(Photo: Stanislas Brochier)

(5th-6th) - Belgium vs. Australia: 2-2 (shoot-out: 2-3 - half-time: 1-0)

European Champions Belgium arrived in Delhi with the legitimate ambition of going all the way in this Junior World Cup. They were impressive in pool play but were surprised by France in the final minutes of their quarter-final. Australia, bronze medalist in the previous Junior World Cup, went through pool play unbeaten but fell to a dominant German team in quarter-final.

Match started on a high tempo and Belgium earned a first penalty-corner within three minutes of play but the Australian defense was vigilant and cleared the danger. Alexander Hendrickx was again denied on his second and third attempts. Belgium were finally rewarded in the 25th minute when Maxime Plennevaux slotted the ball in goal after Andrew Butturini in the Kookaburras’ goal pushed it back three times in a mad goalmouth scramble.

Belgium has a slight edge on the proceedings in the fairly balanced period and walked into the break with a slim but deserved one-goal lead.

Australia came back strong in second period, immediately pushing the Belgians on the back foot and levelling the score by William Gilmour in the 39th minute. The European Champions were unphased and regained their lead in the next minute with a superb backhand from Alexandre Vanlinthoudt that surprised Edward Chittleborough, in goal for the Kookaburras for this second period.

Australia intensified their pressure and forced a penalty-corner after overwhelming the Belgian defense. The initial shot was saved but Jeremy Hayward collected the rebound and slammed it in goal. The Kookaburras thought that they had scored another one just after by Frank Main, but the goal was denied after a video-referral for an innocuous high stick before entering the circle.

Play became an intense tactical battle in midfield, with some heated exchanges between players when Australia were awarded another penalty-corner in the 61st minute. It was unsuccessfully replayed three times and Australia received a yellow card to compound their misery. Teams threw caution to the wind in the final minutes of play. Belgium had the upper hand for a while but a last Australian rush earned them another penalty-corner. Arnaud Flamand was up to the task and teams moved on to a shoot-out competition.

Both keepers thwarted a couple of attempts, then Dimitri Cuvelier, last shooter for Belgium, took more than his eight seconds to score. In the end, Australia grabbed 5th place, leaving Belgium dejected in 6th position. 

For more information and pictures of BEL vs. AUS, click here.

(7th-8th) - Korea vs. New Zealand: 2-4 (half-time: 2-3)

Korea started well the competition, with a close result against the Netherlands before elbowing home team India out of contention win an epic come-back. They then lost to Asian Champions Malaysia in quarter-finals and imploded against Belgium. New Zealand did not do as well this year as in the previous Junior World Cup when they reached the semi-finals, although all their loses here in Delhi were by narrow one-goal margins.  

Both teams showed from the start that they were in attacking mood. Seo Inwoo had an early chance for Korea with an open net but he could not control the bouncing ball. New Zealand were threatening on the next action, forcing Korean goal-keeper Yoo Jaeho to come out of nowhere to deny Kane Russell from close range before the same Russell blasted the rebound high in the stands.  

Jeremy Morris gave the advantage to the Black Sticks in the 11th minute with a powerful back hand that went through the keeper. Korea came back on par immediately by You Minyoung pouncing on a cross mishandled by the New Zealand defense. Kane Russell continued the scoring spree with a penalty-corner flick that was nearly stopped by the keeper’s stick but still trickled over the line.

Korea were credited with a goal when the ball slightly brushed off the pads of Richard Joyce in the Black Sticks goal and the video-umpire decided on an own goal. The see-saw continued and New Zealand regained the lead just before half-time with another penalty-corner by Kane Russell.

Korea had their first penalty-corner in the 40th minute but ace-striker You Seungju attempted a fancy option that fizzled out. He was equally unsuccessful on their next penalty-corner even after reverting to his trademark direct high flick. Things were not going Korean’s way and they missed in quick succession an open net and two other penalty-corners, not to mention a number of passes and traps that they usually perform flawlessly in their sleep.

New Zealand also missed their good share of chances, starting with a monumental opportunity when Jeremy Morris missed a perfect pass alone on the far post after Kane Russell wiggled his way through the whole Korean defense. There was intense activity back and forth in the final ten minutes of the match, with another missed penalty-corner by Korea. New Zealand earned a penalty-corner literally in the last second of play, allowing Kane Russell to complete a hat-trick.

New Zealand finished in 7th place of the 2013 Hero Hockey Junior World Cup, pushing Korea down to 8th.

For more information and pictures of KOR vs. NZL, click here.