THE INDIAN U21 team were crowned World Champions after defeating Belgium 2-1 in the final match of the Uttar Pradesh Hockey Junior World Cup Men Lucknow 2016, becoming the first host nation to win the tournament.
A packed crowd at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium in Lucknow witnessed a thrilling contest as Captain Harjeet Singh and his boys lifted the World Cup after 15 years, with Belgium finishing runners up.
The Indian colts showed intent right from the start, with Captain Harjeet Singh penetrating Belgium's circle inside the first two minutes. A miraculous effort from Gurjant Singh in the 8th minute saw India go 1-0 up as he got hold of an aerial pass and scored off a powerful reverse hit.
Belgium, playing in their maiden Junior World Cup Final, were kept busy in their backline by the boys in blue. In the 22nd minute, Simranjeet Singh made full use of a clever pass from Nilakanta Sharma and netted one past goalkeeper Loic Van Doren. At halftime, India were in complete control with a 2-0 lead.
The second half saw India taking over most of the possession, denying the visitors any opportunity to score. Goalkeeper Vikas Dahiya was rock solid in his role as the shot-stopper, as India drew in on a victory. A late Penalty Corner from Belgium saw the game stretch past regulation time, and although Fabrice Van Bockrijck converted it successfully, it was India who lifted the coveted Junior World Cup to script history.
Earlier, in the Bronze medal match, Timm Herzbruch inspired Germany to a 3-0 victory over Australia, with the 19-year-old scoring twice for his side. The early stages of the match were closely contested, with the Burras having some good scoring opportunities in the first half but found themselves going into break a goal down thanks to Jan Schiffer’s 11th minute field goal. It was a lead that Germany doubled in the second period when the outstanding Herzbruch fired home from open play in the 51st minute. Herzbruch also netted Germany’s third goal, launching an unstoppable penalty corner drag-flick into the top right corner ten minutes from time to secure the bronze medal.
Argentina were the winners of the 5th/6th Place play-off, recording a 2-1 victory over Spain. Following an evenly contested first half, Spain came close to opening the scoring in the early stages of the second period, with Pol Gispert missing two chances before Argentina established a 2-0 lead. Nicolas Keenan and Tomas Domene scored goals in the 51st and 54th minute for Argentina. Spain removed their goalkeeper in the final stages of the match, and their boldness was rewarded three minutes from the end when Marc Perrellon opened their scoring. Spain almost found an equalizer in the closing moments with a penalty corner, but Argentina shot-stopper Emiliano Bosso made the save that guaranteed a top five finish for his team.
The Netherlands were comfortable winners of the 7th/8th Place play-off, defeating England 6-2. Thijs van Dam’s first half penalty corner opened the scoring for Netherlands and shortly after the break Thierry Brinkman gave them a 2-0 lead. Tom Sorsby scored one for England before Bram van Groesen and Morris de Vilder increased the Dutch advantage to 4-1. Sorsby scored from the penalty spot to reduce the deficit, but additional strikes from Brinkman and Van Groesen sealed the victory in the favour of the Netherlands.
On the historic occasion of India winning the Uttar Pradesh Hockey Junior World Cup Men Lucknow 2016, Hockey India announced a cash prize of INR 5 Lakhs per player and INR 2.5 Lakhs for the support staff.
7th/8th Place: England 2 vs Netherlands 6.
5th/6th Place: Argentina 2 vs Spain 1.
3rd/4th Place: Germany 3 vs Australia 0.
Final: Belgium 1 vs India 2.
9. New Zealand
10. South Africa
1. Uttar Pradesh Best Player of the Tournament: Enrique Gonzalez de Castejon (Spain)
2. Uttar Pradesh Goalkeeper of the Tournament: Loic van Doren (Belgium)
3. Uttar Pradesh Up & Coming U19 Player of the Tournament: Timm Herzbruch (Germany)
4. Uttar Pradesh Fair Play Award: New Zealand
5. Uttar Pradesh Fans Choice Award: Harmanpreet Singh (India)
6. HERO Top Scorer of the Tournament: Edward Horler (England) – 8 goals.