🏆 JWC 2021 : The Argentine Junior Men's Hockey team edge out France in a shootout to reach the Junior Men’s Hockey World Cup finals
Photo Credit : Thedragflick

Heroics by Nehuen Hernando in the Argentina goal was the difference separating the two combatants in the first semi-final. In a tournament that had yielded so many goals, the 0-0 scoreline at full-time was an indicator of the tense and tight nature of this game.

During the match, France and Argentina played a canny game with neither side willing to take risks and push for a win. In previous matches both teams had played with an all-out attacking mindset; this was far from the case as the two teams probed and tested each other.

For both teams, this was a totally different style of play with Argentina adapting to it quickest and looking the more dangerous in the early stages.

During the first half, Argentina won three penalty corners to one French penalty corner, but neither side was able to capitalise.

Both teams have great game managers in the shape of their captains Timothee Clement of France and Facundo Zarate of Argentina. What we saw during this match was these two players controlling their defences but further up the field a fear of mistakes inhibited the movement and decision-making of the midfield and forward players of both teams.

A yellow card for Antonin Igau gave Argentina the advantage for the final three minutes of the game but the South American side was unable to make the most of the player advantage.

During the shoot out, Argentina got off to a great start, thanks to the calmness exhibited by Lucio Mendez to give his side the lead with a successful opening attempt.

Argentina goalkeeper Nehuen Hernando saved the first French attempt by Antonin Igua but Argentina’s advantage was lost when Zarate saw his attempt fly wide.

Corentin Sellier then stepped up for France but Hernando again held his nerve to keep the striker out and it was Bautista Capurro who coolly scored his attempt and sent his side through to the final on Sunday, where they will meet Germany.

Argentina’s captain Facundo Zarate said:

“We are very happy and very proud. We trained very hard to get here and we have done well. Now we have to play another 60 minutes.

“We are going to prepare like we have for the other matches. We are going to prepare equally well and play equally well.”

A hugely disappointed Timothee Clement said: “It was a good game for the two teams. It is hard to lose in the semi-final. Now we focus on getting third place.”

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