Tokyo Olympics 2020: Indian hockey team beat Germany and won bronze medal
Another medal has come in India’s bag in Tokyo Olympics 2020. Here the Indian men’s hockey team gave a fine performance to beat Germany 5-4. With this victory, India won the bronze medal in the Olympics after 41 years.
As soon as goalkeeper PR Sreejesh stopped Germany’s penalty corner in the last few seconds, the eyes of crores of Indians watching this historic match on TV with Indian players also became moist. After all, the wait was 41 years and out of the gloom of the past, the Indian hockey team came back from the laggards to win the bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics.
The thrilling 5-4 win over Germany was anchored by many, including two goalscorers Simranjit Singh ((17th and 34th) Hardik Singh (27th), Harmanpreet Singh (29th) and Rupinder Pal Singh (31st). They were there but goalkeeper Sreejesh, who saved the penalty in the last moments, is also involved.
The Indian team won an Olympic medal 41 years after winning the last of its eight gold medals at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. The journey from Moscow to Tokyo included many disappointments at not being able to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and returning empty-handed from each Olympics.
The eight-time Olympic champion and world number three India were at one point trailing 1-3 but managed to overcome the pressure and register a win with four goals in eight minutes. World number four Timur Oruz (2nd), Niklas Wellen (24th), Benedict Furck (25th) and Lukas Windfeder (48th) scored for Germany. Both the teams were tied at 3-3 till half time.
This is India’s fourth medal at the Tokyo Games. Earlier, Mirabai Chanu won silver in weightlifting, PV Sindhu in badminton and Lovlina Borgohain won bronze in boxing. The Indian team not only won the bronze medal with its performance in the tournament but also won the hearts of all. Despite a crushing 1-7 defeat in the second group match against Australia, the Indian team finished second after winning their remaining four group matches. The team lost 2-5 in the semi-finals to world champions Belgium despite giving a tough fight in the opening three quarters.
The start of the match did not go well for India. The Indian defense made several mistakes but front line and goalkeeper PR Sreejesh managed to make up for it. Germany got off to a very quick start but failed to maintain that stamina for the rest of the match. While Germany dominated the first quarter, the Indian team dominated the remaining three quarters.
Germany put the Indian defense line under pressure by attacking from both ends in the very beginning. The team also got the advantage when Timur Orooj, taking advantage of a mistake in front of the Indian goalkeeper in the second minute, put the ball under goalkeeper PR Sreejesh’s feet in the goal.
India retaliated by showing swiftness. The team got its first penalty corner of the match in the fifth minute but drag-flicker Rupinder’s shot was in vain. Germany continued to attack. In the first quarter, the German team managed to enter the Indian D in the desired manner. Sreejesh, however, made a stellar performance to prevent Germany from doubling the lead and foiled two of their attacks.
Germany got four consecutive penalty corners in the last minute but Amit Rohidas did not allow the opposition to achieve success. India got off to a good start in the second quarter. Simranjeet scored in the second minute with a reverse shot on a long pass from Nilkanta Sharma in the D to overtake Germany goalkeeper Alexander Stadler to level India 1-1.
In the meantime, India launched continuous attacks but failed to penetrate Germany’s defense. The Indian defense then made repeated mistakes, taking advantage of which Germany scored two goals in two minutes to take a 3-1 lead. First, Neelakanta allowed the pass of Yan Christopher Roor to take it easily to Valen, who scored the goal by hitting Sreejesh.
After this, the Indian defense again made a mistake on Germany’s attempt from the right end and Benedict Furk scored the goal. After trailing 1-3, the Indian team retaliated and scored two goals in three minutes to equalize. The team got a penalty corner in the 27th minute. Dragflicker Harmanpreet’s effort was stopped by the goalkeeper but on the rebound, Hardik hit the ball into the goal.
India got another penalty corner a minute later and this time Harmanpreet tied the ball with her powerful dragflick to bring the ball into the goal. The Indian team completely dominated in the third quarter. In the very first minute, the German defender dropped Mandeep Singh in front of Golmukh, giving India a penalty stroke. Rupinder put the ball into the goal from Stendler’s right side to put India ahead in the match for the first time. This is Rupinder’s fourth goal in the Tokyo Olympics.
India then made a move from the right end and this time on Gurjant’s pass inside D, Simranjeet put the ball into the goal to put India 5-3 ahead. After this, India got three consecutive penalty corners and Germany also got three consecutive penalty corners but both the teams failed to score.
Germany got another penalty corner in the third minute of the fourth quarter and this time Lukas Windfeder put the ball through Sreejesh’s legs into the goal to make the score 4-5. India got a golden opportunity to score in the 51st minute. After taking possession of the ball on a long pass, Mandeep takes it to D. Mandeep just had to hit the goalkeeper Stadler but he failed.
Sreejesh then thwarted another penalty corner from Germany. Germany’s team played without a goalkeeper in the last five minutes in search of an equalizer. The team got penalty corners in the 58th and 60th minutes but the Indian defenders foiled these attacks to ensure a bronze medal.
The Indian team won an Olympic medal 41 years after winning the last of its eight gold medals at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. The Indian team won 4 or more matches in the pool stage in Tokyo for the first time since 1972.
In the 1972 Olympics, India won 5 out of 7 matches in the pool stage. After this, India could not win more than 3 matches in the group stage till the 2016 Olympics. From 1984 to 2016, the Indian team could never win more than 2 matches in the group stage.
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