It was end of road for India. In the fourth and last quarter final India went down fighting to silver medalist of the last edition, Netherlands, 1-2 in the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Thursday.
The defeat shell shocked the nearly packed Kalinga Stadium. In fact the roars and excitement of the crowd died immediately after India conceded its second goal in the 50th minute. The decisive goal came from a penalty corner, the fourth for the Dutch, in the 50th minute when van der Weerden found the target.
Incidentally, penalty corners have proved decisive in quarter finals. Earlier also Belgium also scored through penalty corner against Germany. Australia won by all three penalty corner goals.
Though India withdrew Sreejesh in last four minutes but the Netherlands put up a solid defence and thwarted all moves of the home team. In the 55th minute when India forced its second and last penalty corner of the game, Harmanpreet had a hard flick as well as a powerful reverse flick from rebound but Dutch stood their ground.
Surinder Kumar of India was adjudged man of the match.
The fourth and last quarter final between the host India and the silver medalist of the 2014 World Cup Netherlands provided electrifying hockey. Speed, skills and thrills were all in galore as the game that moved from end to end with good concerted moves thwarted by equally determined defence on either side.
India was first to draw the blood. A penalty corner in the 12th minute saw Harmanpreet Singh unleashing a powerful flick which was defended but not that cleanly. The resultant rebound saw Akashdeep Singh making no mistake to put India ahead to great burst of roar of the home crowd.
Netherlands using long passes and deflections attempted to break Indian defence with speed. Efforts paid dividends just before the first quarter drew to a close. Thierry Brinkmann, veteran of many such exciting contests had the ball deflected into the roof of the net probably after it caught Sreejesh on his stick wielding arm.
Umpire went for video referral as the goal struck like lightning. The Video referee ruled in favour of the Dutch. There were Video Referrals that saw a goal by the Netherlands disallowed and few other umpiring decisions reversed.
The second quarter with all its excitement notwithstanding could not produce a goal though India enjoyed a slight edge.
It was the fourth and final quarter that provided the match deciding goal in the 50th minute.