Bhubaneswar: The title hopes have already been dashed, defending champion India even failed on the podium when he lost 3-1 to France in the play-off game for the bronze medal of the FIH Junior Hockey World Championship here on Sunday.
Argentina defeated Germany 4-2 in the final. Argentina striker Lautaro Domene made the difference with his hat trick and Agostini sealed the championship with a brilliant goal in the last minute.
Hayner and Phandt each scored one goal for Germany, but it wasn’t enough.
Previously, the French skipper Timothee Clement had scored a hat trick to amaze the hosts again and secure the bronze medal.
Clement converted three penalty corners in the 26th, 34th and 47th minutes, while India’s only goal was scored by Sudeep Chirmako in the 42nd minute.
It was the second consecutive flop show for the Indians after their superlatives in the quarter-finals against Belgium.
The game for third place was a chance for India to retaliate for their 5-4 defeat to France at the start of the tournament, but it shouldn’t be as the European side continued to dominate the hosts with an outstanding performance.
France were by far the better team on the pitch as they controlled the game after a quiet first quarter and received up to 14 penalty corners against India’s only three.
India started well and put pressure on the French defense in the first quarter, which resulted in a penalty corner in the first minute of the game, but the hosts did not use it.
The Indians kept pushing hard and were on the verge of securing the lead in the 12th minute when Araijeet Singh Hundal’s shot from the top of the circle hit the post.
France gained a foothold with three straight penalties at the end of the first quarter but the Indian defense did just enough to keep their rivals at bay.
France continued to storm in the second quarter as the Indians played catch-up hockey.
In the third minute of the second quarter, France secured another penalty corner, which was again unsuccessful.
India also created a few chances, but all of them fizzled out within the French circle.
France continued to press the Indian defense and earned their fifth penalty corner in the 26th minute, which was converted by Clement with a slow drag-flick to the right of the Indian administrator Prasanth Chauhan.
France continued their attacking game after the break and secured five penalty corners minutes after the start of the third quarter, most recently converted by Clement to give the Europeans a 2-0 lead.
Minutes later, India earned a penalty corner but Shardanand Tiwari’s shot was deflected wide by the first rusher.
Seconds later, Sudeep’s attempt from close range was saved by the French goalkeeper.
In the 42nd minute, Sudeep gave the hosts a glimmer of hope by reducing the lead with a field goal.
But France kept attacking, earning their eleventh penalty corner in the 47th minute, and Clement struck again.
France kept the pressure on the Indian defense and earned three more penalties in the process, but failed to extend their lead.
Sudeep had a brilliant chance for India minutes later but his touch after a pass from Araijeet Singh Hundal went wide.
India had another chance to narrow their lead in the form of a penalty corner, but vice-captain Sanjay Kumar’s shot was well defended by France.