These players will look to continue their impressive form at the tournament.
The FIH Men’s Junior Hockey World Cup 2021 has already reached the quarter-final stage. It will see the top eight teams battling it out for the ultimate prize. India have already booked a berth in the quarter-finals and the excitement of the fans at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneshwar is bound to be palpable. The other teams who have also qualified for the last eight are Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Argentina, France, Malaysia and Belgium.
India will face Belgium on December 1 to book a spot at the semifinals of the tournament. The task will definitely be challenging as Belgium are still undefeated in the tournament. However, the hosts played really well in the last two matches which will give them some confidence in an important match.
They scored 25 goals in the group stages against the likes of France, Poland and Canada. Added to that, Sanjay’s blazing form and India have all the reasons to be hopeful. Just like Sanjay there have been a few other players too who have dazzled under the spotlight. These international stars have truly delivered for their respective countries and became the players to watch out for in the quarterfinals of the Junior Hockey World Cup.
5. Brent Van Bijnen
Dutch striker Brent Van Bijnen has been a constant thorn in the opposition defence. Amassing a total of five goals in the group stages, his performance is one of the crucial factors behind the Netherlands finishing at top of the table. They have also won all three of their group games against Spain, South Korea and the United States.
He scored a hat-trick against the United States and a brace against South Korea in their 14-0 and 12-5 victories respectively. His contribution to the team has been unparalleled. Van Bijnen will therefore be a key man against Argentina in the quarterfinal.
4. Benedikt Schwarzhaupt
German captain Benedikt Schwarzhaupt has certainly led his team from the front. Whenever his nation looked towards him for a goal, he has answered. Be it Pakistan, Argentina or Egypt — his stick has always managed to find the back of the nets. He scored sublime goals against Pakistan, Argentina and Egypt in the ongoing Junior Hockey World Cup.
Benedikt’s goal against Argentina was very important as it helped the Germans establish a 2-0 lead, finally culminating in a 3-2 victory. It was an important victory that made it possible for the Germans to finish at the top of their group.
3. Francisco Matorras
Unlike the rest of the names on the list so far, Francisco Matorras is not a goalscorer. On the contrary, he is the one saving it. The Spanish goalkeeper has successfully managed to keep a clean sheet against teams like South Korea and the United States.
Although his defence was breached twice in a 2-3 defeat to the Netherlands, Matorras has been solid at the Junior Hockey World Cup. He is carefully holding his defence and managing his troops from the back. His decision making skills and calm nerves have been an asset for his side. Matorras will definitely look to utilize those skills effectively against Germany in their upcoming match to crush their hopes of a title victory.
2. Timothee Clement
Timothee Clement is going to produce something special and you could tell that from the way he began the tournament. With a hat-trick against India in their own backyard, he helped his team register a shocking 5-4 victory in their first match of the ongoing Junior Hockey World Cup. He followed it by a brace against Poland in the 3′ and 36′ minutes. Clement wrapped it up with another hat-trick against Canada, helping France win 11-1.
Clement has been downright ruthless and the defence has found it hard to contain him. Scoring in the first minute of the game against India has already given him that added confidence. He has been feeding off that momentum since then.
Malaysia will definitely have to keep him in check in their quarterfinal match, otherwise they risk Clement find his way back to the nets. Scoring eight goals out of France’s 23 goals in total, Timothee is definitely showing no signs of slowing down.
1. Miles Bukkens
Bukkens has been unstoppable in the ongoing Junior Hockey World Cup. So much so that he even managed to make teammate Brent Van Bijnen play second fiddle. Scoring an impressive 11 goals, Bukkens is the leading goal scorer of the tournament so far. Opening his campaign with five goals against South Korea and ending it in the same fashion against the United States with another scored in-between in a match against Spain in the 59th minute that proved to be a decider.
Bukkens is definitely in golden touch. He is giving his quarter-final opponents Argentina a lot to worry about. Whether the Netherlands win the Junior Hockey World Cup or not, Miles will more than likely end it as the top scorer or player of the tournament.