Junior Hockey World Cup 2016: Indian colts register a thumping 4-0 victory over Canada
Mandeep Singh broke the deadlock just before half-time to put the home team 1-0 up going into the break. Subsequently, it was Harmanpreet who doubled the lead for India from a penalty stroke in the second half before Varun Kumar and Ajit Pandey scored the next couple of goals for the final scoreline to rest at 4-0.
Indian domination from the get-go
The story of the first half was of supreme Indian domination without any visible result on the score-line until there were 30 seconds left on the clock. Despite controlling 80 per cent of the ball, and dictating the pace of the match, the Indian colts failed to capitalise on the opportunities. The credit can be attributed to the Canadian defence which flooded their half with numbers as soon as the Indians got into attacking mode.
The first couple of chances came off two successive penalty corners for India in the 12th and 14th minute respectively. But, Harmanpreet’s attempt to just play the ball straight up without picking it up, ensured that Canada’s keeper, Gill, made clear saves on both occassions.
It seemed tough for Canada to get the momentum going especially with India, not only dominating the match in terms of ball possession but constantly striding into the opponent half with lethal attempts riding on the back of Varun Kumar and Armaan Quereshi.
India did come drastically close to scoring the opening goal, but an inch of bad luck hurt their cause when Parvinder’s deflection from just in front of the goal hit the right post.
The excellent understanding between the Indian players for the ball to travel seamlessly amongst them in the opposition’s half fetched results in the final minute of the half when a string of passes were completed before Mandeep Singh hammered the ball home into the top right corner to secure the lead for India.
HALF TIME: India 1-0 Canada
India carried on from where they had left off in the first half, constantly making inroads into the Canadian half, keeping goal-keeper Iqwinder Gill on his toes. Akin to the first half, India managed to win two successive penalty corners in the 45th minute but Varun Kumar, who took the shot, failed to convert the set-piece.
The second goal did not elude them for long, though, as a resultant penalty stroke was successfully put in the back of the net by Harmanpreet in the 46th minute. A low, hard strike from the Indian young gun into the bottom left corner proved a wee-bit too difficult for Canada’s keeper Gill to keep at bay, putting the home team 2-0 in the lead.
60 minutes on the clock and the Indians just needed to showcase their mark in one aspect, converting penalty corners. And they did so in style, courtesy a goal from Varun Kumar. The Indian No. 7 immediately broke into a Cristiano Ronaldo celebration on the turf having put his team 3-0 up, securing an unassailable lead. If that did not suffice, a defensive lapse and an open goal from Canada gifted India their fourth goal in the 66th minute when Ajit Pandey just knicked the ball in on an aerial pass from Manpreet Singh.
Overall, it was a spectacular performance from the young Indians against a side that lacked in many departments.
FULL TIME: India 4-0 Canada
In the matches earlier on the the inaugural day, New Zealand scraped past a lowly Japan 1-0, while Germany opened their title defence with a shaky start against Spain but, nonetheless, managed to sneak in a narrow 2-1 victory.
In the other Pool D clash, it was a goal fest with New Zealand cruising past South Africa 4-2. India next play England on the 10th of December at 7 PM IST.