Friday’s game between India and Germany for five-to-eight classification got off to a routine start. The visitors hovering all over the hosts’ goal in the first 15 minutes. The 2-0 scoreline by the end of sixth minute was telling. And the 5,000-strong crowd gathered were ready for the worst.
What followed was something Indian hockey lovers have not witnessed for a long time. And when Rupinder Singh scored from a penalty corner in the dying seconds to secure a rare 5-4 win against the Olympic gold medallists, a decade-long wait for Indians to beat Germany, in an FIH event, came to an end. It was at the 2004 Champions Trophy 2004 that India had last beaten a full-strength Germany.
India’s win in the last minute meant that they will now take on Belgium in the second outing on Saturday for a five-to-six place finish.
Germany went into the break leading 3-1. However, India then came out with a completely different strategy. A double strike from Rupinder Singh and Mandeep Singh in the 39th and 41st minute brought India level with Germany at 3-3. And when Mandeep scored his third goal in the 53rd minute, the hosts went ahead for the first time.
Stopwatch: India 5 (M Singh 18, 41, 53, R Singh 39, 70) bt Germany 4 (O Korn 4, T Stralkowski 6, B Wess 27, M Haner 55); Belgium 1 (o.g.) drew with Argentina 1 (M Rey 31) (Belgium won 3-1 via shootout); England 3 (H Martin 23, M Gleghorne 49, A Jackson 64) drew with New Zealand 3 (M Child 12, S Jenness, H Inglis 62) (New Zealand won 7-6 in shootout); Netherlands 4 (C Jonker 12, M Weerden 20, J Hertzberger 62, M Weerden 66) bt Australia 3 (K Govers 42, 55, F Russell 47)