India beat Belgium to win Junior Hockey World Cup after 15 years

India scored two field goals through Gurjant Singh and Simranjeet Singh while controlling the proceedings for better part of the game to emerge as winners.

By: PTI | Lucknow | Updated: December 18, 2016 9:16 pm
India Junior Hockey World Cup, Junior Hockey World Cup, India vs Belgium, Belgium vs India, Hockey news, hockey India, Hockey It was also the first time that a host nation had won the tournament since its inception. (Source: Hockey India)

India created history by winning the FIH Junior Hockey World Cup after a gap of 15 long years with a clinical 2-1 victory against Belgium in the final.

The hosts scored two beautifully crafted field goals in the first half through Gurjant Singh (8th minute) and Simranjeet Singh (22nd) while controlling the proceedings for better part of the game to emerge as deserving winners.

The team coached by Harendra Singh in association with senior team’s chief coach Roelant Oltmans accomplished what the ‘Class of 2001’ comprising of some of the best of their times like Gagan Ajit Singh, Yugraj Singh achieved then.

Having finished a lowly 13th in the last edition of the tournament in New Delhi, it was a mission for the hosts to rewrite history and the hosts duly achieved that riding on its brilliant performance in the 11th edition of the event.

It turned out to be a historic day for India as they reclaimed the title for the second time in the history of the tournament. India had last won the tournament way back in 2001 in Hobart.

It was also the first time that a host nation had won the tournament since its inception.

Cheered by a vociferous home crowd, the Indians produced a clinical performance – a “perfect game” which the team’s coaching staff was eying for in order to revive the fortunes of the game in a nation, which has boasted of a rich hockey tradition.

Belgium scored a late consolation goal through Fabrice van Bockrijck’s penalty corner conversion in the 70th minute.

With the title in sight, the Indians went on the offensive from the word go and put the Belgian defence under tremendous pressure with continuous raids.

India’s relentless pressure on the opposition striking circle earned them two penalty corners in the opening six minutes but as has been the case in the tournament so far, the hosts wasted both the opportunities.

But it didn’t take India too long to surge ahead as they drew the first blood in the eighth minute through Gurjant’s fantastic field strike.

The goal was set up by brilliant scoop from Sumit from the deep which ricocheted from the Belgian goalkpeer’s chestguard on to Gurjant’s sticks and the lanky striker pounced on the opportunity and unleashed a fierce reverse hit from a tight angle to beat the Loic van Doren all ends up.

A minute later Nilkanta Sharma came tantalisingly close to hand India a two-goal advantage but his shot from top of the circle went just wide.

The Indians kept up the pressure and doubled their lead in the 22nd minute through Simranjeet’s reverse shot from top of the circle after he was fed by a measured pass from Nilkanta.

Stunned by India’s aggression with a partisan crowd to contend with, Belgium went for goals and in the process secured their first penalty corner in the 30th minute but the opportunity went wasted as the hosts went into breather with a comfortable 2-0 lead.

Earlier in the day, six-time champions and title holders Germany had to contend themselves with the bronze medal after outclassing Australia 3-0 in the third-fourth place play-off match.

India continued in the same vein after the change of ends and secured their third penalty corner in the 48th minute but skipper Harjeet Singh failed to stop the injection but recovered enough to take a shot which was saved Belgium goalkeeper van Doren.

The hosts kept up the pressure on the Belgian defence and in the 60th minute an unmarked Gurjant came close to registering his second goal of the match from an open chance but his march was stopped by an onrushing Belgian custodian van Doren who did enough to get his stick on the ball to avert the danger.

Penalty corner conversion has been India’s only bane in the tournament and it continued to be so as the hosts wasted two more back-to-back set pieces in the final 10 minutes of the game.

With nothing to lose, Belgium gave their all in the final few minutes and managed to secure two consecutive penalty corners just 20 seconds from the final hooter, the second of which was converted by Van Bockrijck to give the something to cheer about for the Red Cougars.

But despite the defeat in the summit clash, the Belgians also created a history in their own way by finishing on the podium for the first time in the history of the tournament.

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  1. D
    Dec 18, 2016 at 4:32 pm
    Congo to all indian team of hockey because they all work hard for win the hockey world cup i am proud of all indian team and coach of indian team 😚😚😚😚😚😘😘😍😍😍
    1. Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee
      Dec 19, 2016 at 2:53 pm
      It turned out to be a historic day for India as first time that a host nation it created history by winning the FIH Junior Hockey World Cup after a gap of 15 long years with a clinical 2-1 victory against Belgium in the final. By this victory India reclaimed the le for the second time in the history of the tournament, after way back in 2001 in Hobart. Agree, though without arch rival stan’s junior team could not to take part in the Junior Hockey World Cup as it had applied for visas for players after the official deadline, even that India rewrite history after riding on its brilliant performance in the 11th edition of the event. Who forget that India having finished a lowly 13th in the last edition of the tournament in New Delhi? After the memorable World Cup winning victory, India's captain Harjeet Singh said the current team will "give a lot of joy" to the countrymen in near future. But we should not forget that these 18 golden gems of India who makes India proud has made plenty of sacrifices. Seven members of the junior hockey team, including captain Harjeet, are sons of drivers. They have battled the odds from a very young age, and their world cup victory by itself was no fluke, the team having won the Junior Asia Cup last year and also the last build-up event - a four-nation tournament in Valencia, Spain. Special thanks to Indian junior hockey team's coach Harendra Singh, who was overjo and rightly said I've invested 22 years of my life to see an Indian team lift the World Cup." Now it’s government, sponsors, media and the hockey lovers duty to revive India’s past glorious Hockey performance, should come forward for all kind of help not only these 18 jewels but also search out more talents for future. Kudos to Indian Junior Hockey World Cup winner team and hope that they will make the country proud again and again.
      1. M
        Manmohan Singh
        Dec 18, 2016 at 3:19 pm
        Hard work of years did pay.! Keep it up !! Chak de India !!!
        1. Rajendra Nirgudwar
          Dec 18, 2016 at 3:36 pm
          Congrats to Team Hockey India for good moment, thanks a lt;br/gt;lot
          1. O
            Dec 18, 2016 at 4:15 pm
            Great team India. Proud of u.
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