Argentina and Australia will meet in the final of the men’s Rabo Hockey Junior World Cup after both produced second half surges to emerge victorious from a pair of nail biting semi finals in Rotterdam today.
Argentina was the first team into the final when Pedro Ibarra scored a golden goal in the sixth minute of extra time for a 2-1 victory.
Spain looked the likely winner throughout the first half as their defence denied Argentina space in attack and took a 1-0 lead into half time. Captain David Alegre gave Spain the lead in the 23rd minute when the Argentine defence gave him too much time from a penalty corner and he picked his spot expertly for a 1-0 lead.
However Argentina persisted in the second half and gained the advantage before finally breaking down the Spanish defence with a series of one-touch passes to level the match with Lucas Rossi scoring a captain’s goal of his own in the 54th minute.
After neither team could break the deadlock by the end of regulation time, Argentina struck in extra time as the ball found Ibarra on the right edge of the circle. He steadied, took the ball towards the back line and threaded his shot through the advancing Spanish goalkeeper.
Australia’s half time position was more perilous than that of Argentina after they went to the break trailing 2-0 and struggling against the waves of Indian counter attacks.
India’s opening goal in the 19th minute was complemented by a second just before half time as the reigning Junior World Cup champions looked likely to earn a chance to defending their title.
However the tide began to turn in the second half and when Des Abbott smashed a penalty corner variation into the backboard in the 42nd minute, the resurgent Australians scored twice more in the next 12 minutes to grab the lead and hold on fiercely to their hard-won advantage.
Colin Hennessy was again the talisman for Australia with his brace of goals from a penalty stroke and penalty corner edging his team in front and headed to the final.
Hennessy’s stroke was calmly slotted into the left corner after wrong footing Indian goalkeeper Adrian D’Souza, while his drag flick from the penalty corner was also kept low, avoiding the oncoming rush of defenders to rattle the backboard.
India was unable to deal with Australia’s newly discovered composure in the second half and, where they had made inroads in the first half, their opponents cut off supply and looked the stronger team as the matched reached full time.
The finalists have already met in the tournament, with Argentina winning a Pool F round match 3-1 on the final day of the preliminary matches on Wednesday. That result will be irrelevant on Sunday with Australia clearly below their best in that match and cruising after they had already qualified for the semi finals the day before.
In the first classification match for places 5-8, Germany scored with less than 30 seconds remaining and then again midway through the first period of extra time to edge Korea 5-4 and advance to the playoff for fifth position on Sunday.
Germany were never in front until captain Sebastian Draguhn scored from mid-circle three minutes into extra time to give his team victory.
Korea looked headed for victory when they led 4-2 with 17 minutes remaining, but Germany continued to attack and were rewarded with Oliver Korn’s goal 24 seconds before the full time siren to force extra time.
Korea were guilty of losing focus in the second half for the second consecutive match and their lack of concentration allowed Germany back into the match and steal the equaliser.
Netherlands again scored four unanswered second half goals as Pakistan capitulated to lose 4-1 in the other match to decide the 5-8 classifications.
As they did in the match against Korea in the final match of the preliminary rounds, Netherlands outran and outsmarted their opponents in a match that became increasingly undisciplined in the second half, especially from Pakistan.
Netherlands captain Robert van der Horst found the scoresheet three times in just 14 minutes, with two goals scored in identical fashion on the left post from penalty corner variations.
On Sunday, Germany and Netherlands will meet in the 5th place playoff while Korea, who were so close to semi final action, will play Pakistan after a disappointing pair of second half efforts in their last two matches.
Malaysia narrowly squeaked through to earn a place in the playoff for 9th position with a 2-1 win over Egypt. After struggling to break down the enthusiastic Egypt defence in the first 35 minutes, Malaysia scored two quick goals early in the second half to open a comfortable buffer. Egypt reduced the deficit in the second last minute of the match, but by that stage Malaysia had done enough to win.
In the other classification match in this bracket, England score twice in the final three minutes to prevail over Belgium 3-1.
England took the lead in the first half and as the match entered the final 10 minutes without further addition to the score, looked headed for victory. However Belgium ensured a frantic final period with Jeremy Schuerman’s goal in the 65th minute.
England responded beautifully with Adam Dixon scoring from a penalty corner two minutes later and then Andrew Watts added another on the stroke of full time.
Argentina 2 defeated Spain 1 (extra time)
Goals: ARG – Lucas Rossi FG 54m, Pedro Ibarra FG 76m; ESP – David Alegre PC 23m
Australia 3 defeated India 2
Goals: AUS – Des Abbott, Colin Hennessy; IND – Tushar Khandekar FG 19m, Sandeep Singh PC 31m
Germany 5 defeated Korea 4 (extra time)
Goals: GER – Oliver Korn FG 8m FG 70m, Benjamin Wess PC 42m, Tim Witthaus FG 55m, Sebastian Draguhn FG 74m; KOR – Jong Hyun Jang FG 8m FG 53m, Jong Soo Lee FG 17m, Sung Kweon Hong PS 37m
Netherlands 4 defeated Pakistan 1
Goals: NED – Robert van der Horst PC 42m PC 53m PS 56m, Wouter van Straten FG 51m; PAK – Muhammad Imran PC 24m
Malaysia 2 defeated Egypt 1
Goals: MAS – Kevinder Singh FG 36m, Ismail Abu FG 46m; EGY – Mahmoud Hanafy FG 69m
England 2 defeated Belgium 1
Goals: ENG – Simon Mantell FG 24m, Adam Dixon PC 67m, Andrew Watts FG 70m; BEL - Jeremy Schuerman PC 65m
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