India finished last in Pool B of the Hockey World League Finals after a 0-2 defeat to Germany in Bhubaneswar on Monday.
India, following a 0-2 loss to England, sought their first win in the tournament. But it was the Germans who took control of the first quarter. Their quick, short passes and positioning in the first few minutes of the game made them look better than India, who seemed unsettled. Thrice the Germans entered the opposition’s circle, threatening to draw first blood. The defenders of the home team scrambled to prevent an early goal.
The chances in the first quarter for India were rare, tough and not capitalised. Eleven minutes after the start, India entered the German circle for the first time, but SK Uthappa and Gurjant Singh – at the goalmouth – were left waiting for the ball.
The quarter ended with both teams failing to break the deadlock.
With the Germans achieving perfect levels of pace, passing, and positioning, even the slightest of slip-ups would prove costly for the Indian defence. But the home team faltered twice in the second quarter to concede.
The first occasion was a penalty corner – struck fiercely and into the left corner of the net by the German skipper Martin Haner – that goalkeeper Akash Chikte failed to clear.
The second goal came of deft play and nimblewitted attack inside the Indian circle. Julius Meyer passed the ball to Niklas Bruns who flicked it to Benedikt Furk, who was surrounded by four Indian defenders. But the home team didn’t have a man to deal with Mats Grambusch, who received the ball from Furk and unleashed a shot that was deflected into the Indian net.
The Indians increased their pace and counterattacked in the third and fourth quarters, looking for a goal. But having missed all their penalty corners, the home team were left languishing at the bottom of Pool B.
The home team will next face the Pool A toppers in the quarterfinals beginning on Wednesday.
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