October 19, 2001

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India beat Germany to enter final

Our Correspondent

Runners-up in the last edition of the tournament, India entered the final in the seventh junior men's hockey World Cup, defeating Germany 3-2 in the first semi-final in Hobart, Australia, on Friday.

India will meet Argentina, who beat England 3-1 in the other semi-final.

Argentina scored first in the 13th minute through Matias Paredes before Richard Mantell could reply for England five minutes later.

In the second session Marcelo Del Negro (52nd) and Alejandro Pasquali (64th) scored to wrap up the match and give Argentina a berth in their first men's hockey World Cup final.

For Germany, it was second time unlucky as they had lost to India in the semi-final of the last edition at Milton Keynes in 1997, too, going down by a golden goal. Centre-forward Rajiv Mishra had scored the match-winner in a 4-3 win.

Despite the six degrees Celcius conditions, the Indians came out firing. They started in whirlwind fashion and split the German defence in the opening minute. A body obstruction by the German 'keeper, who brought down Deepak Thakur, earned them penalty-stroke. Kanwalpreet Singh made no mistake from the 'spot', putting the ball waist high to 'keeper Ulrich Bubolz's left in the second minute.

Thereafter India, with good backing from their midfield, dictated play, seldom allowing the Germans, who were unbeaten till date in the tournament, space to manoeuvre. The midfield ascendancy gave India greater thrust upfront.

In 23rd minute, India consolidated their lead with a field goal. It was a brilliant effort by the fleet-footed Deepak Thakur, who laid the ground for Inderjeet Singh to score. Thakur broke down the middle and moved in alone. As he drew the German defenders towards him, he let a deft pass to the top of the circle for Inderjeet to slam home.

Down by two goals, Germany tried hard to open the Indian defence, but crowding out tactis and some sensible defending by the Indians prevented them from making any headway.

India continued with their game plan of defending in midfield and the making breakaway raid. A minute from the breather, a counter attack put them into the driver's seat.

Arjun Halappa Tejbir Singh dribbled the ball past the German players and passed from the top of the circle to Arjun Halappa, who brilliantly slipped the ball past the advancing German goalkeeper.

Three goals up at the breather was something the Indians may never have envisaged. Neither did the Germans, who had, only a day earlier, boasted of coming up with an even better performance when the situation demanded.

The second half of the match saw Germany change their pattern of play and go more in attack. They pressurised the Indian defence and their efforts paid-off in the 52nd minute, when Florian Keller scored off their fifth penalty-corner from a drag flick.

The goal spurred them further and India suddenly found themselves under pressure with repeated attacks. Germany earned three quick penalty-corners in 55th, 56th and 57th minute, but found the Indian defence hard to crack. The last penalty-corner saw errors creeping into Indian defence as they kept breaking before the hit and the umpire had to calm them down.

With four minutes to go, Germany scored again through Matthias Witthaus from a field goal. They then did tried hard for the equaliser, but the Indians held possession for the remaining time to take away the match.

In the positional matches, France defeated South Africa 2-1 through golden goal, while New Zealand defeated Malaysia 3-2 for the 9th to 12th placings. Ireland edged Chile 3-2 while Scotland beat Canada 3-0 in the 13th to 16th place matches.

On Saturday, France will face New Zealand for the 9th/10th place match, South Africa will face Malaysia for the 11th/12th; Ireland vs Scotland for 13th/14th and Chile vs Canada for 15th-16th place.

Complete Coverage: 7th Junior Men's World Cup 2001

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