France aim to give Germans the blues again in JWC final

BUKIT JALIL: France, the 2024 Olympic hosts, will play a "wounded and angry" Germany in what is expected to be an explosive Junior World Cup (JWC) final at the National Stadium today.

France are the only unbeaten team in the Kuala Lumpur JWC, and Germany have lost only one match, 2-0 to the French in their Group B encounter.

Les Bleus plan to give Germany the blues yet again to lift their maiden JWC title.

For the record, Germany defeated France 5-2 in the final of the 2013 event in New Delhi, India.

"It's always difficult to play a wounded and angry Germany in any tournament. So we expect them to come for us with everything they have. We will have to be alert until the final second of the match as the Germans have proven themselves in this JWC with some good matches," said France coach Matthias Dierckens.

France played simple hockey in Group B to beat Germany 2-0, Egypt 3-1 and South Africa 5-4. In the quarter-finals, they beat Australia 3-2, followed by a 3-1 win over Spain in the semi-finals.

As for Germany, their Group B wins were 10-0 against Egypt and 5-3 against South Africa. They dethroned Argentina 2-1 in the last eight and ousted India 4-1 in the semi-finals.

The German coach said they are the underdogs in the final, and Dierckens laughed out loud.

"Germany underdogs? They have a very good development programme and playing structure at age groups, and there are so many hockey players there, it is mind-boggling. They are the favourites, not underdogs," said Dierckens.

German coach Rein van Eijk said his goalkeeper is their biggest strength in this JWC.

Joshua Onyekwue N,naji, with shoulder-length rasta hair, has been Germany's strength between the posts.

"Joshua, together with his defenders, have kept us marching in the JWC, and I believe he is among the rising stars of this tournament. I will be surprised if he is not named as Player of the Tournament," said Van Eijk.

Germany had won three JWC titles as well as one senior title on Malaysian soil, and the wounded and angry machine is touted to lift their fourth in Kuala Lumpur to take their tally to a massive seven gold medals.

Most Popular
Related Article
Says Stories