Germany showed resilience in the second half and Julius Hayner struck a brilliant hit from the left flank to reduce the lead to 1-2. Argentina tried their best to put a game on with increasing intensity, but failed to score. The third quarter ended 2-1 in Argentina's favour.
The coach also admitted that lack of international exposure and practice sessions due to Covid-19 imposed restrictions pegged the team back.
In the second quarter, France continued with the surge from where they had left in the first break and got their fourth penalty corner in the 18th minute. But they missed the opportunity again. They got another penalty corner in the 26th minute. This time skipper Timothee Clement was bang on target to open the account for them. The first half ended 1-0 in favour of France.
Netherlands started aggressively and scored as early as the eighth minute of the match through Miles. Brent went on to double the lead seven minutes later. Miles increased the lead to 3-0 in the 20th minute to put immense pressure on the opposition.
South Africa upped their ante after the start of the third quarter and created an opportunity in form of a penalty corner in the 34th minute. Skipper Guy Morgan grabbed it in both the hands to open the account for them. However, they missed another penalty corner opportunity three minutes later. Korea showed a sense of resurgence, but couldn't capitalise on a scoring chance inside the D. Somehow, South Africa maintained their solitary lead at the end of the third quarter.
“There were lots of expectations on us. At the hindsight, we could have performed better in the tournament. We got our form back gradually as the tournament progressed. It was evident from today’s match,” said Pakistan captain Abdul Rana.
Notably, Argentina and France players got involved in a fight soon after the keenly-contested first semifinal match ended in favour of the champions of the 2005 edition of the tournament.
The 2-2 lead set up an exciting second half and the third quarter saw Korea snatching back the lead in the 33rd minute through Hyunwoo. They earned two successive penalty corners three minutes later, but failed to capitalise. Korea ended with a 3-2 lead after the completion of the third quarter.
South Africa coach Sihle Ntuli gave credit to all his players for maintaining their composure during the crucial moment to come out with flying colours.
India's preparations for the 2024 Paris Olympics will begin with the mega sporting spectacle -- FIH Odisha Hockey Men's Junior World Cup -- which is all set to kick-start on Wednesday.