The Netherlands were crowned FIH Junior Women’s Hockey World Cup champions after a final against Germany that absolutely oozed class. The question had been whether anyone could breach the Dutch defense and, if that happened, how would the team respond.
Both questions were answered as Germany threw everything at the Netherlands and was rewarded by being the only team to score against the team in orange. However, this will always be remembered as the event where the Netherlands were the dominant force from start to finish and, even when under huge pressure from their European rivals, there was no way the excellent Rosa Fernig and her team were going to let any other team steal their thunder.
Where Germany probed, the Netherlands stood strong and, when the opportunity to score presented itself, they did so. The game management in the final minutes was as outstanding as every other aspect of their play.
England and India provided a dramatic spectacle as they battled for the bronze medal. India looked to be heading for third place as they took a 2-1 lead in the final quarter but England removed their goalkeeper and scored a last-minute goal to send the game to a shoot-out. The England team then put in a faultless performance in the pressure pot of a shoot-out and won their first medal at a Women’s Junior World Cup.
Earlier in the day, host nation South Africa and the USA played out an exciting and momentum-switching match that saw the host nation take a 3-0 lead only to see the perseverance of the USA bring the scores back to 3-2 leading to a very nervous final five minutes. Much to the delight of the home fans, South Africa clung to the lead to finish in seventh place.
Argentina finished their campaign in the fifth position and their victory over Korea was an exhibition of compelling, ruthless attacking hockey that left their opponents shellshocked in the face of a goalscoring onslaught.
With 202 goals, some amazing performances, quite brilliant umpiring, a fantastic venue, and a very worthy champion there is little doubt that the ninth edition of the FIH Women’s Junior World Cup was a roaring success and the performances by these young players promise that international hockey a very bright future.
- South Africa
Source: FIH Website