FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup | India lose in semis to the Netherlands, to compete for bronze

FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup | India lose in semis to the Netherlands, to compete for bronze

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Indian team react after losing the match.


(Hockey India)

India lost 3-0 against the Netherlands in the FIH Hockey Women's Junior World Cup 2022 semi-finals in Potchefstroom, South Africa. Even after Tessa Beetsma gave the Dutch team an early lead, the Indian team stayed in game, but two late goals by Luna Fokke and Jip Dicke put a stop to resistance.

On Tuesday, India will play England for the bronze medal. The final will be contested on the same day between the Netherlands and Germany. India's best performance at the Junior Women's Hockey World Cup to date is a bronze medal in 2013. Surprisingly, India lost to the eventual champions, the Netherlands, by an identical 3-0 margin in the semi-finals of that tournament in Germany.

Rani Rampal, Deep Grace Ekka, and Vandana Katariya, current senior pros who were key in India's fourth-place result at Tokyo 2020, were among the 2013 line-up.

India had a strong start to the match, threatening to break down the Dutch defence early on. Sangita Kumari had time and space inside the Netherlands circle seconds into the game, but her attempt soared over the bar.

Minutes later, India captain Salima Tete went on a strong run before sending the ball to Mumtaz Khan, the tournament's leading scorer. Mumtaz's strike appeared to beat the Dutch goalie, but it came back off the post.

The Netherlands countered with some probing attacks of their own, and tournament leading scorer Jip Dicke came close to scoring her 13th goal of the 2022 Hockey World Cup. Dicke cued her shot after outrunning a couple of defenders, but she miscued it, letting the Indian defence off the hook.

At the opposite end, India kept pressing for the game's first goal, winning three penalty corners in a row. The Indian drag flickers, on the other hand, failed to make any of them count.

Beetsma Tessa polished off a quick passing team-move to give the Netherlands the lead in the 11th minute, bringing the Indian hockey team's lost opportunities back to haunt them.

Beetsma Tessa had the ball in the Indian net again two minutes later, but the Dutch joy was stopped short when the goal was overruled due to a back-stick infraction by the umpire.

Despite being behind by a goal in the second quarter, India maintained their pressure and continued to penetrate the Dutch circle. Meanwhile, the Netherlands continued to mount risky counter-attacks in order to exploit the holes left by India's high press.

Both teams, however, lacked the finesse to turn the chances into goals, and the Netherlands closed the first half with a one-goal lead. When the game resumed for the second half, the Dutch team controlled play and put the Indian defence and goalie Bichu Kharibam to the test. Bichu stood out in particular, repelling wave after wave of Dutch attacks.

The last quarter followed a similar pattern, with India being forced to defend deep against constant Dutch pressure in order to restrict the deficit to a single goal. The resistance was ultimately broken when Luna Fokke and Jip Dicke scored within a minute of each other to give the Netherlands a 3-0 lead. Dicke diverted in Beetsma's reverse hit for her 13th goal of the tournament, while Fokke scored in the 52nd minute after controlling a superb cross-field slap by Noor Omrani.

The goals were enough to propel the Netherlands to their fourth consecutive final, becoming them the most successful country in the history of the FIH Hockey Women's Junior World Cup. In the 2016 edition, the Dutch ladies were defeated by Argentina in the title decider.

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