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FIH Men's Hockey Junior World Cup 2023: India Produce Stunning Comeback To Beat Netherlands; Qualify For Semi-Final

The Indian Colts produced a stunning fightback from 2-0 down to beat the Netherlands 4-3 in the ongoing FIH Men's Hockey Junior World Cup and progress to the semi-finals. India scored twice in the fourth quarter, turning a deficit into a lead for the little time that remained

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India Men's Junior Hockey Team beat the Netherlands in the Junior Hockey World Cup quarter-final
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India produced a stunning fightback to beat the Netherlands in the second quarter-final of the FIH Men's Hockey Junior World Cup 2023 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Tuesday. India, the winners in 2001 and 2016, will take on six-time champions Germany on Thursday for a place in the final. (Hockey News)

The Indian colts were 0-2 down at half-time with Timo Boers's deflection beating goalkeeper Mohith early in the match (fifth minute). The three-time finalists then found themselves trailing 2-0 soon after the restart for the second quarter -- this time Pepijn van der Heijden threading a brilliant penalty corner conversion in the 16th following a spate of opportunities.

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But India fought back in the third quarter thanks to Aditya Lalage's goal -- a sublime finish, flicking the ball over the advancing Dutch goalkeeper, in the 34th. Within seconds, it became 2-2 with Araijeet Hundal converting his penalty stroke, one that was earned by Sunil Jojo following a dangerous play from Boris Aardenburg. India did concede the lead again as Van der Heijden sounded the plank from a drag-flick retake in the 44th.

After three goals in the third quarter, both sides increased the tempo at Malaysia National Hockey Stadium. India, on the counter, found the equaliser in the 52nd minute through a cool finish from Sourabh Kushwaha, who only needed to slot home after a rebound. And within minutes, India took the lead for the first time in the match. With three minutes remaining to the final hooter, India won back-to-back PCs and one Vishnukanth injection saw Boby Singh Dhami relaying to an opportunistic India captain Uttam Singh, who got a big enough deflection. 4-3, and the countdown began which ultimately ended with India winning the seven-goal thriller.

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This was the ninth meeting between India and the Netherlands in the FIH Men's Hockey Junior World Cup. India have now increased the head-to-head against the European powerhouse 6-3.

Earlier in the day, Germany -- the most dominant side in the history of the tournament -- defeated defending champions Argentina 2-1. India and Germany clash in the first semi-final on December 14. In other quarter-finals, France take on Australia while Spain face Pakistan.

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