A below-par performance from the Indian men’s hockey team resulted in a 5-1 loss against Great Britain in the 3rd place playoff match at the FIH Hockey World League. With this defeat, India finish fourth and will not be a very happy unit as they depart from Antwerp.
Alastair Brogdon, Chris Griffiths, Ashley Jackson, Adam Dixon and Barry Middleton scored a goal each for Britain while Rupinderpal Singh was the only Indian to get his name on the scoresheet.
Alastair Brogdon and Chris Griffiths give Britain a 2-0 lead:
After losing a hard fought semifinal against Australia, the British faced a must-win situation in the third place playoff against India in order to secure qualification for the 2016 Rio Olympics. The men in blue on the other hand were looking to end their Hockey World League campaign on a high after a 4-0 loss to Belgium in the semis.
Great Britain were on the attack early in the game and managed to win a penalty corner in the 11th minute of the match. The initial hit was saved by PR Sreejesh but Dan Fox fired in a backhand strike on the rebound and Alastair Brogdon deflected the ball into the goal to give his team an early lead.
The lead was doubled in the 27th minute when Chris Griffiths made the faintest of deflections off Nick Catlin’s incoming drive. A low-flight delivery darted through the center and Griffiths placed his stick to send the ball to the right of a charging Sreejesh. Replays confirmed the goal as well as the dexterity of Chris Griffiths. At half time, Britain held the upper hand with a 2-0 lead.
Rupinder scores consolation goal:
Great Britain enjoyed total control over the match and were successful in executing their attacks as planned. Ashley Jackson scored the third goal in the 37th minute to give his team an unassailable 3-0 lead. The onslaught was not over yet as Adam Dixon and skipper Barry Middleton notched up two more goals in the space of just two minutes to take the score to 5-0.
The Indians hardly showed any signs of fight as they cheaply lost the midfield battles and were intercepted on almost all occasions by the British defenders.
In the final minute of the match, India were awarded a penalty corner and had one last chance to shorten the deficit. Ace flicker Rupinderpal Singh launched in a low, hard shot that went past Britain’s reserve goalkeeper George Pinner. The final hooter went off and the British sealed the 3rd spot and also a place in the Olympics with a comfortable 5-1 win.
This Hockey World League fixture was also Barry Middleton’s 350th international appearance and the English skipper will have added reason to celebrate as this victory sees them through to Rio.
Match summary: Hockey World League- Men’s 3rd place playoff
Great Britain 5 (Alastair Brogdon 11′, Chris Griffiths 27′, Ashley Jackson 37′, Adam Dixon 42′, Barry Middleton 44′) beat India 1 (Rupinderpal Singh 60′)