the wait gets longer

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 14 Dec 2018 12:22:04



India ousted from World Cup after losing to Netherlands

INDIA let history slip out of their hands with a heartbreaking quarter-final defeat against the Netherlands in the men’s hockey World Cup, a result which left the young players of the team crying on the pitch. A well-oiled Indian unit had raised the hopes of making the semi-finals for the first time since 1975 but the Dutch side broke a million hearts by coming from behind to knock out the hosts 2-1 in the last-eight clash. Young players such as Dilpreet Singh left the pitch with tears in their eyes.

India took the lead in the 12th minute through Akashdeep Singh before Thierry Brinkman drew parity for Netherlands five seconds before the end of the first quarter. After a hard-fought third quarter, Netherlands scored the winner in the 50th minute when Mink van der Weerden converted a penalty corner. The defeat ended India’s long cherished dream of lifting the trophy only for the second time after its lone triumph in 1975 at Kuala Lumpur.  It was a momentous occasion for India to rewrite history books after 43 years as they had never qualified for the semi-finals of the World Cup after 1975.

The Netherlands played like true warriors and didn’t give an inch to the Indians after the change of ends. The Dutch had the first shot at the goal in the 11th minute but Jeroen Hertzberger reverse hit went just wide of the Indian goal.
India’s first real scoring opportunity came in the 12th minute when they were awarded a penalty corner and the hosts did not let go the chance as Akashdeep scored from a rebound after Harmanpreet Singh’s initial flick was saved by German goalkeeper Pirmin Blaak.

Kothajit Singh produced a stellar performance for India at the back as he denied the Dutch on a number of occasions with timely interceptions. But at the stroke of the first quarter, Netherlands drew level when Brinkman got the faintest of deflection to beat Indian custodian PR Sreejesh from a long ball from outside the cirle. The Dutch came out with a plan in the fourth quarter and didn’t give India any leeway into their citadel.
The Indians found it difficult to build up attacks as the Dutch concentrated on tight men marking. Ten minutes from the final hooter Netherlands secured their fourth penalty corner and Van der Weerden found the back of the net past Indian goalkeeper PR Sreejesh, who had an ordinary tournament.