Date: December 5, 2021
Time: 4:30 PM (IST)
Venue: Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar
Preview: After getting out of the title race, Vivek Sagar Prasad-led Team India will face France for the third position at the Junior Men’s Hockey World Cup 2021 on Sunday. The match will kick off at 4:30 PM IST. While the defending champions lost to Germany 2-4 in a one-sided game on Friday’s second semi-final, France were inched by Argentina in the penalty shootout in the first semi-final of the ongoing event.
Notably, France and India had played their campaign opener against each other and the visitors had won the contest 5-4. The game on Sunday will give India a chance to avenge the defeat and cap off their journey at the event on a happy note. Meanwhile, France would be looking to repeat the feat and bag another crucial game against India.
India: The defending champions have ebbed and flowed throughout the tournament. They started with a 4-5 loss to France before bagging easy wins against Canada (13-1) and Poland (8-2). The side then defeated Belgium 1-0 in the quarterfinal before losing 2-4 against Germany in the semi-final of the competition. The area that hurt them the most throughout the tournament is their weak attack against quality teams; the lack of converting the cross inside the playing area has been one of the prime concerns. Their defending improved after the loss in the campaign opener, but the recent game against Germany raised a lot many eyebrows.
France: Self-belief has played a crucial role for France in the tournament. They started with a terrific attacking game against India and kept playing in the same manner till the quarter-final. France defeated the likes of Poland (7-1) and Canada (11-1) quite easily before demeaning Malaysia with a 4-0 scoreline in the quarter-final game. However, their lack of quality in their attack in the semi-final saw them end in a goalless draw against Argentina and lose the game eventually 1-3 in a penalty shootout.
India: Drag flick specialist Sanjay was on top of his game in the pool games. However, the knockout phase saw a mediocre performance from him, but he is expected to perform in the match against France as in the last game against the side, he had scored a hat-trick. Araijeet Singh Hundal (5 goals), Shardanand Tiwari (4 goals) and Uttam Singh (4 goals).
France: The side’s skipper Timothee Clement has had an exceptional tournament so far in terms of his individual game. With 11 goals to his credit from 5 games, Clement is the second-highest goal-scorer at the ongoing event. Corentin Sellier with 5 goals is the second-most goal-scorer for the side.
Conclusion: India are the favourites to win this game. They have more experienced players in comparison to France. Meanwhile, the hosts have already worked well on their defence since their loss to France in the campaign opener of the ongoing tournament.