India failed to make history on Thursday after a heartbreaking quarterfinal defeat against the Netherlands in the menís Hockey World Cup. Indiaís hockey team lost 2-1 to the Dutch.
A well-oiled Indian unit had raised its hopes of making it to the semifinals for the first time since 1975, but the Dutch broke a million hearts by coming from behind to eliminate the hosts 2-1 in the last-eight clash.
India took the lead in the 12th minute through Akashdeep Singh, before Thierry Brinkman drew level for Netherlands five seconds before the end of the first quarter.
Both the teams played aggressive hockey throughout the game However, Mink van der Weerdenís goal in the final quarter proved to be the decisive difference between the two teams.
Kothajit Singh produced an outstanding performance for India at the back as he denied the Dutch on several occasions with timely interceptions.
But at the end of the first quarter, Netherlands drew level when Brinkman got the faintest of deflections to beat Indian custodian P.R. Sreejesh from a long ball from outside the circle.
Five minutes from the finish of the first half, India came tantalisingly close from regaining their lead, but Nilkanata shot wide from a rebound after Akashdeep’s deflection.
Four minutes into the second half, Akashdeep had a golden chance to restore India’s lead again, but his reverse hit from a long ball of Harmanpreet Singh sailed past the Dutch goal.
The Netherlands soon secured two back-to-back penalty corners, but the Indians stood their ground to thwart the danger.
In the 48th minute, Simranjeet Singh’s fine stick work in the right flank went in vain as Akashdeep failed to reach his pass with only the Dutch goalie to beat.
As the match went on, the Indians found it difficult to build attacks as the Dutch concentrated on tight men marking.
Ten minutes from the final whistle, Netherlands secured their fourth penalty corner, and Van der Weerden found the back of the net past Indian goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh.
Desperate for the equaliser, the Indians threw numbers upfront. Though this strategy bore fruit when Chinglensana Singh earned their second penalty corner, Dutch goalkeeper Blaak made double save to deny Harmanpreet.
In the final moments, the Indian attackers gave their all, but were unable to breach the Dutch defence, and the match ended 2-1, with the result going in favour of the Netherlands.
The Dutch will now take on two-time defending champions Australia, while Belgium will meet England in the second semi-final on Saturday.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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