Australia defeats Pakistan 7–5 in the play-off final on Saturday.

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JUNIORS HOCKEY WORLD CUP: FRANCE TO MEET GERMANY IN FINAL

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: France and Germany will face off in the Men’s Junior Hockey World Cup 2023 championship game after eliminating their opponents in the semifinals, 3-1 in the case of Spain and 4-1 in the case of India, on Thursday at National Hockey Stadium, Bukit Jalil.

Netherlands beat Argentina (1-0):

To defeat Argentina 1-0, the Dutch players took full advantage of their opportunities and played strong defence.In the first half hour, the 2021 champions had several half-chances, but Dutch keeper Daan Taphoorn read his lines perfectly and was not put to the test. Argentina had the best chance of the half with a penalty corner against four defenders (due to a green card), but Taphoorn saved the shot over the crossbar, meaning there was no goal at the half.

The Dutch dominated the third quarter and were rewarded with a sharp field goal, Jan van ’t Land receiving a long pass deep in the circle and slipping it across goal where Dylan Lucieer’s quick hands beat the scrambling Joaquin Ruiz. The Spanish keeper denied the Dutch a second with a good save to keep Argentina in the hunt but, despite applying great pressure in the final quarter, they couldn’t find an equaliser.

Australia beat Pakistan (7-5):

Australia defeated Pakistan 7–5, dominating a hectic third quarter. The Australians got off to a strong start when Nathan Czinner scored a well-executed field goal in the third minute. Australia led 2-1 at the half after Cameron Geddes’ drag flick, but Abdul Qayyum pulled Pakistan to even.

After field goals from Brodee Foster and Umar Mustafa to Geddes’ hat-trick of two penalty corners and a field goal from Czinner, Australia took the lead with three goals in four minutes to close out the quarter. Early in the fourth quarter, Foster scored a penalty shot to give his team an unbeatable 7-2 lead. Sufyan Khan’s penalty corner and field goals from Ahtisham Aslam and Qayyum were among Pakistan’s valiant efforts, but it was all too little, too late.

Germany beat India (4-1):

Germany advanced to the final after a thrilling 4-1 victory in which they defended all 12 of India’s penalty corners and scored both of their own. It was a tale of penalty corners. India controlled the first half, but Germany took the lead thanks to a goal from Ben Hasbach, who took advantage of a loose ball after the Indian defence made two saves. India’s Sudeep Chirmako responded with a brilliant reverse stick shot after tying the score and clearing the loose ball. After that, the Germans came under intense pressure, defending ten penalty corners in the first half before scoring their first goal just before the half ended, with Hasbach scoring with an unlikely 2-1 lead after a tiny overhead deflection.

The third quarter was much tighter. India failed off their 11th penalty corner while Germany’s Paul Glander made no mistake with their second. The Germans sealed the game in the final quarter, captain Matteo Poljaric working the baseline skillfully before setting up Florian Sperling who needed two attempts to beat goalkeeper Shashikumar Mohith Honnenahalli.

France beat Spain (3-1):

France’s well-earned 3-1 victory over Spain guaranteed them a spot in the championship game. Brieuc Delemazure’s drag flick past goalkeeper Jan Capellades gave the French the lead in the second minute. Then, a sliding Jules Verrier came dangerously close to making it two, but the ball hit his body on the goal line. Oriol Bozal of Spain was given a 10-minute suspension for an incident that occurred off the ball, and Marius Clement and Capellades made excellent saves on penalty corners at opposite ends of the field. On the first quarter hooter, Aleix Bozal fired a low drag flick to bring the Spanish level. The teams went into the half with the score tied at one point each after a close second quarter.

Early in the third quarter, France took the lead once more thanks to a good play by the umpire, who gave Stanislas Branicki a clear opportunity to slap the ball into an open nett. Goalie Capellades had been pulled off his line to stop the attack. Subsequently, Louis Haertelmeyer increased the lead by deftly avoiding the final defender and powering the ball home. Despite having multiple chances in the last period, Spain was unable to take advantage of them, and the seventh-placed French celebrated their qualification for the Saturday final.

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