GOAL RUSH
The Morning Standard|November 28, 2021
Lack of training because of pandemic-infused breaks has left many teams come to the Junior World Cup short on preparation, which leads to heavy defeats against top teams
SWAROOP SWAMINATHAN


AFTER the end of the second day of the Junior World Cup in Bhubaneswar, the International Hockey Federation’s (FIH) media release highlighted that Spain had broken a longstanding goal-scoring record. Spain, one of the sport’s traditional superpowers, had scored 17 goals past US, whose field hockey federation (USA Field Hockey) still have to explain the differences between this format and the one played on ice to US natives.

It was, the FIH noted, “a new record for goals scored at the event in a single match as the European side put 17 goals past the USA. The previous record was a 13-0 victory for India against Singapore at the 1982 Junior World Cup.”

For all the emphasis on of the biggest upsets of the World Cup so far, France’s 5-4 win over India, the lopsided nature of the results has been one of the defining themes from Kalinga Stadium in the opening four days of competition. Consider this. Four of the 20 matches so far have seen sides winning by 10+ goals margins.

Even in a sport where winning by big margins isn’t exactly uncommon, this is unprecedented over the last decade. In the last three men’s junior World Cups put together (2009, 2013 and 2016), there has only been one instance of a match where the winning team won by a 10-goal margin (India vs Singapore in 2009).

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