Tokyo Olympics | Insipid display marks India’s surrender to Australia

Trent Mitton of Australia in action with Birendra Lakra of India, Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Hockey - Men's Pool A - India v Australia - Oi Hockey Stadium, Tokyo, Japan - July 25, 2021.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

The Indian men’s hockey team was no match for Australia as the world No. 1 side stomped to a 7-1 win in their Pool A match at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Sunday.

The result steadied Australia’s seat at the top with two consecutive wins, while India slipped to fourth spot. The top four teams from the six-member Pool will advance to the quarterfinals.

Brave front

Skipper Manpreet Singh maintained that the loss would not deflate his side’s spirits. “Everyone is disappointed today but it is a lesson for us. It was not a medal match, it was a pool game and we will take the learnings and move on. We have three more games to go and it will be really important for us to bounce back and win those,” he said.

Australia romped ahead in the 10th minute through James Daniel Beale, who cleverly guided Jacob Whetton’s flick into the back of the net. India had chances to restore parity within five minutes, but Ravinder Pal Singh was denied by a sublime goal-line block from Andrew Ogilvie.

“If Pal put that corner in, the scoreline would have read 1-1 and it would have completely changed the game. These scoring opportunities do matter. They put away their chances, while we did not. You have to put the ball in the goal to put the scoreboard pressure on a team like Australia,” India coach Graham Reid said after the game.

Three in five

India will rue that missed opportunity as the Aussies snatched the game away in the second quarter with three goals in five minutes. Jeremy Hayward struck a thumping drag flick, while Ogilvie scored two minutes later with a sublime no-look finish. The Indian defence, battered, had no time to recuperate as Joshua Beltz joined the party. Tim Brand bombed down the left byline, cut inside and crafted a neat tomahawk towards the centre. Amit Rohidas could have cleared but was not quick enough and Ogilvie hammered it home.

While the Indians were wasteful up front, the defensive shape also took a beating and the backline was susceptible to long passes — a tactic that the Australians relied on to create numerous one-on-one chances with goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh.

Consolation goal

The Indians came out with renewed tempo in the third quarter and Dilpreet Singh managed to score a consolation goal in the 34th minute, but it was insignificant as Australia simply marched on. Blake Govers sent Sreejesh the wrong way to score from the penalty spot and scored again two minutes later to propel his side to an unassailable 6-1 lead.

Australia used the aerial channel to perfection to bury the tie. Tim Brand skilfully received a long pass, weaved his way past Sreejesh and slammed the ball home nine minutes from time to take Australia to its biggest win of the year.

“There are no easy games at the Olympics,” said Manpreet. This was anything but easy for the Indian side.

Our code of editorial values

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Sep 29, 2021 5:29:28 AM |

Next Story