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Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Giving Away Trophy To Argentina’s Captain.   

Defending India Crash Out Of Junior Hockey World Cup: Any Lessons Learnt?

At Bhubaneswar, Odisha, the venue for the 2021 Men’s FIH Hockey Junior World Cup played between 16 countries, the expectations were high that the defending champion India would once again walk away with the Cup. After all, it had won the Junior World Cup title in 2016 in Lucknow. But, the winner was Argentina. It displayed maturity, strategy and patience to beat the six-time champion Germany 4-2 to lift the cup after a gap of 16 years. Argentinians, who were shorter in height vis-a-vis German players, overcame that shortcoming by focusing on timely tackles, dodge and block, dribble, and in the process displayed exemplary teamwork. India on the other hand lacked all these qualities from Day One. It lost miserably to France and Germany. In fact, experts point out that India’s conversion ratio, coordination and consistent precision needs great improvement. The blame game is on with fingers pointing towards Hockey India. Not many know that Odisha was chosen as a venue at the last moment in September when two other Indian states declined to host the event. The Naveen Patnaik government pulled all stops out to ensure the event went off smoothly. Even the international coach Graham Reed was brought in just three months before the event. Hope Hockey India is well prepared for the next big event in 2024.