Report Wire - Hockey’s French evolution begins

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Hockey’s French evolution begins

4 min read
IPL 2022

If there was any proof wanted that France may very well be worldwide hockey’s massive story of this decade, considerably like Belgium did within the decade that glided by, it got here on a breezy Wednesday night time in Bhubaneswar. Never thoughts that it got here at India’s value.
In December 2011, a youthful Belgium group defeated India for the primary time, a consequence that introduced their arrival on the world stage. France’s gorgeous 5-4 win over India within the opening match of their Pool B encounter of the Junior World Cup won’t look like an identical watershed second proper now. But it factors to the European facet’s fixed enchancment, to the purpose that they’ll not be thought of minnows going ahead.
France’s upswing began on the similar venue on the 2018 World Cup, the place a ragtag bunch of gamers reached the quarterfinals. Timothee Clement, the youngest participant of that group, was certainly one of their heroes again then. Clement, the oldest participant on this facet, was their hero on Wednesday as effectively. The 21-year-old put up a heroic efficiency, scoring a hat-trick and making essential clearances, together with an unbelievable goal-line save, to guide his facet to this well-known win.
But greater than the consequence, it was the way in which France went about it that was extra spectacular. And Graham Reid had seen it coming.

An end-to-end encounter at Bhubaneswar resulted in France’s favour, however not earlier than India confirmed nice combating spirit.
Here are glimpses from our first #JWC2021 match. 🖼️#IndiaKaGame #RisingStars
1/2 pic.twitter.com/luyJgDuCXD
— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) November 24, 2021
France, he had gathered from the restricted footage that was accessible, performed ‘like a European team’ – held the ball, moved rapidly and attacked from the correct. The India coach couldn’t have been extra correct in studying his opponent’s recreation plan. Yet, the group couldn’t cease them from executing it.
To be truthful to Reid, he’s solely been with this facet for a month or so. India’s junior group had been coached by BJ Kariappa for the final couple of years after Jude Felix left. Then, as they did simply earlier than the 2016 Junior World Cup the place Roelant Oltmans was given the cost of a group that was coached by Harendra Singh, Reid was requested to take over the group this time, with Kariappa as his assistant.
Reid had been understanding sufficient to not tinker rather a lot though he admitted earlier than the match that he didn’t actually know rather a lot in regards to the gamers, or the way in which they performed. In reality, only a few knew.
Limited taking part in time
Before Wednesday, India’s junior group hadn’t had a aggressive worldwide match for nearly two years. And for the final yr or so, they’d just about turn out to be a simulation machine for the Tokyo-bound group. To assist put together the seniors, who too have been starved of aggressive matches, for the Olympics, the under-21s have been made to play like India’s opponents – Germany sooner or later, Belgium the opposite and so forth.
Reid didn’t consider the simulation affected their taking part in model – “they were still trying to play their own game,” he mentioned. But juniors lacked co-ordination and made many uncharacteristic errors. Perhaps, they have been simply rusty due to the shortage of match observe.
There have been mis-traps galore and the lengthy balls weren’t managed. Unlike the senior group, the place a participant holds the ball for 3 to 5 seconds at finest earlier than passing, the colts launched into lengthy, at occasions aimless, runs that spoiled the group’s construction.

The #JWC2021 kicked off to an excellent begin with objectives aplenty and a few nice hockey abilities on show.
Here’s a have a look at the outcomes of the day. #IndiaKaGame #RisingStars pic.twitter.com/ba954gQc1b
— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) November 24, 2021
France have been shrewd to benefit from India’s errors. But they didn’t rely solely on that. From the very first minute, France took issues into their very own fingers, launching wave after wave of assaults and being breathtakingly sturdy on the ball – transferring it rapidly to the correct, slicing open India’s defence and raiding the objective. They have been fast off the blocks in every quarter and made that depend – their objectives coming moments after restart every time.
This win places them in pole place to high the group and get a beneficial draw for the quarterfinals.
For India, there’s nonetheless sufficient time to show this round. Despite the loss, it wasn’t all doom-and-gloom. There have been just a few brilliant spots.

Not all gloomy
Penalty nook specialist Sanjay confirmed why he’s tipped to take the spot vacated by Rupinderpal Singh within the senior facet. He generated loads of tempo in his drag-flicks and was capable of finding corners, making it robust for the goalkeeper to get close to the ball. His hat-trick (15’, 57’, 58’) saved India alive within the match till the final minute.
The efficiency of the ahead line, too, will encourage Reid. Araijeet Singh Hundal, Sudeep Chirmako and Maninder Singh opened up the French defence fairly simply, and repeatedly. Hundal was spectacular particularly along with his lengthy strides and probing runs however India lacked the sharpness. A few pictures hit the publish and one went throughout, which left the group ruing.
And lest it’s forgotten that even on the Tokyo Olympics, India scripted a turnaround after shedding 7-1 to Australia early of their marketing campaign. If something, the defeat to France complicates India’s title defence. At the identical time, it asserts France’s standing as world hockey’s subsequent massive factor.