🏆 JWC 2021 : The Netherlands crowned FIH Junior Women’s Hockey World Cup champions
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Dragflick Newsdesk : 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 defence and, if that happened, how would the team respond.

Both questions were answered as Germany threw everything at the Netherlands and were 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, 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.

Coming into this game, Netherlands had scored 46 goals and conceded none. Germany, by contrast, had lost a pool match but had used that as a springboard to get better with every game. The question was whether the German side had what it takes to breach the Dutch defence.

The need to find a way to score against Netherlands increased when Danique van der Veerdonk sent a magnificent drag flick penalty corner past Mali Wichmann in the German goal. The goal came after a sustained period of pressure by the team in orange on the German defence.

As the half progressed, Germany withstood a period of play where the Netherlands just didn’t let up possession. The team in white looked to be run ragged as they chased the ball around the pitch.

However, as the half counted down, the German resistance paid off and they started to make in-roads of their own. The final action of the half saw the Netherlands defence being asked questions for perhaps the first time this tournament.

And finally it happened! The 200th goal of this tournament and the first against the Netherlands was scored by Germany’s Sophia Schwabe. This followed a period of confident and aggressive hockey from the German players.

The scores remained even for two minutes before Tessa Beetsma was able to restore her team’s lead. Maria Steensma worked the ball down the baseline and slipped it goalwards. Beetsma needed no second invite to flick it home.

It was Beetsma again just 10 minutes later. The ever excellent Noor Omrani ran down the baseline and her cross found Beetsma waiting in the circle. Not even Wichmann could stop the sharp shooter from scoring her second and Netherlands’ third.

In the final quarter, Germany threw absolutely everything at the Netherlands but the entire team in orange dug deep and defended as well as they attacked. This was a final with class written all over it, but in the end, there was only really one winner.

Tessa Beetsma:

‘It was an incredible game and we had to fight against Germany. The defence were great today. My teammates make the goals. I am looking for the goal chance in the six metre area in front of goal.

Netherlands Head Coach Dave Smolenaars said:

“The girls worked so hard against very good opponents. I couldn’t be more happy for the progress and the development. We conceded one goal, but we wold have liked to have kept it to zero.”

His counterpart, the German Head Coach Akim Bouchouchi said:

’We are proud of the medal but we wanted to win this match. We were too nervous in the first half. Congratulations to Netherlands, they really worked hard for it. We had some chances but we didn’t have the final knockout blow to get the goals we needed. We needed momentum and we didn’t get it.’

The result means that the Netherlands have now been crowned Junior World Cup champions for the fourth time, and Germany have a second silver to their name.

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