Odisha Hockey World League Final : India survives a scare to end with bronze: A depleted team with both goalkeepers in the playing XI saw Germany putting up a gallant fight before going down by a late second half goal in the bronze medal game against the hosts India at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Sunday.
India, thus, retained its bronze medal it had last won at Raipur.
And the only goal for Germans was scored by their reserve goalkeeper Mark Appel who was assigned to marshal Indian striking circle and pounce upon any scoring chance. When the chance came in the 36th minute, Mark Appel gracefully accepted it and helped Germany to restore parity.
Earlier, winger SV Sunil had given the home team 1-0 lead with a field goal to give the packed Stadium a lot to cheer about. Germans who had no bench strength and were playing game of their lives put everything into the play and held the crowd supported Indians on the tenterhooks till the 56th minute when their concentration lapsed a bit and Harmanpreet Singh scored from the fourth penalty corner.
Germany had its share of chances as it had six penalty corners and a couple of good field scoring chances. But absence of several key players, primarily because of injuries and ailing stomachs, the Germans, who had beaten India 2-0 in the pool game, were unable to repeat their earlier performance.
Harmanpreet Singh got the junior Man of the match award for his penalty corner conversion, his second of the tournament.
By the time final whistle blew crestfallen Germans sprawled on the field as their best of efforts could not see them through. Perhaps luck eluded them at a time when they need most. Even yesterday, they had gone down fighting to defending champions Australia primarily because of unfit players.