Find of the Cup: A phenomenon called Christopher Ruhr
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Even before the final between Germany and France, observers at the 2013 Hockey Junior World Cup could have picked out one winner in advance. German forward Christopher Ruhr, with his blazing runs from the center of the field, had stood out by some distance from the rest and it wasn't much of a surprise when he received the player of the tournament award.
That accolade would fit nicely along with the award for highest goalscorer (9) although Ruhr, who will celebrate his 19th birthday on Thursday, may count himself a bit unlucky that his second goal against Pakistan — a solo run from midfield past most of the opposition defence — wasn't adjudged the best goal of the tournament.
Ruhr's time in India has essentially been one high after another tempered only by an "incomprehensible, culture shock" when he tried exploring old Delhi on a rickshaw.
By his own admission, Ruhr didn't have a great last game, although he won a penalty corner, assist a goal and scored the final one himself. His effort, with two minutes to go, was appropriate — he hadn't gone a game in the tournament without scoring. Trying to pin down Ruhr with two markers, France ultimately left spaces that were utilised by other German players.
For Markus Weiss, Germany's chief coach, who had come to the Junior World Cup on a talent-spotting mission, Ruhr's performances would have been heartening. While Weiss, with an eye on creating a squad for the 2014 World Cup, stayed tight lipped on Ruhr's prospects, there was no shortage of praise from junior coach Andre Henning who said he expected Ruhr to be a key member of the German squad for the Rio Olympics. Praise flowed freely from rivals too.
"He looks to be a special player. More than his ability to score is the fact that he scores at crucial moments of play," said Paul Gaudoin, the coach of Australia, against whom Ruhr got an equaliser in the semifinals.
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