Germany successfully defends Hockey Junior World Cup title

New Delhi, Dec 15: Germany scripted history Sunday at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium by successfully defending and winning their sixth Hockey Junior World Cup by drubbing France 5-2 in the final here.

Underdogs France have been the story of the tournament but the defending champions had the last laugh by imposing their dominance in junior flagship event.

France not just managed but had comprehensive victories against South American champions Argentina, European champions Belgium and Asian champions Malaysia to enter their first final in the competition.

Germany went for the kill early when Niklas Wellen stole the ball in the French circle and slotted it past ‘keeper of the tournament’ Edgar Reynaud in the second minute.

But the French settled their nerves and kept the Germans at bay, not hesitating to rush forward when they saw an opening.

Patience finally bore fruit for France when in the 16th minute Gaspard Baumgarten blasted a shot past German stopper Victor Aly to level the match 1-1.

The French found confidence and kept pushing the German defence. But soon Germany forced their first penalty corner during a French yellow card but could not capitalise on it and reached halftime with the same score.

France returned after the break and scored within five minutes, taking the lead on their first penalty corner in the 40th minute, again by Baumgarten. This did not stand well with the Germans who earned their second penalty corner in the next breath but were denied by Reynaud again, in fine form in the French goal.

Germany came back on par in the 44th minute when Wellen, later declared the man of the match, scored his second goal of the match and completed his hattrick two minutes later to put Germany back on top.

France, however, refused to surrender and fought on every ball, holding the fort firmly until the 60th minute when Jonas Gomoll made the best out of a confusing situation in the French circle to put the ball in the goal.

Two goals down and a few more minutes to go, France replaced their goalie with Corentin Saunier but that did not affect the Germans who scored another goal by top scorer of the tournament Christopher Ruhr, who finished the tournament with nine.

Germany soon hoisted the trophy for the sixth time in history in the 10th edition of the tournament after an exciting final that was much closer than anticipated.

The French had to settle for the silver while the Netherlands beat Malaysia 7-2 in the bronze medal playoff earlier in the day.

IANS