Belgium, Germany, Poland and Malaysia all claiming important wins before France stole the headlines with a superb 5-4 win over hosts and reigning world champions India.
France captain Timothée Clément gave his team a sensational victory over title holders and hosts India, edging a nine-goal thriller. Clément and Benjamin Marque established a 2-0 lead inside the opening seven minutes, with India restoring parity through Uttam Singh and Sanjay before the end of a pulsating first quarter.
Penalty corner goals either side of half time earned Clément a hat-trick and took the score to 4-2 before he produced a stunning stick save on his own goal-line from an India penalty corner.
Corentin Sellier’s composed finish moved France closer to victory with 12 minutes to go before Sanjay’s second and third strikes of the match set up a dramatic finish. However, France held on to secure a famous win over India on home soil, giving coach Aymeric Bergamo a dream start to the world cup campaign.
“We won as a team, not as a single person, we won together”, said Clément, who represented France men at the 2018 Men’s World Cup in Bhubaneswar.
“It is incredible, and I am very happy for the team. To start the competition [in this way] is perfect. It’s important that we continue and win the other games because the competition is very long. It is not finished.”
Poland claimed a narrow triumph over Canada in the third match of the day, giving the Europeans a wonderful platform to build on as they attempt to reach the competition quarter-finals. The only goal of the game came from the stick of Eryk Bembenek.
Six times Junior World Cup champions Germany cruised to a 5-2 victory over Pakistan in their opening fixture.
2016 Junior World Cup silver medallists Belgium made the perfect start to their competition by claiming a 5-1 victory over South Africa in the opening match of the day.