After an unimpressive first half of the year, the Indians looked a much different side after July as they came up with stellar performances at the Commonwealth games and the Asian games. This year also saw the men’s team become the first team to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics after a successful Asian Games campaign at Incheon, South Korea. In December, India had a satisfactory Champions Trophy campaign where they finished fourth.
Let us go down memory lane and take a detailed view of the Indian hockey team’s performance in 2014:
Delhi hosted the World Hockey League in December 2013 , and the Indian hockey team finished 6th in the 8-nation tournament. A disappointing group stage with 2 losses and draw and a 7-2 drubbing against Australia saw the men in blue finish the tournament at a lowly 6th place. Thus Indian hockey entered 2014 , low on confidence and had a slow start to the year.
January 2014- Delhi Waveriders Win Hockey India League:
The 2nd edition of the Hero Hockey India League attracted hockey fans from all over the country. The hockey extravaganza which saw Indian and international players play together has grown into one of the most popular franchise-based sports leagues in the country. The Delhi Waveriders, led by Indian skipper Sardar Singh lifted the trophy after beating Punjab Warriors on penalties in the final. Along with Sardar Singh, Rupinderpal Singh and Akashdeep Singh were the chief architects of Delhi’s successful campaign.
April 2014- Disappointing friendly series against Netherlands:
The Indian men’s hockey team traveled to the Netherlands for a friendly hockey series to help them in preparing for the World Cup. After registering huge wins against the domestic clubs, the Indian defense was completely exploited by the hosts. India lost both the matches against Netherlands.
May-June 2014- India finish 9th at World Cup:
Terry Walsh, the coach of the men’s hockey team began to work hard on the fitness levels of the players as India traveled to the Netherlands for the World Cup with an improved squad. But results did not favour the Indian hockey team as they were handed last minute losses to England and Belgium followed by a draw against Spain apart from a 4-0 loss against world champions Australia in the group stage.
India won only one game in the group stage which was against Malaysia. Eventually India defeated South Korea 3-0 to take the 9th position.
July-August 2014- Indian Men wins silver at Commonwealth Games:
Indian hockey began the second half of the year with the Men’s team winning a well-deserved silver medal at the commonwealth games in Glasgow. After a strong performance in the group stage, India were up against New Zealand in the semifinals. Our boys put up one of their best performances to come back from a goal deficit to beat the New Zealanders 3-2 to enter the finals. They lost 4-0 to Australia in the summit clash and settled for silver.
Women’s team finish 5th:
The Indian women’s hockey team, led by Ritu Rani and coached by Neil Hagwood, finished the tournament with a creditable 5th position. The women’s team registered few clinical wins in the tournament including a 14-0 victory against Trinidad and Tobago. They lacked firepower to go through the defenses of opponents like South Africa and New Zealand and finished 5th after beating Scotland 2-1.
September-October 2014- India Win historic Gold at Asian Games:
Riding on a good performance in Glasgow, the Indian hockey teams (both men and women) were in great form ahead of the Asian games in Incheon, South Korea. After a commendable performance in the preliminary round, the Indians overcame stiff resistance from South Korea in the semifinal with a 1-0 victory. In the final, the men’s team defeated neighbours Pakistan 4-2 on penalties after score ended at 1-1 on field. Kothajit Singh scored an equalizer in reply to Muhammad Rizwan’s 3rd minute goal. India won a hockey gold after 16 years and booked a place in the Rio Olympics.
Women win bronze:
While the men’s team won gold, the women’s team weren’t far behind as they won bronze at the Asian games. They qualified for the semifinals after putting up a good show in the preliminary round. The Ritu Rani led team lost to hosts South Korea 3-1 but defeated Japan 2-1 to take the 3rd position.
October 2014- Under 21 men retain Sultan Johor Cup:
The junior Indian hockey team hit the headlines just weeks after their seniors’ Asiad triumph. They successfully defended the Sultan Johor Cup after beating Britain 2-1 in the final, thanks to Harmanpreet Singh’s twin strikes. They also had an outstanding group stage where they won 4 out of 5 matches.
November 2014- Indian Hockey Team secure 3-1 Test Series Win vs Australia
After the successful run at the Asiad, the Men’s team travelled to Australia for a 4 match test series. India lost the opener but made a splendid comeback by winning the remaining three games in dominating fashion.
India achieved a rare series win down under against the best hockey team in the world. Goalkeeper PR Sreejesh played a vital role in India’s successful run at this tournament by pulling out fantastic saves in crucial times.
November 2014- Terry Walsh resigns:
Just when team India was on a high after two successful tours, Terry Walsh was forced to announce his resignation from the post of head coach of the Indian men’s hockey team. Apparently, Walsh demanded an improved contract but his proposal was not accepted by Hockey India and the coach who played a major role in shaping up the Indian hockey team decided to part ways shortly before the Champions Trophy.
December 2014- Indian Finishes 4th at Champions Trophy:
Odisha hosted the FIH Champions Trophy this year and the event attracted a lot of people from all parts of the country. India, managed to reach the semifinals of the tournament under interim coach Roelant Oltmans. The men’s hockey team began their campaign with a narrow 1-0 loss against Germany and a 4-2 defeat against Argentina. In the final group stage game, India beat Netherlands for the first time after 18 years.
In the quarterfinals, India faced Belgium and were reduced to 2-0 in the first twenty minutes. Thereon, the Indian hockey team staged a terrific comeback as they equalized in the next ten minutes through Rupinderpal Singh and SK Uthappa. Akashdeep Singh and Dharamvir Singh added two more goals to take the tally to 4-2 and scripted a memorable win.
Sadly India could not carry on the momentum as they lost to Pakistan 4-3 in a nail-biting semifinal encounter. In the 3rd place playoff, India were handed a 2-1 defeat by world #1 Australia.
The Indian men’s hockey team ended the year ranked 9th on the FIH world rankings table. The women’s team continue their stay at the 13th place and would look to enter the top 10 next year.
We look forward to the Indian hockey team having a good 2015 season.