India beat Belgium 2-1 to win second Hockey Junior World Cup

Hockey India

India won the Hockey Junior World Cup on Sunday, defeating Belgium 2-1 at Lucknow's Major Dhyan Chand Stadium thanks to goals from Gurjant Singh (eighth minute) and Simranjeet Singh (22nd minute).

India, playing their third junior World Cup final, thus became only the second team after Germany to win the junior title on more than one occasion, having defeated Argentina to win the tournament for the first time in 2001.

The hosts dominated Belgium, playing their maiden final, in the first half, entering the opposition circle twice in the initial three minutes before they won a penalty corner with their next attack a minute later.

Harmanpreet Singh fumbled on receiving the ball, however, perhaps showing a touch of early nerves.

India won another penalty corner in the fifth minute with a quick counterattack but once again the chance was wasted. The hosts had struggled to convert penalty corners in the group stages and that trend appeared to be continuing.

In the eighth minute, a long aerial ball forced Belgium goalkeeper Loic van Doren to come forward and save, but Gurjant Singh capitalised on the rebound, running wide and firing a ripper of a reverse-stick shot that easily beat a retreating van Doren to give India the lead.

Soon after, Parvinder Singh did well to find Nilakanta Sharma, who had had an easy chance to double the lead with time and space at his disposal, but he shot wide. India had two shots and seven circle penetrations in the first 10 minutes alone.

The hosts had another chance to score in the 16th minute when Harmanpreet fired a long slap towards goal but Parvinder lunged for it a fraction late and the ball rolled just wide of goal.

In the 22nd minute, India exchanged a series of passes to make their way to the Belgium circle before Nilakanta wrong-footed the Belgian defence and Simranjeet Singh exploited the resultant gap, firing another reverse-stick shot from the edge of the circle to double India's lead.

Belgium, who had conceded just three goals prior to the final, attempted to counterattack in the closing stages of the half, winning a penalty corner in the 30th minute. The attempt, however, deflected off Belgium attacker Gregory Stockbroekx to go just wide. India went into the break up 2-0.

Belgium had a more calm, controlled start to the second half but neither side was able to create a chance in the first 10 minutes.

In the 48th, India had a great run from the centre but Simranjeet was sent tumbling to give the hosts another penalty corner. Van Doren dived to his right to save it and Nilakanta shot the rebound high as India's penalty corner woes continued.

Belgium, meanwhile, continued to try and attack but India's defence and goalkeeper Vikas Dahiya stood firm.

In the 60th minute, Gurjant broke free to make a run for goal but was denied by a charging van Doren. Subsequently, India earned another penalty corner, but it was saved once again.

In the last four minutes, van Doren was removed from goal to supply another player going forward. The move earned Belgium a penalty corner, which they converted in the final minute but it was too little, too late in the end.