India edged out Australia 4-2 in a shootout in their semifinal clash in the Junior Hockey World Cup, to book a berth in the final of the tournament against Belgium. After a thrilling encounter that finished 2-2 at full time, goalkeeper Vikas Dahiya pulled off two saves in the shootout to help India reach one step closer to the title.
Gurjant Singh and Manjeet Singh scored the goals for India in the 42nd and 48th minutes, respectively, after Tom Craig had given Australia the lead in the 14th minute. Australia scored again, 13 minutes from full-time, to level up the scores. Lachlan Sharp scored the equaliser for the Australians.
In the shoot-out, goalkeeper Vikas Dahiya rose to the occasion and made two fantastic saves to deny Australia's Matthew Bird and Sharp.
The Indians, on the other hand, were clinical in the shoot-out with skipper Harjeet Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Sumit and Manpreet (Jr) finding the back of the net past the Australian custodian.
Belgium come out on top vs Germany
Earlier on Friday, India's final opponents Belgium stunned six-time champions and title holders Germany 4-3 in the shootout in the first semifinal to enter the tournament final for the first time.
Belgium rode on their goalkeeper Loic van Doren's superb display in the shoot-out to register the upset win after the two teams failed to break the deadlock in regulation 70 minutes.
Van Doren made two brilliant saves in the shoot-out to deny Germany's Philip Schimid and Tim Herzbruch.
In the second semifinal, India had the better share of possession in the opening half but it was Australia who utilised their chances.
It seemed Australia took a cue from the Spaniards as they hardly gave any space to the Indians, relying mainly on man to man marking.
Australia utilised the first chance they got in the match. The Burras earned their opening penalty corner in the 13th minute and Tom Craig scored from the third attempt with a reverse shot from close range after the initial flick and rebound were saved by the Indian defence.
Australia preferred to sit back and rely mainly on counters to surprise the Indians.
Australia secured two consecutive penalty corners in the 22nd minute but this time India goalkeeper Dahiya came to his side's rescue to deny Blake Govers from the second attempt.
India pressed hard and minutes later earned two back to back penalty corners but Harmanpreet Singh failed to find the back of the net on both occasions.
In the 32nd minute, Varun Kumar found Vikramjit Singh inside the circle but the latter's shot went straight to Australian goalkeeper Ashleigh Thomas' pads.
The hosts had their best opportunity of the opening half in the next minute when Varun's long scoop from deep found Simranjeet Singh unmarked inside the circle after an Australian defender fumbled, but the striker pushed wide with only the rival custodian to beat.
(With inputs from PTI)