India falls to France 1-3 to finish 4th at the World Junior Hockey Championship – .

India falls to France 1-3 to finish 4th at the World Junior Hockey Championship – .

Title hopes have already been shattered, defending champions India failed to even make the podium as they lost 1-3 to France in the play-off for the FIH Junior World Cup of Hockey bronze medal, Sunday.

French skipper Timothée Clément managed a hat-trick to stun the hosts again and secure the bronze medal.

Clement converted three penalty corners for France in the 26th, 34th and 47th minutes while India’s only goal was scored by Sudeep Chirmako in the 42nd minute.

It was the Indians’ second consecutive flop show after their superlative performance against Belgium in the quarter-finals.

The third-fourth-place match was a chance for India to avenge its 4-5 loss to France in its first game of the tournament, but that was not the case as the European team continued to dominate the hosts with superb performance.

France were by far the best team on the pitch as they controlled the process after a calm first quarter and got up to 14 penalty corners compared to just three for India.

India started on a positive note and put pressure on the French defense in the first quarter, resulting in a penalty kick in the first minute of the game, but the hosts did not take advantage of the opportunity.

The Indians continued to press hard and nearly took the lead in the 12th minute when Araijeet Singh Hundal’s shot from the top of the circle hit the post.

France gained a foothold in the game at the end of the first quarter by securing three consecutive penalty corners, but the Indian defense did just enough to keep rivals at bay.

France continued to attack in the second quarter as the Indians played catch-up hockey.

Three minutes after the start of the second quarter, France got another penalty corner, but again it was to no avail.

India also created a few opportunities but all failed within the French circle.

France continued to put pressure on the Indian defense and thus got their fifth penalty corner in the 26th minute which was transformed by Clement with a weak drag stroke to the right of Indian goalkeeper Prasanth Chauhan.

France continued their attacking play after the change of sides and got five penalty corners a few minutes after the start of the third quarter, the last of which was transformed by Clément to give the European team a lead of 2- 0.

A few minutes later, India got a penalty corner but Shardanand Tiwari’s shot was deflected by the first rusher.

A few seconds later, Sudeep’s point blank test was saved by the French goalkeeper.

In the 42nd minute, Sudeep gave the host hope by closing the gap with a field goal.

But France continued to attack and got their 11th penalty in the 47th minute and again Clément was on target.

France did not release the pressure on the Indian defense and thus obtained three more penalty corners but failed to extend their lead.

Sudeep had a great opportunity for India a few minutes later, but his pass touch from Araijeet Singh Hundal missed out.

India had another chance to close the gap in the form of a penalty, but vice-captain Sanjay Kumar’s shot was well defended by France. PTI SSC


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