Harbir, Amardeep help Canada qualify for Junior World Cup
Canada’s Under-21 men left the 2016 Junior Men’s Pan American Championship with a silver medal and spot at the 2016 Junior World Cup after taking second place following a 5-0 loss to Argentina Saturday in Toronto.
Victoria’s Harbir and Amardeep Sidhu were among the Canadian roster that had a slow start to the tournament on home soil but recovered well in the cross-over rounds.
The two Pan Am finalists, Argentina and Canada, are headed to December’s Junior World Cup in India as the Pan American representatives. Chile took the Pan Am bronze after a 4-1 defeat of the United States.
The Canadian men finished the 2016 Pan American Championship with three wins and three losses.
“It’s been great. It’s really made me realize the competition that’s our there,” says 16 year-old Canadian midfielder James Wallace, who had the honour of wearing the captain’s armband in the final of his first major international tournament for Canada. “It just motivates me more when I get back in Vancouver to train harder, get on the pitch more, run more, do all those things so next time we see them we’ll be ready.”
Argentina controlled for a majority of Saturday’s gold medal match, beginning with an up-tempo pace and carrying the majority of the possession in the first few minutes. The start resulted in a first penalty corner in the 5th minute of play but a good stick tackle by Ganga Singh stopped the attempt.
In the 7th minute, however, Maico Casella, the tournament’s top goal scorer, converted on a penalty stroke after a mad scramble in front of Canadian goalkeeper Iqwinder Gill.
After Argentina went up 2-1, the Canadians seemed to settle into the match and began to hold the ball themselves and work their way into the Argentine end.
The Canadians picked up their first corner of the game after a well designed play into Argentina circle resulted in the ball hitting an Argentinian foot.
Brandon Pereira’s dragflick was stopped by left-hand of goalkeeper Emiliano Bosso to keep the game at 1-0.
Argentina added another goal in the 24th minute off the stick of Nicolas Keenan, who tapped the ball in at the side of the net after it came loose behind Gill.
“I thought we had a good game but we had a few lapses and that’s where they scored,” adds Wallace. “With a team as good as Argentina, just like the ones we’ll face in India you can’t let this happen, because they’ll bury them.”
Canada had a chance to come within one in the final minute of the first half when they picked up two corners but couldn’t convert on either attempt.
The next goal of the match would be the decider as it would bring Canada within one or put the Argentines up by three with less than one half to play.
Unfortunately for the Canadians, in the 45th minute Argentina converted on a corner with Canada shorthanded because of a yellow card given minutes earlier.
Despite Canada’s best efforts, Argentina would add two more before time was out to go on to the 5-0 win.
Source: Field Hockey Canada
Photo: Yan Huckendubler (PAHF)