Junior Women’s World Cup: Fighting India Find the Going Tough Against Formidable Dutch

It was on August 2013 – venue – Monchengladbach – the Dutch overwhelmed India 3-0 in the semifinal of the 7th Junior Women’s World Cup at Santiago – a similar script was written at Potchefstroom in the 9th Junior Women’s World Cup as the Blueshirts went down to the Orange brigade by an identical margin. The pattern of the 2013 edition semifinal was similar to the 2022 edition semifinal – the Dutch scored a first half goal and added two two late goals in the 2015 edition at Santiago and at Potchefstroom, the Netherlands once again scored in the first half and scoring two late goals to march into their fourth consecutive final of the Junior Women’s World Cup.

India have been outstanding en route to the semfinals, toppling two former champions Germany and South Korea along the way. Up against the top side of the tournament, the Salima Tete-captained Indian called the shots from the outset with in-form Mumtaz Khan and Kishori Jiwan Toppo coming closing to scoring – Indian forced as many as three short corners but on each occasion Dutch goalkeeper Sophia Ter Kuile thwarted them. Never before in the tournament the Dutch goalkeeper was kept so busy, especially in the opening quarter.

It was almost against the run of play the Netherlands scored – Lunna Fokke set up Tessa Beetsma who wrong-footed Indian goalkeeper Bichu Devi Kharibam – it was the only second goal she conceded in the tournament. India needed to come out strongly in the second half after trailing 0-1 but they threw in all their might but was unable to break free from the disciplined Dutch. The Orange bridge controlled the ball almost in commanding fashion in the second half even as India found it hard to move forward. There was no lack of effort from the Indians – it was just case of the girls running into a much superior opponent.

The Dutch killed off the comeback hopes India may have harboured in the dying moments scoring two late goals. Lunna Fokke outsmarted her marker Sharmila Devi to slot pass Bichu Devi Kharibam and a minute later Jip Dicke pressed home the advantage. India would now play in the bronze medal play-off tie on Tuesday – a great opportunity to match her bronze-win effort of the 2013 Junior Women’s World Cup/