The Indian men’s hockey team ended their FIH Champions Trophy campaign with another defeat. They lost to Australia by 2 goals to 1 and let the bronze medal slip off their hands. After a poor start to the tournament, India came back strongly, winning the last league game against the Dutch and the quarterfinal against Belgium. They narrowly lost the semifinal 4-3 to arch-rivals Pakistan.
India’s journey in the tournament:
Game 1: India 0-1 Germany
India opened their campaign against Germany. In a close contest, it was the visitors who snatched victory in the last minute. Florian Fuchs scored just 34 seconds before the final whistle. Read full story here.
Game 2: India 2-4 Argentina
This game saw the Indian defenders lose their plot and concede some unwanted goals. After fighting hard for the first two quarters, Argentina took control of the game and walked off with a comfortable win. Read full match story here.
Game 3: India 3-2 Netherlands
With two losses in two games, India badly needed a win to get things back on track. They did just that in the game against Netherlands and registered their first win in the tournament. Goals from SV Sunil, Manpreet Singh and Rupinderpal Singh helped India escalate to the third place in Group B. Read full story here.
Quarterfinal: India 4-2 Belgium
After finishing 3rd in pool B, India were up against a strong Belgian side in the quarterfinal. India staged a superb comeback after going 2-0 down in the first 18 minutes to win the game 4-2. Rupinderpal Singh, SK Uthappa, Akashdeep Singh and Dharamvir Singh were the goalscorers for India. Read full story here.
Semifinal: India 3-4 Pakistan
The Asian Games finalists faced each other in one of the most exciting matches of the FIH Champions Trophy. In a close contest, it was Pakistan who emerged as the winner and progressed to the finals. The winning goal was scored just 93 seconds before full time. Read full story here.
Pakistan players breach code of conduct after the match
After winning the match, the Pakistani players went into a frenzy and started celebrating wildly. They took off their jerseys and made obscene gestures in front of the Bhubaneshwar crowd. They even used foul language. Indian skipper Sardar Singh and coach Roelant Oltmans expressed their disappointment after the FIH did not take any strict action against the players and let them go only with a warning. As a result, Hockey India said that they would boycott all upcoming FIH tournaments if no disciplinary action is taken. Hence the supreme authority banned two players, Muhammad Tousiq and Amjad Ali from playing in the finals.
Indian players grab individual honours At FIH Champions Trophy:
Indian custodian PR Sreejesh won the ‘Goalkeeper of the tournament’ award while forward Akashdeep Singh grabbed the award for “young player of the tournament”. Captain Sardar Singh walked away with the people’s choice award.
The Indian team will take a lot of positives from this edition of the FIH Champions Trophy. The forwards have been combining very well with the midfielders- SV Sunil, Akashdeep, SK Uthappa and Nikkin Thimmaiah have grown into more mature players. The defenders need to work a bit more on their game and India will definitely be the team to beat in the upcoming tournaments.