Germany prove too good for Indians

Hosts end group stage without a single win

Germany prove too good for Indians

Germany handed India another hockey lesson as the heavyweights scripted a handsome 2-0 victory in their final pool game of the World League Final here on Monday.

The Europeans thus topped Pool A with 7 points while India (1), following their second straight defeat, remained rock bottom much to the disappointment of the crowd who had packed the Kalinga Stadium to the rafters.

From the opening to the final hooter, Germany showed the gulf that still exists between them and India. For much of the opening quarter they hardly allowed India a touch of the ball as they kept passing the ball among themselves.

From one side to another, the ball just whizzed past the Indians as the hapless hosts struggled to gain any sort of hold. It almost looked like FC Barcelona were in action as the ball stayed glued to the Germans' sticks.

The Indians, confused whether to attack or stay back and hit on the counter, did nothing to break the German domination that eventually saw them being buried under waves of attack.

But despite the one-sided traffic, Germany couldn't get on board as India, defending in numbers, soaked up the pressure pretty well. They didn't allow Germany to make much circle penetration, thwarting every r aid just before the D.

The Germans, however, didn't get frustrated and just kept coming at the Indians. They stuck to their ploy of passing the ball around, hoping to force an error with their constant pressure. They also had their half covered with two men in case they slipped and India counter-attacked.

India finally blinked in the second minute of the second quarter, conceding a penalty corner.

The Germans sold a dummy to the Indians as two players shuffled around the 'D' when the push happened. That was enough for Martin Haner to get a clean sight at the goal and nail it past a distracted Akash Chikte.

The opener soon led to a second, the tired defence making the cardinal sin of losing their positional sense. Benedikt Furk, given acres of space, dribbled near the circle and then short passed to an unmarked Mats Grambusch, who took his time and then hammered it home comfortably.

India now had no choice but to step on the accelerator and they created a couple of good chances midway through the second quarter but squandered both.

Akashdeep, one on one with the German keeper Tobias Walter, shot wide while seconds later Mandeep Singh saw his shot saved brilliantly by Walter.

Germans quickly realised they can't afford to relax as the Indians can be dangerous on the counter with their lightning quick wingers and strikers. Thereafter they hardly switched off and regained the possession and control of the game. It was replay of the opening quarter as they kept passing the ball among themselves while the Indians struggled to break the hold.

India did earn four penalty corners, two at the very death, but couldn't covert any of them. The fact that fans started to leave the stadium five minutes from the end explained their performance that lacked imagination and verve.

The Indians will most likely play Pool A toppers, which Olympic silver medallists Belgium should achieve on Tuesday, in the quarterfinals.

Results: Pool B: England: 2 (Liam Ansell 4th, Phil Roper 54th) drew with Australia: 2 (Dylan Wotherspoon 33rd, Blake Govers 41st); Germany: 2 (Martin Haner 17th, Mats Grambusch 20th) bt India: 0.


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