Indian men’s hockey team ended the country’s 41-year medal drought at the Olympic Games in hockey as Manpreet Singh & Co. defeated Germany 5-4 to clinch a bronze medal at the quadrennial event in Tokyo. Trailing 1-3 in the match, Indian team produced a sensational comeback to send the Germans on backfoot. The victory will go down as one of the finest in the history of Indian hockey.
Simranjeet Singh (17th, 34th minutes) scored a brace, while Hardik Singh (27th), Harmanpreet Singh (29th) and Rupinder Pal Singh (31st) were the other goal-getters for India. For Germany, goals were scored by Timur Oruz (2nd), Niklas Wellen (24th), Benedikt Furk (25th) and Lukas Windfeder (48th). PR Sreejesh stood like a rock once again as Germany found it difficult to go past the experienced Indian goalkeeper.
The first quarter was dominated by Germany where they scored in the second minute of the match. At the end of the first quarter, Germany were given four back-to-back penalty corners but Indian defenders did well not allowing them to score their second goal of the match.
India started the second quarter on a positive note as Simranjit Singh scored for India but the Germans made a strong comeback by scoring two more goals in a matter of few minutes. Under tremendous pressure trailing 3-1, Hardik Singh and Harmanpreet Singh also scored two goals to bring India back in the match.
The third quarter started on a positive note for India as Rupinder Pal Singh scored off a penalty stroke. Simranjit Singh followed it with yet another goal to increase India’s lead to 5-3 in the third quarter. Germany are known for their counter-attack but despite several attacks, they could not score any more goals in the third quarter.
Germany got a penalty corner in the beginning of the fourth quarter and scored a goal to reduce the deficit to 5-4. Lukas Windfeder scored the goal for Germany who got their 10th penalty corner with 2:45 minutes left in the match. But Indian defenders brought their A-game to the table in the final quarter and scripted history in Tokyo. With just six seconds left in the match, Germany got another penalty corner but failed to breach the Indian defence and there were celebrations all around in the camp as Manpreet Singh and his team won a memorable match to win a bronze medal at Tokyo Olympics 2020.It is India’s third hockey bronze medal in the history of the Olympics, the other two coming in 1968 Mexico City and the 1972 Munich Games. India have a rich history at the Olympics where they have eight gold medals to their name.