Junior Hockey World Cup 2016: India to lock horns with Belgium in title clash

18 December 2016, 04:09 PM
Indian Junior Hockey Team - File Photo
Indian Junior Hockey Team - File Photo

Hosts India shall be looking to recreate magic with their sticks on the turf as they take on European powerhouse Belgium in the grand final of the Junior Hockey World Cup at the Dhyan Chand Stadium in Lucknow later on Sunday. 

The title clash will commence at 6:00 pm and shall be broadcasted live by Star Sports.

The Indian colts would look to put to an end their 15 year old title drought as they had last made a successful attempt at lifting the coveted title way back in  2001.

The Indian team has been in breathtaking form all through the tournament by producing some magical performances.

The Indians topped their group by scoring easy wins over England, Canada and South Africa. They edged past Spain (2-1) in the quarterfinals before beating pre tournament favorites Australia in a thrilling penalty shoot out in the semi-finals.

On the other hand, their opponents in the finals Belgium have surprised a few by making it to the title clash. Belgium like India had topped their group by securing three straight wins over Malaysia, Egypt and Netherlands.

However they had to sweat hard and were pushed to the limits by Argentina and Germany in the quarterfinal and semifinal stages of the tournament. 

This tournament has proved to be an ideal platform for junior stars to prove their skill and pedigree and make an early impression at the senior level.

Over the years has seen a lot of them going on to become Olympic and world champions, such as Lucas Villa and Pedro Ibarra the stars of Argentina’s Junior World Cup-winning team in 2005, who helped their country win the Olympic gold at the Rio Olympics this year.

The Indian coach Harendra Singh told one of the leading media houses that, “Now, it’s in the hands of the boys to decide the colour of the medal they want to take home. They have to play good hockey for just 70-minutes and the gold will be theirs. This is what I have told them.”

So in a nutshell, it promises to be mouth watering encounter with both sides engaged in a hard-fought battle to lift the coveted Junior title. 

First Published: Sunday, December 18, 2016 03:41 PM
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