European Champions Belgium arrived in Delhi with the legitimate ambition of going all the way in this Junior World Cup. They were impressive in pool play but were surprised by France in the final minutes of their quarter-final. Australia, bronze medalist in the previous Junior World Cup, went through pool play unbeaten but fell to a dominant German team in quarter-final.
Match started on a high tempo and Belgium earned a first penalty-corner within three minutes of play but the Australian defense was vigilant and cleared the danger. Alexander Hendrickx was again denied on his second and third attempts. Belgium were finally rewarded in the 25th minute when Maxime Plennevaux slotted the ball in goal after Andrew Butturini in the Kookaburras’ goal pushed it back three times in a mad goalmouth scramble.
Belgium has a slight edge on the proceedings in the fairly balanced period and walked into the break with a slim but deserved one-goal lead.
Australia came back strong in second period, immediately pushing the Belgians on the back foot and levelling the score by William Gilmour in the 39th minute. The European Champions were unphased and regained their lead in the next minute with a superb backhand from Alexandre Vanlinthoudt that surprised Edward Chittleborough, in goal for the Kookaburras for this second period.
Australia intensified their pressure and forced a penalty-corner after overwhelming the Belgian defense. The initial shot was saved but Jeremy Hayward collected the rebound and slammed it in goal. The Kookaburras thought that they had scored another one just after by Frank Main, but the goal was denied after a video-referral for an innocuous high stick before entering the circle.
Play became an intense tactical battle in midfield, with some heated exchanges between players when Australia were awarded another penalty-corner in the 61st minute. It was unsuccessfully replayed three times and Australia received a yellow card to compound their misery. Teams threw caution to the wind in the final minutes of play. Belgium had the upper hand for a while but a last Australian rush earned them another penalty-corner. Arnaud Flamand was up to the task and teams moved on to a shoot-out competition.
Both keepers thwarted a couple of attempts, then Dimitri Cuvelier, last shooter for Belgium, took more than his eight seconds to score. In the end, Australia grabbed 5th place, leaving Belgium dejected in 6th position.