The Netherlands defeated Argentina in the ERGO Hockey Junior World Cup final.
The Netherlands defeated Argentina in the ERGO Hockey Junior World Cup final.
(Photo: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek)

The reigning champions from the Netherlands defended their title at the ERGO Hockey Junior World Cup. The Dutch girls won the final against Argentina 4-2 in the shoot-out clinching the trophy for a record third time in women’s Junior World Cup history. The breathtaking final was tied 1-1 after regulation time and went into shoot-outs to decide the winner. India claimed their first-ever medal when winning the Bronze medal match against England. The Indian girls take home the Bronze medal with a 3-2 shoot-out victory. The winning goal was scored by 17-year-old Navneet Kaur.

The final ranking sees all five continents being represented in the Top 8 which underlines the inclusivity and global popularity of hockey. Spain walked away with a narrow 1-0 win against Australia in the 5th place play-off match. Spain have thus reached the top five for the first time in Junior World Cup history. Team USA celebrated a deserved 4-2 victory over South Africa to reach the seventh place at the ERGO Hockey Junior World Cup.

New Zealand fought past Germany in the last match on Pitch 2, winning by the narrowest of margins to take 9th place. Korea was the stronger team in the match for 11th place against China and took an easy 4-0 win. In the match for 13th place, Belgium got the better of Canada in one of four shoot-outs today. In the match for 15th place, Russia claimed victory after taking Ghana into their second shoot-out in as many days.

Final: Netherlands v Argentina 1-1 (1-0), 4-2 PSO

The final got underway in front of a packed crowd in Mönchengladbach’s Hockeypark. The match started slow but quickly escalated into a fast-pace game with chances either side. Argentina forced the first penalty corner midway through the first half but Julia Gomes Fantasia’s flick went wide of goal. The Leoncitas had slightly more ball possession, but failed to convert this advantage to goals.

The Netherlands forced their first penalty corner of the game in the 28th minute. However, the Argentine goalkeeper Sofia Montserrat made a tremendous save against tournament top scorer Lieke van Wijk. Before, Montserrat had parried well against Samantha Saxton firing from close range. With three minutes remaining in the first half, the Dutch girls forced their second penalty corner which was brilliantly converted by drag flicking specialist van Wijk. Montserrat had no chance as the ball hit the top corner of the net. The reigning champions held a narrow 1-0 lead at halftime.

After the break, the Dutch goalkeeper Anne Veenendaal was called into action several times as Argentina looked to draw. The Leoncitas pushed hard to force the equaliser but Veenendaal made sure that nothing gets passed her. On the other side, Montserrat parried another penalty corner flick from van Wijk. The Leoncitas eventually levelled the score to 1-1 with a great goal in the dying minutes of the game. With four minutes remaining on the clock, Jimena Cedres deflected a penalty corner shot from Gomes Fantasia into the net.

As the score remained tied at 1-1, a penalty shoot-out was necessary to decide the winner. Six of eight shots went in. Marloes Keetels, Sarah Jaspers, Maria Verschoor and Laurien Leurink scored for the Dutch side, while the Leoncitas Maria Granatto and Jimena Cedres failed to convert. Florencia Habif and Julia Gomes Fantasia were the only ones scoring goals for Argentina. 

Bronze medal match: India v England 1-1 (1-0), 3-2 PSO

The Bronze medal match started off with an early penalty corner to England but Grace Balsdon’s shot was deflected before reaching India’s goalkeeper Chanu Sanarik Ningombam. The English girls kept pushing for the opening goal but it were India who would get on the scoreboard first. A counter-attack saw Rani powerfully strike home after 13 minutes of play. A few minutes later, India failed to double their lead from a penalty corner variation. The Indian girls slowly took control of the match, but were unable to break the English defence. The halftime score stood at 1-0.

England entered the second half with a different attitude. They stepped up the pace and pressed for the equaliser and eventually got it through Anna Toman by shooting on target in a crowded circle. Both teams kept going and went for the winning goal but ran out of time. As the result remained tied 1-1 after 70 minutes of play, the Bronze medal match was decided in a penalty shoot-out competition.

India substituted their goalkeepers replacing Ningombam by Bigan Soy who has not played a single minute in this tournament so far. Only 5 of 14 attempts were successful in the shoot-out competition with Rani scoring twice and Navneet Kaur scoring for India and Emily Defroand converting twice for England. 

Voices after the match:

Neil Hawgood, coach India: “It means a lot to our kids’ psychology that they can actually win a medal. They have never been in those games before. We practiced shoot-outs, so I thought we would score more than three out of seven. Our goalkeeper Bigan Soy, who never played a minute the whole tournament, did a great job. It was clear, when it comes down to shoot-outs, she will be in the goal.” 

Rani, Indian player: “We are so happy and we have to thank our goalkeeper Bigan Soy who did very well in the shoot-outs. We were mentally prepared for shoot-outs which was good. This is our first-ever medal in a Junior World Cup, now we will celebrate!”

Bigan Soy, Indian goalkeeper during shoot-outs: “I did my very best and it’s a good feeling to know that I saved my team. I’m very happy. It now feels as I would have played the whole tournament.”

Navneet Kaur, scorer of the winning goal: “This is my first Junior World Cup and my first medal, I’m so happy. It was tough to take a second penalty after I didn’t score from the first. I knew that I need to get the goalkeeper to dive and then I can score. This is what I did.” 

Individual awards

Player of the tournament: Rani (India)

Goalkeeper of the tournament: Sofia Montserrat (Argentina)

Top scorer: Lieke van Wijk (The Netherlands)

For more information about Women’s ERGO Hockey Junior World Cup in Mönchengladbach, please visit our official tournament microsite by clicking here. The microsite will bring you all of the news coming from the event, including written match reports, action photos, official match documents, goal scoring statistics, as well as live streaming from all matches in the main stadium.