- Indian Men’s Hockey team loses to Belgium 2-5 in semi-finals
- India will now play for the bronze medal at Tokyo Olympics 2020
- Belgium was the 2018 World Champions in Men’s Hockey
On Tuesday, the Indian men’s hockey team lost their semifinal match against the 2018 world champions Belgium at the Tokyo Olympics 2020, which lead them to miss out on a chance to make their first Olympic final in more than 40 years.
The last time India had played in the men’s hockey final at the Olympics was back in 1980 when the team had won the gold medal.
This was the first time India was facing Belgium since their 2-3 defeat at the FIH Pro League match in February two years ago. However, India’s campaign is still not over as they will now compete in the Bronze medal match on Thursday where they will face the loser of the second semifinal between Australia and Germany.
After India’s defeat, the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi tweeted soon after the loss saying, “Wins and losses are a part of life. Our Men’s Hockey Team at #Tokyo2020 gave their best and that is what counts. Wishing the Team the very best for the next match and their future endeavours. India is proud of our players.”
Wins and losses are a part of life. Our Men’s Hockey Team at #Tokyo2020 gave their best and that is what counts. Wishing the Team the very best for the next match and their future endeavours. India is proud of our players.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 3, 2021
India did not get to the best of starts as they conceded an early penalty corner in the semifinal. Felix Denayer sent a ball inside the scoring circle, and the ball was deflected off by Rupinder Pal Singh. Even though Alexander Hendrickx was not on the turf at that point, Luick Luypaert made the most of the opportunity and scored an early goal for Belgium in the second minute of the first quarter.
It took India 9 minutes to get things back to level-pegging as Harmanpreet Singh smashed a powerful drag flick past Belgium goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch after the World Champions conceded a penalty corner.
Just two minutes after that, Amit Rohidas passes the ball to Mandeep Singh inside the circle, and the Indian forward turns a tomahawk shot past the goalkeeper and into the nets to give India the lead.
However, in the second quarter, Belgium came back strong and got four penalty corners within a matter of minutes. Hendrickx scored his 12th goal of the Olympics from a penalty corner, getting things again back to level terms as both teams went into the halftime with two goals apiece.
In the third quarter neither of the two teams got too many opportunities, however, team India’s inability to prevent penalty corners cost them in the final 15 minutes. Alexander Hendrickx scored two more goals, the fourth one coming from a penalty stroke.
It has been a good journey for India men’s hockey team in Tokyo Olympics 2020 so far, defeating New Zealand 3-2 in their opening group game, and then picking up wins over Germany (2-0), Spain (3-1), Argentina (3-1), and Japan (5-3) in the group matches.
Barring the 7-1 defeat against Australia, India had won all their games so far, but failed to surpass the Belgium test.