The Indian women’s hockey team’s dream run in the FIH Junior World Cup came to a screeching halt after it suffered a 0-3 defeat to three-time champions, the Netherlands in the semifinals in Potchefstroom on Sunday.
India, whose best finish in the tournament came in the 2013 edition where they finished as bronze medallists, were eying a maiden berth in the summit clash of the event.
The team produced high quality hockey to march into the last-four round unbeaten. But it was not to be as the Netherlands scored three field goals through Tessa Beetsma (12th minute), Luna Fokke (53rd) and Jip Dicke (54th) to emerge winners and sail into the their fourth consecutive final.
Contrary to the result, the Indians started on a bright note and dominated the early share of exchanges.
Mumtaz Khan, India’s highest scorer in the tournament so far with six goals, came close to giving her side the lead early on but her shot from skipper Salima Tete’s pass hit the post.
The Indians pressed hard on the Dutch goal in the first quarter and secured as many as three penalty corners but they failed in final execution.
The Netherlands scored against the run of play in the 12th minute through a fantastic field effort from Beetsma, in what has been described as the best goal of the tournament as it involved as many as 20 passes.
The goal changed the complexion of the match completely as from there on the Dutch took control of the proceedings and put the Indian defence under pressure with relentless raids, which included three unsuccessful penalty corner.
After the change of ends, the Dutch completely dominated the proceedings and the Indians were content in playing the waiting game, defending in numbers and just waiting for the opportunity to counter-attack.
But both the teams failed in their ploy as the third quarter didn’t produce any goals.
The Dutch extended their lead in the 53rd minute through Fokke’s reverse hit past India custodian Bichu Devi Kharibam after receiving a brilliant cross-field pass from Noor Omrani.
A minute later, the Netherlands literally took the game away from the Indians with another field strike through Dicke, who deflected home a Beetsma reverse hit.
From there on, it was next to impossible for the Indians as the Dutch continued to dominate to take the game away and seal their place in the final.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.