Exciting quarter-final between European Champions Belgium, widely expected to do well in this Junior World Cup, and a French team that had only lost to them on an overtime golden goal in semi-finals of the European Cup.
After boisterous renditions of their national anthems, both teams were immediately in overdrive action. Belgium earned a penalty-corner with a video-referral in the 2nd minute of play but their soft option was wide of goal. Pieter Van Straaten had the first chance for France with a high backhand shot that was deflected by Arnaud Flamand in the Belgian goal.
Match was hotly contested, on the pitch and in the stands between the two sets of very vocal fans. France missed their first penalty-corner attempt but Victor Charlet was on target in the 15th minute to give the lead to Les Bleus.
Belgium immediately turned up the heat and France were under pressure. Gaetan Perez tied the match in the 29th minute and the Belgians had two opportunities to take the lead before the break, first on a penalty-corner then during a wide scramble in the goalmouth when the ball hit the crossbar with the French defense at a loss to realize where the ball had bounced back.
Maxime Plennevaux gave the lead to Belgium in the 37th minute, but Hugo Genestet brought the teams back on par three minutes later with a well-executed penalty-corner option. The wild scoring spree continued and Dorian Thiery put Belgium back in the lead two minutes later! Maxime Plennevaux scored a spectacular diving goal and for the first time of the match one team had a two-gaol cushion.
It however did not last long as Jean-Laurent Kieffer promptly brought France back within reach and Theophile Ponthieu tied the score in the 58th minute! Both teams threw caution to the wind in the final ten minutes of the match. Belgium seemed to have the upper hand but France earned a penalty-corner with a video-referral and scored their third goal in a row by Jean-Laurent Kieffer, his second of the match and the seventh goal of the period, to step in the driver’s seat with four minutes to go.
Belgium replaced their goal-keeper with a field player two minutes from time, but the French players hanged on their lead and were soon dancing with their fans to celebrate their stunning win over the European Champions and their first ever accession to final four.