Junior Hockey World Cup: Germany beat France 5-2, register record sixth world title
New Delhi: Niklas Wellen slammed a brilliant hat-trick to guide defending champions Germany to their record sixth world title, beating unheralded France 5-2 in the summit clash of the Hero Junior Men`s Hockey World Cup at the floodlit Major Dhyan Chand, here on sunday.
It was a befitting end to the tournament as both Germany and France dished out splendid hockey much to the delight of the sparse crowd present on a chilly night.
Germany rode on five goals which came from the sticks of Wellen (2nd, 44th, 46th minutes), Jonas Gomoll (60th) and Christopher Ruhr (68th) to pocket their sixth world title, two in a row.
For France, Gaspard Baumgarten (16th, 40th) scored both the goals.
The summit clash between underdogs France and five-time champions was touted as a contest between David versus Goliath but it was not one as the French gave the Germans a run for their money, at least in the opening 35 minutes.
Cheered by their ambassador Michael Steiner, the Germans got off to an early lead when Wellen capitalized on a defensive lapse to score a field goal in the second minute.
But the Frenchmen were no mood to go down without a fight and proved the fancied Germans that they were no pushovers.
It was a neck and neck battle in the opening period as both the teams enjoyed nearly similar percentage of ball possession but France`s attacks looked more threatening.
France drew parity in the 16th minute, riding on a fine field goal from Baumgarten, who beat Victor Aly in the German goal with a fierce shot from top of the circle.
Therafter, Germany earned two penalty corners but France defence stood tall like a rock to go into the breather locked at 1-1.
The match livened up after the change of ends as France surged ahead against the run of play when Baumgarten converted his side`s first penalty corner to stun the Germans.
Germany soon earned a penalty corner but wasted the opportunity.
The Germans, however, drew level four minutes later when an opportunist Wellen scored from a goal-mouth melee.
France pressed hard and secured another penalty corner in the 45th minute but this time Hogo Genestet flicked wide off the target.
The Germans showed their ruthless character after the change of ends and dominated the lion`s share of possession.
Germany took the lead two minutes later when an unmarked Wellen took full advantage of another defensive error to slot home the ball and score his third goal of the day.
Shocked by France`s game in the opening period, Germany came out as a more determined outfit in the second half with menacing forays into the rival citadel.
The Germans took the game away from France in 60th minute when Jonas Gomoll scored a field goal from close range to increase their lead to 4-2.
France, however, did not give up and earned their third penalty corner just eight minutes from the hooter but failed to execute the chance.
Germany extended their lead in just two minutes from the hooter through a field effort from Ruhr, who emerged as the top-scorer in the tournament with nine goals.
Meanwhile, last edition`s silver medalist Netherlands spanked Malaysia 7-2 to bag the bronze medal.
Australia secured the fifth position by beating Belgium 3-2 in the penalty shoot-out after both the teams were locked at 2-2 at the end of regulation time.
While Belgium took the sixth spot, New Zealand finished seventh following its 4-2 win over Korea in the seventh-eighth play-off match.
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