The defending champions Netherlands defeated Argentina and India defeated England in penalty shoot-outs to win the Gold and Bronze Medal respectively at the ERGO Hockey Junior World Cup in Mönchengladbach on Sunday.
Final Standings: 1. Netherlands, 2. Argentina, 3. India, 4. England, 5. Spain, 6. Australia, 7. United States, 8. South Africa, 9. New Zealand, 10. Germany, 11. Korea, 12. China, 13. Belgium, 14. Canada, 15. Russia, 16. Ghana
On asking about the feeling of winning first ever medal at this level Rani (Vice Captain of India and Player of the tournament) said “It really feel very good. We are so happy and we have to thank our goalkeeper Bigan Soy who did very well in the shoot-outs. We were mentally prepared for shoot-outs which was good. This is our first-ever medal in a Junior World Cup, now we will celebrate!”
Poonam Rani, who is also part senior Indian National Team, echoed Rani and said, “Dont how do I am feeling, can not express it. This is my biggest medal I have ever since I have started playing hockey.”
Netherlands who went in lemon break with 1-0 lead, were held by Argentina 1-1 at full time with late strike in 2nd half. The Dutch scored through the highest goal scorer of the tournament van WIJK Lieke in 32nd minute on penalty corner while the Argentine girls equalized through Jimena Cedres with just 4 minutes remaining to final hooter. Jimena Cedres and Maria Granatto missed their chances during penalty shoot-out as Netherlands won the match with 4-2 score in shoot-out.
India went ahead in 13th minute through a goal from Rani, who was later adjudged as player of the tournament and then England couldn’t carve out the chance to get back into the game.
But in the second half, England showed a much more attacking mindset, playing with more pace and putting India on the back foot.
With 15 minutes remaining, Anna Toman hit an equaliser. After receiving the ball in a busy D, Toman managed to find a gap to flick her shot into the goal. Neither side could find another goal and so the strike forced penalty shoot-out.
England saw all but one of their five shots saved or pushed wide but Amy Tennant in the England goal kept them in it with some superb goalkeeping.
Tennant narrowed the angle of her onrushing Indian opponents by coming off her line early and the tactic worked as she made some great saves. Only Rani, who had scored in normal time managed to get the ball past her.
It came down to Emily Defroand to give England a lifeline and she took it, neatly rounding the keeper before slotting in.
This meant that the game would be decided by sudden death shuffles and Defroand stepped up to immediately follow up her first strike with another with Rani adding another to her tally for India.
But it was India who took the victory in sudden death shuffles. Anna Toman, who had already rescued England once in the tie, couldn’t find a way past Bigan Soy after Naveet Kaur had given the Asian side the advantage. England finish fourth in the competition.
England Head coach, Craig Keegan, said: “It’s always the toughest way to end a tournament, to lose on penalties but it was probably our best half of hockey in the second half today, to really push India and score the goal and then press for the winner.
“Saying that I am proud of the team is a bit of an understatement. We have been on an incredible journey over the past two weeks and I have empathy for the players as finishing fourth is the worst position possible.”