India reach finals of Champions Trophy for the first time in 36 years
India to take on Australia in title clash of Champions Trophy 2016
Thanks to a resilient fight back by hosts Great Britain, team India qualified to face top ranked Australia in the finals of the Champions trophy 2016. This will be India’s first appearance in the summit clash in 36 years since the inception of the blue-riband six-nation tournament.
India’s only podium finish until now was a bronze medal won way back in 1982 at Amsterdam.
India would thank Great Britain, who rallied from a two goal deficit to hold Belgium 3-3 in a cliffhanger at the Lee Valley Hockey Centre late last evening. This was after India lost 2-4 to title favourites Australia in their last round robin encounter.
The draw between Great Britain and Belgium meant both of them finished behind India in the round-robin league, paving the way for India to play World champions Australia in the tonight’s title encounter.
Australia topped the league standings with 13 points from five games, while India ended on seven points. Great Britain ended on six points and Belgium were left on four points.
Britain will feature in the bronze medal match with dethroned title holders Germany, who outplayed South Korea 7-0. This was Germany’s biggest win over the Koreans in international matches. Belgium will take on South Korea in the play-off for the fifth position.
Starting the day’s proceedings with a 2-4 loss to top-ranked Australia, the Indian players went through a pensive wait for the result of the last league fixture as both Great Britain and Belgium could have scraped ahead of India.
Britain simply required a victory to go past India on points, while Belgium needed to win by three goals or score at least four in a two-goal victory to finish ahead of India on goal difference.
All three possibilities were within close distance until the last stages, leaving the Indian fans in the stadium on tenterhooks. Even the last British shot at the goal with five seconds left could have taken the hosts into the final, but the ball went a few centimeters wide of the post.