GERMANY trounced defending champions India 6-3 in the semifinals of the 11th Sultan of Johor Cup at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium on Friday night.
The Germans will now go into a showdown with Australia in the final on Saturday. The Burras edged Pakistan 2-1 in the second semifinals match. The Pakistanis and Indians will play in the third-fourth playoff match.
The mesmerizing big-margin defeat by the Indians, who clinched the SOJC title three-times, is akin to a lightning bolt that struck the center of their hearts. It was a painful result for coach C.R Kumar’s boys who were riding high in the group stage matches.
“We are very happy with the win, especially with the progress we have shown particularly in this game. Our main focus today is to have a grip on the game and we did that very well by scoring goals in the second and third quarters. We played a lot better today than the last couple of games,” said Germany’s head coach Rein van Eijk.
“I think we are also slowly getting ready to the level we are able to play in the upcoming World Cup. The experience here was fantastic. It is a very good and high-level international tournament,” he added.
The Germans, ranked World No 2, displayed awesome firepower to dismantle the World No 3 ranked India’s marauding attacking machinery and, in the process, punctuated the Indians defensive structure to take a 2-0 lead as the match rolled into the end of the first half.
Germany, who had outclassed the Indians 6-1 in the final of the Four Nations Junior Men’s Hockey tournament in Dusseldorf in August, went ahead 1-0 in the 16th minute thanks to a powerful strike from Christian Franz and Nikas Berendts extended the lead one minute later from a penalty corner.
The tournaments in Dusseldorf and Johor Bahru are being played as part of the preparations for the upcoming FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup 2023 which will be played in Kuala Lumpur from 5-16 December this year.
But India did not fall back into defense after this. The three-time champions got back on their feet as quickly as they fell back. Their prolific goal-scorer Lakra Amandeep once again came to the rescue by converting a penalty corner in the 35th minute to close the deficit 2-1.
The Germans, however, continued their crusade by scoring four more goals in the third and fourth quarters. Pier Hinrichs scored a brace (43rd and 48th) while Nikas Berendts (45th) and Florian Spering scored a piece to take 6-1 lead.
India replied with two more goals through team captain Uttam Singh (58th) and Rohit after the Germans had replaced their first-choice goalkeeper Joshua Onyekwue Nnaji with Simon Florian.