The Indian junior team was expected to win the game considering their experience but France had other ideas as they gave the Indian team a rude wake up call in their Group B encounter.
Timothee, the oldest player in the tournament, not only scored three goals, two of which came from the penalty corners, the French captain also made a brilliant goal-line save to deny Araijeet Singh Hundal from converting a PC in the third quarter. The remaining two goals were scored by Corentin Sellier and Benjamin Marqué.
France Captain Timothee Clement was in his element as he guided his team to victory with a well-carved hat-trick.… https://t.co/AHfZq1AHcb
— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) 1637772925000
For India, Sanjay also scored a hat-trick with all his goals coming from penalty corners. Of the three goals, two came very late in the game and even raised the hope of an Indian turnaround but it wasn’t to be as France held on to a memorable win in the end. For the hosts, the other goal was scored by Uttam Singh.
India will now have to regroup fast as they take on Canada in their second group game on Thursday. Like captain Vivek Sagar Prasad said after the match, they will have to play with much more energy from the very beginning.
While they did win eight penalty corners against France and looked like they would score every one of them, India were lacklustre otherwise. Maninder Singh, however, was quite impressive for the hosts and even came close to scoring.
An end-to-end encounter at Bhubaneswar ended in France’s favour, but not before India showed great fighting spirit.… https://t.co/in9E62zXlf
— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) 1637773673000
As for France, they played just like India chief coach Graham Reid had anticipated and India had no answer to it. They moved the ball fast and attacked brilliantly down the right flank. They will now hope to continue their good show against Poland on Thursday.
Earlier, it couldn’t have begun poorly for the hosts as France took the lead in the 48th second. Sellier received the ball near the goal and took the shot from the right. His shot was well saved by India goalkeeper Prashant Chauhan but Timothee scored off the rebound.
To the shock of the India players and support staff, France doubled their lead in the seventh minute. This time Mathis Clément ran down the right flank though the Indian defence and played the ball to Jules Verrier standing near the goal line. He quickly played it to Benjamin, who put the ball into the top of the net.
The #JWC2021 kicked off to a brilliant start with goals aplenty and some great hockey skills on display. Here’s a… https://t.co/Gl0HfdmbNK
— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) 1637773868000
However, India, weren’t in any mood to sit back and they clawed back into the match converting two penalty corners in quick time. Uttam scored the first one following a rebound while Sanjay converted the second one as he hit the ball through the legs of France goalkeeper Guillaume de Vaucelles.
With momentum on their side, India began the second quarter well and earned their third PC of the match four minutes after the restart. But this time they failed to convert it. France, on the other hand, won their first PC three minutes later and Timothee, who got a green card earlier following an ugly tackle, converted it to put France ahead once again.
France won three PCs in the third quarter and finally Timothee converted the last one to make it 4-2 for France and with that he also completed his hat-trick. Towards the end France did take the foot off the pedal and India almost made a comeback.