Hosts India overcome Spaniard Defense to Win 2-1: Jr Hockey World Cup: The Spaniards defence choked India to such an extent, forcing the Indian players to over-think which made them look out-of-sorts. Despite this Team India overcame the nightmare to edge out Spain 2-1 thereby sealing a semi-final spot in the men’s Junior Hockey World Cup 2016.
The hosts will meet Australia in the semi-final on Friday.
Jr Hockey World Cup: India Win Despite Tight Defence
It was not an impressive performance by the Indians, who are touted as title contenders as they scrabbled in almost all departments of the game.
The Indian Fans heaved a sigh of relief when Simranjeet Singh (57th) equalised for India after Marc Serrahima gave Spain the lead in the 22nd minute.
The Indians earned as many as nine penalty corners but could utilize just two with Harmanpreet converting the hosts’ eighth set piece in the 66th minute to clinch a last four positions.
Even though they enjoyed their share of ball possession, Indians looked completely off-colour in the opening half.
There was a distinct lack of co-ordination. There were sloppy mistakes while trapping and releasing the ball during the first half.
The Indian team though created more openings but Spain utilized the lone opportunity they got in the first half.
Spaniards came out with a tight defensive structure and relied on man marking to stop the attacking Indians.
India though had the two opportunities to take the lead when they secured two penalty corners early on in the opening half but wasted both as one first occasion skipper Harjeet Singh failed to stop the push and then Spanish goalkeeper Albert Perez came up with a fine save to deny Varun Kumar.
Jr Hockey World Cup : Spain then took the lead in the 22nd minute.
Three minutes later Mandeep Singh’s deflection from Santa Singh’s cross found the back of the Spanish net but it was disallowed by the umpire.
After the change of ends, the Indians went all out attacking in search of goals but failed to make any headway, courtesy miss-passing and miss-trapping.
Four minutes into second half, Spain almost extended their lead but Vikas Dahiya came to his side’s rescue to deny Serrahima.
The Indians continued to attack but goals eluded them as Spanish goalkeeper Perez came up with a double save to deny Armaa Qureshi first and then Manpreet (Jr) from the rebound.
It was story of missed chances as India wasted two more penalty corners soon.
Nilkanta Sharma then came close in the 53rd minute but his deflection from Harmanpreet’s defence splitting pass went just wide of the goal.
India finally tasted success in the 57th minute from their fifth penalty corner. This time too, the hosts failed to stop the push but Sumit did enough to get a shot at the goal which was saved by the Spanish goalkeeper and from the rebound Simranjeet scored.
In the last 10 minutes, India got four more penalty corners and the penultimate one was eventually converted by Harmanpreet to take the lead for the first time in the match.
It was a tense last couple of minutes for the hosts as they were reduced to 10 men after Armaan was shown the yellow card for an unnecessary tackle.
Jr Hockey World Cup: Argentina Vs Belgium
Earlier in the day, Belgium defeated Argentina in a shoot-out to set up a semi-final clash against six-time champions and title holders Germany.
Belgium eked out a 4-1 win over Argentina in the shoot-out after both the teams were locked 1-1 at the end of regulation time in the first quarterfinal of the day.
Maico Casella (44th minute) scored for Argentina in the regulation time but Victor Wegnez drew level (69th) for Belgium just a minute from the final hooter to take the match into shoot-out.
In the shoot-out, Nicolas Poncelet, Arthur de Sloover, Victor Wegnez and Henri Raes converted their chances while Tomas Domene was the lone lucky player for Argentina.
Jr Hockey World Cup: Germany Vs England
Germany had a relatively easy outing against England as they recorded a comfortable 4-2 win to seal their place in the last-four round.