.
Timothee Clement (France)
Clement is France’s offensive lynchpin. The French star is no stranger to goals, having already scored 11 times during the course of the tournament. What makes him an even more interesting watch is that in the first game of the tournament, the youngster scored three goals to lead France to a thrilling opening day victory against the host nation.
They are set to face off against the same opposition yet again and the French team’s skipper will look to continue his hunt for more goals against the same opposition. Even in the loss to Argentina, Clement proved to be the lone fighter, converting his penalty opportunity with three of his teammates missing, leading to the eventual loss.
Sanjay started the Junior Hockey World Cup in a bright fashion. In the group stages, he scored eight brilliant goals to put India through the knockouts. However, he has failed to score in the last two matches. The young Indian will be looking to rediscover his touch against a team he has had no trouble scoring.
He bagged three goals in the 4-5 loss against France in the opening match of the Junior Hockey World Cup. The onus would be on him to replicate his performance in a winning cause to help the hosts to finish the tournament with a medal.
Marias Mathieu (GK), Guillaume de Vaucelles (GK), Timothee Clement (C), Lucas Montecot, Gaetan Larnicol, Matteo Desgouillons, Brieuc Delemazure, Stanislas Branicki, Corentin Sellier, Mathias Clement, Paul Piot, Jules Verrier, Benjamin Marque, Gaspard Xavier, Raife Gonessa, Louis Haertelmeyer, Antonin Igau, Noe Jouin, Jules Bournac, Thomas Assoignon, Matthieu Maries.
Pawan(GK), Sanjay, Shardanand Tiwari, Sunil Jojo, Abhishek Lakra, Vivek Sagar Prasad (C), Rabichandra Singh Moirangthem, Rahul Kumar Rajbhar, Uttam Singh, Manjeet, Gurmukh Singh, Boby Singh Dhami, Sudeep Chirmako, Ankit Pal, Vishnu Kant Singh, Dinachandra Singh Moirangthem, Prashant Kumar Chauhan(GK), Araijeet Singh Hundal, Yashdeep Siwach.
The match will be shown LIVE on the Star Sports network on December 5, 2021, from 4:30 PM IST. It will be also available to stream LIVE on Hotstar and JioTV.
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