HWL Finals: India Face Germany for Bronze, Aus-Argentina in Title Clash
Out of the title race after a heart-breaking loss to Argentina, a demoralised India will have to regroup quickly if they hope to do an encore in the Hockey World League (HWL) Final when they take on a depleted Germany in the bronze medal match on Sunday.
File image of Indian men's hockey team celebrating a goal. (Image credit: Hockey India.)
Bhuvaneshwar: Out of the title race after a heart-breaking loss to Argentina, a demoralised India will have to regroup quickly if they hope to do an encore in the Hockey World League (HWL) Final when they take on a depleted Germany in the bronze medal match on Sunday.
Germany lost their semifinal 0-3 against world champions and title holders Australia at the Kalinga Stadium here. Dylan Wootherspoon (42nd), Jeremy Hayward (48th) and Tom Wickham scored for Australia against a German side, which had only 13 players at its disposal today after four of them were ruled out of the match due to fever.
The Germany were already down to 17 men before Sunday's match as one player had returned home after suffering injury during the course of the tournament. Germany did not get the services of some of the key players like Martin Haner, Julius Meyer, Christopher Ruhr and Marco Miltkau today as they were down with fever since last night. Such was Germany's plight that they had to play reserve goalkeeper Mark Appel as a field player.
Australia will now play Argentina in the summit clash of the tournament, scheduled to be held tomorrow evening. After having lost 0-2 to Germany in the pool stages of the tournament, the Indians would be hoping to avenge the defeat. And come Sunday, the hosts can breathe a little easy against the Germans, who are bound to field a depleted side again because of fever and injury.
Having finished third in the last edition of the tournament in Raipur in 2015, India desperately wanted to go one step further this year but their dreams were crushed by the experienced Olympic champions Argentina, who displayed calm and cool temperament under difficult playing conditions to hold on to their solitary lead in the semifinals.
The ongoing HWL Final is Asian champion India's biggest tournament before next year's Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast and coach Sjoerd Marijne and his men would be eager to make the most out of the opportunity with a morale-boosting result in their favour.
Luck did not favour the hosts in the semi-final as torrential rains wreaked havoc on Friday and made the pitch wet and waterlogged, thereby making life difficult for the Indians, who struggled to play their natural counter-attacking hockey against the Argentines.
Even though India had the better match statistics in terms of ball possession, shots on goal and circle penetrations, they failed to break the resolute Argentine defence.
The close defeat, that too, in difficult playing conditions will definitely be hard to digest for the Indians but they cannot afford to get bogged down by that and let it affect them mentally.
The conditions might not have been favourable but India created a handful of scoring chances against Argentina that included two back-to-back penalty corners but they continued to misfire time and again in the tournament.
Sunday's match will also be the last time for India to impress upon the hockey crazy fans of the temple city before next year's World Cup, as the stadium not only witnessed capacity attendance on all days but also braved intermittent rain and windy conditions to support the home team on a wet day on Friday.
All in all, India have a great chance to reclaim their bronze medal on Sunday against a bruised and battered German side.
On Saturday, Olympic silver medallist Belgium beat Spain 1-0 to finish fifth in the eight-nation tournament. Sebastien Dockier scored the only goal of the match from a field effort in the fourth minute.
Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox - subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow News18.com on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what's happening in the world around you – in real time.
Subscribe to Moneycontrol Pro and gain access to curated markets data, trading recommendations, equity analysis, investment ideas, insights from market gurus and much more. Get Moneycontrol PRO for 1 year at price of 3 months. Use code FREEDOM.
Recommended For You
- PV Sindhu Overcomes Tai Tzu Ying to Reach World Badminton Championships Semi-finals
- Prabhas and Raveena Tandon Dance on 'Tip Tip Barsa Pani' on Nach Baliye 9
- Woman, Whose Rendition of Lata Mangeshkar Classic Went Viral, Records Song for Himesh Reshammiya
- Tata Harrier Dark Edition Details Leaked Ahead of Launch, All-Black SUV Looks Dominating
- Sai Praneeth Guarantees 1st Men's Singles World Championships Medal Since 1983