Junior Hockey World Cup 2021: India lose 3-1 to France in the bronze-medal match

France skipper Timothee Clement scored a hat-trick while Sudeep Chirmako netted India's lone goal of the match at the Kalinga stadium in Bhubaneshwar.

India lose 3-1 to France to finish fourth in the Junior Hockey World Cup; Credit: Twitter/@TheHockeyIndia
By Sreejith C R | Dec 6, 2021 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Defending champions India finished fourth in the FIH Junior Hockey World Cup after losing 3-1 to France in the bronze medal play-off match here on Sunday. France captain Timothee Clement scored a hat-trick to stun the hosts once again and secure the bronze medal. The 21-year-old scored all his goals from penalty corners in the 26th, 34th and 47th minutes while the hosts scored their only goal through Sudeep Chirmako in the 42nd minute. It was a disappointing show from India after beating the mighty Belgium in the quarterfinals.

India and France had met earlier in the tournament opener and the latter had got the better of the hosts (4-5). Therefore it was a chance for India to avenge the defeat but the European side dominated the hosts to come out on top with a superb performance. France played the better hockey throughout the match, earning as many as 14 penalty corner’s compared to India’s three. 

India started the match positively and the France keeper was called into action inside the first minute. In the 12th minute, India came ever so close to taking the lead as Araijeet Singh Hundal’s shot from top of the circle hit the post. After the initial onslaught from the hosts, France started to get into the game and earned three back-to-back penalties at the end of first quarter, but failed to convert any one of them.

France dominated the second quarter as India was pushed to the back foot. Meanwhile against the run of play, in the 24th minute, India made a good counter attacking move but failed to make a final shot on goal. Two minutes later, Sharda earned a green card, India were reduced to 10-men and France won PC. Clement stepped up and converted the PC to give the lead to France.

Clement’s hat-trick and Sudeep’s consolation goal

After the change of ends, France continued from where it had left as they won their sixth PC of the match in the 34th minute. India goalkeeper made a good save to deny the French from doubling the lead but conceded yet another PC. Pawan made yet another brilliant save but France continued to win PC’s and finally broke the Indian resistance with their 10th PC of the match.

Clement scored his second goal of the match to double the lead. In response India won a PC but failed to convert before Sudeep tested the French keeper from close range. India pressed hard for a goal and got it in the 42nd minute. Sudeep displayed brilliant stick work before reverse flicking the ball into the French goal.

Two minutes into the fourth quarter, Clement completed his hat-trick from yet another PC to give a 3-1 lead to France in the Kalinga stadium. France continued to win penalties and Pawan made yet another save to deny Clement his fourth of the night. Meanwhile at the other end, India tried hard for a goal and Sudeep came closest to scoring as he failed to tap the ball in from close range. French defence held firm to hold on to the two goal lead and reach the podium.