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HWL Final: Toothless India go down 0-2 to Germany

. Mats Grambusch celebrates after scoring Germany's second goal against India during their HWL Final Pool B match in Bhubaneswar on Monday (Image courtesy: FIH)

Bhubaneswar, December 4: India produced another lacklustre as they went down 0-2 to Germany and end their pool engagements on a winless note at the Hockey World League Final at the Kalinga Stadium here on Monday (December 4).

Germany scored two goals in the second quarter through skipper Martin Haner (17th minute) and Mats Grambusch (20th) to hand India their second defeat of the eight-nation tournament. India, who drew 1-1 with Australia and lost 2-3 against England in their previous outings, thus finished at the bottom of Pool B table with just one point from three matches.

Earlier in the day, world champions Australia and England played out a 2-2 draw in their final pool match. Dylan Wootherspoon (33rd minute) and Blake Govers (42st) scored for Australia, while Liam Ansell (4th) and Phil Roper (54th) found the net for England.

Having finished at the bottom, India will now play the leaders of Pool A in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, while Pool B's top-placed Germany (7 points) will take on the last team of Pool A. Pool A standings will be decided on Tuesday (December 5) after the final round matches between Argentina-Spain and Belgium-Netherlands.

The Germans came out strong in the first quarter, dominating the early share of exchanges. The Indians, however, got their foothold as the quarter progressed. Both the teams tried hard but failed to produce any real goal scoring opportunities.

But the deadlock broke just after the start of second quarter from Germany's first penalty corner. The Germans kept up the pressure on the Indian defence and secured the first penalty corner of match, which Hanner converted with a ground flick to the right of a diving Akash Chikte in front of the Indian goal.

To the utter disbelief of the capacity crowd present at the Kalinga Stadium, the Germans extended their lead minutes later through Gramhbusch, whose strike from the circle beat Chikte after a deflection from Birendra Lakra stick.

 Akashdeep Singh of India goes for goal (Image courtesy: FIH)

Stunned by two goals, the hosts finally showed some promise and created a few good chances but failed to get past Germany custodian Tobias Walter, who was brilliant under the post. Walter denied Mandeep Singh from a counter attack and then from the resultant move Akashdeep Singh's reverse went inches wide of the goal.

The German goalkeeper made three brilliant saves in the final three minutes of the second quarter. An agile Walter made a double save to deny Gurjant Singh twice, first blocking his shot and then keeping out a sharp deflection from the striker with his extended arms.

The Indians earned their first penalty corner in the next minute after going for a referral but Walter came to his side's rescue again as he kept away Rupinderpal Singh's flick. Germany went into the breather leading 2-0.

Soon after the change of ends, India secured a penalty corner but it was later disallowed by the video umpire after Germany went for referral. The Indians had a close shave minutes later when the ball struck the post and went out after India's second choice goalkeeper Suraj Karkera did just enough to keep out Germany's second set piece.

India then got their second penalty corner but this time Harmanpreet Singh disappointed. Penalty corner conversions continued to haunt the Indians as they wasted two more set pieces in the final seconds of the match to sum up their disastrous pool showing.

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    Story first published: Monday, December 4, 2017, 22:25 [IST]
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