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India hold off Germany; Britain, Australia, The Netherlands win

Photo courtesy: NDTV Sports
Photo courtesy: NDTV Sports

Despite conceding an early goal, a spirited performance from the Indian hockey team saw the home team holding Germany to a 1-1 draw in their FIH Hockey World League encounter in Raipur.

Coming into the match on the back of a 0-3 drubbing against Argentina yesterday, India showed positive intent and countered an efficient German outfit with admirable resilience. The visitors were off to a flying start when Niklas Wellen slotted in the opening goal in the sixth minute of the match through a neatly orchestrated set-play which confounded the Indian defence.

However, Sardar Singh’s men bounced back strongly as they created multiple opportunities throughout the first half. Rupinder Pal Singh almost got India back into the contest with a powerful drag-flick which crashed into the post. PR Sreejesh continued his impressive form by thwarting the German strikers’ attempt to increase the lead.

India’s intensity paid off when Akashdeep Singh scored the equalizer in the 47th minute with a brilliant strike. A sequence of deft passes found the forward, whose goal evoked raucous cheers from the massive crowd which had turned up to support their team.

Indian coach Roelant Oltmans praised the efforts of his players. In the post-match presentation, he said, “We made far fewer unforced errors today than we did yesterday. Sometimes, you need a result like that to show the way to play. I’m proud of the way we played, and this is where the tournament starts for us.”

Meanwhile, his German counterpart admitted that his team could have done better: “India played their game very well and we did not. The performance today is an issue, the result I don’t really care about. We will try to get better.”

In the other results, Great Britain proved to be too strong for Canada as Simon Mantell’s brace ensured that the European team won 3-1.

World Champions Australia were stretched by an enterprising Belgium team. Ultimately, Jamie Dwyer’s goal sealed the match in the favour of the Australians.

In spite of Argentina’s miraculous comeback through Gonzalo Peillat, The Netherlands held on in the end to prevail 3-2 in a tense encounter.

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