The Indian flags were waving high at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium in Lucknow as India defeated Australia 4-2 in a nail-biting semi-final to book a berth in the final of the Junior World Cup final of the Men’s Hockey event. The Indian side was floored by the tactical skills of the Aussies, as they lost the first half trailing by a solitary goal.
Thereafter, India came back strongly enforcing pace, intensity and acute awareness in the field. The match ended tied at 2-2 after 70 minutes of play. But India edged past Australia in the penalty shoot-outs 4-2.
— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) December 18, 2016
India was a bit lucky as Australia couldn’t find the corner in their last two penalty corners properly. Australia knew that they needed to make it count against a rejuvenated Indian side. They now lock horns with Belgium in the final on December 18. Belgium also won their match against Germany via penalty shoot-outs.
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The Indian takers – Sumit, Harmanpreet, Manpreet, Harjeet, all strucked fine goals and Vikas Dahiya was exceptional in front of the goal. The Indian goalie didn’t lost his calm despite being in the firing line and let the Aussies, to score past him with two goals. Manpreet’s goal triggered celebrations in the stands and in the Indian camp. Hosts India have entered the final of this event after a gap of 15 years. India’s victory over Australia showed that in high-intensity clashes, teams need to grab hold of the small opportunities.
According to the Indian coach Harendra Singh, he disagreed on the criticism that India was trailing in the first half finding it difficult to hold on the Aussie attack. He said, “I prepared the team mentally as well as physically.” He added, “I don’t agree we lost structure. The best thing about this team is that we never lose structure.”
Though, it was evident that in the first half the Indians were not creating enough chances to rotate the ball and couldn’t build up efficient attacks. The Indian defence was under tremendous pressure as the turn-overs went Australia’s way.