India crashed to a 1-7 defeat against World No 1 Australia in their Men’s Hockey Pool A match, at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday, a morale-shattering loss that exposed every possible chink in the side’s armour.
The Kookaburras simply toyed with the Indian defence after the first quarter and scored goals at will to comfortably secure their second consecutive win in the competition. For India, it was their biggest loss since Australian Graham Reid took charge of the team as coach in April 2019.
Australia looked dominant and were in complete control from the onset, scoring goals through Daniel Beale (10th minute), Joshua Beltz (26th), Andrew Flynn Ogilvie (23rd), Jeremy Hayward (21st), Blake Govers (40th, 42nd) and Tim Brand (51st).
India’s lone goal came from the stick of Dilpreet Singh in the 34th minute.
India had earlier defeated New Zealand 3-2 in their opening fixture on Saturday.
The Manpreet Singh-led side will next play Spain on Tuesday.
The eight-time former champions looked completely off colour from the first whistle and the team’s backline was put under relentless pressure by the Australians. In the first quarter, the Indians put up a semblance of fight but in the next 15 minutes it was all Kookaburras, slamming in goals at will.
— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) July 25, 2021
However, it was India who had the first chance at the goal, earning a penalty corner in the eighth minute, but Harmanpreet Singh failed to execute from the set piece. Two minutes later, Australia surged ahead when Beale deflected in Jacob Whetton’s strike after a poor penalty corner execution. A minute later, Dilpreet missed a golden chance from close range to level the scores.
India custodian PR Sreejesh then made a double save to keep the Australians at bay. India were unlucky not to have equalised just seconds from the first quarter when Rupinder Pal Singh’s low flick from their second penalty corner was brilliantly saved at the goalline by Andrew Flynn Ogilvie.
The second quarter completely belonged to Australia as they scored three goals in a span of five minutes to take the game away from their opponents.
First Hayward found the net from Australia’s third penalty corner and then Ogilivie slammed home from top right corner of the circle with a fierce hit past Sreejesh in front of the Indian goal.
If that was not enough, Beltz added to India’s misery with a fourth goal, four minutes before half time with a reverse hit. The Indians showed some spark after the change of ends and attacked the Australian goal in numbers. In the process they secured three back-to-back penalty corners but wasted all of them.
Four minutes into the third quarter, Dilpreet infused some life into the game by pulling one back for India, beautifully deflecting in Rupinder’s defence splitting pass from the midfield.
India wasted another penalty corner in the 40th minute when Mandeep Singh failed to deflect in Amit Rohidas’ lay-off. But that was all India could manage as Australia slowly tightened their defence and withstood the pressure.
The Kookaburras managed to turn the tide and scored three more goals to hand India a humiliating loss. Govers scored two goals in quick succession – first from the spot and then from a penalty corner – before Tim Brand rounded off the tally by finding the net from a tight angle nine minutes from the hooter.
Following the defeat India fans took to social media to express their disappointment, but some also looked for silver lining.
Issued in public interest: Don’t see the score. #Hockey
— Trendulkar (@Trendulkar) July 25, 2021
— Munaf Patel (@munafpa99881129) July 25, 2021
With inputs from PTI