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Indian Men's Field Hockey Team Stuns Germany 5-4, Claiming First Olympic Medal in 41 Years

© REUTERS / BERNADETT SZABOTokyo 2020 Olympics - Hockey - Men - Bronze medal match - Germany v India - Oi Hockey Stadium, Tokyo, Japan - August 5, 2021. Players of India pose for a group photo after winning the match for bronze.
Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Hockey - Men - Bronze medal match - Germany v India - Oi Hockey Stadium, Tokyo, Japan - August 5, 2021. Players of India pose for a group photo after winning the match for bronze.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.08.2021
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The Indian men's field hockey team is the most successful team in the history of the Olympics, having won an unprecedented eight gold medals at the biggest sporting event in the world. They brought home Olympic gold medals in 1928, 1932, 1936, 1948, 1952, 1956, 1964 and 1980. But the latest podium finish happened after a four-decade wait.
India finally ended its 41-year-long drought waiting for an Olympic medal in field hockey on Thursday, as the men's hockey team led by Manpreet Singh put on a scintillating show to outclass four-time champions Germany 5-4 in the bronze medal contest at the Tokyo Games on Thursday.
Playing their first medal match at the Olympics in more than four decades, the Indian side opened their clash against Germany on a disappointing note, as Germany won a point early in the first quarter before India bounced back with the help of Simranjeet Singh's equaliser's in the second quarter.
Simranjeet's goal seemed to have hurt the German ego as the two-time World Champions went on an all-out attack at the Indian goal post, poked at their defence and tried to find gaps in between the Indian defenders.
Eventually, their ultra-aggressive strategy and back-to-back assaults on India paid off as German forward Niklas Wellen and midfielder Benedikt Fürk breached the Indian defence with their smart tactics.
The pair delivered their respective goals with a strike past goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh and a short cross respectively, giving the Germans a decisive 3-1 advantage in the game.
But Manpreet and his boys kept their spirits up as they clawed their way back in the match, evening the score at the end of the first half with strikes from Hardik Singh and Harmanpreet Singh.
Afterwards, India elevated their game to spectacular heights, while the Germans began to feel the heat as Rupinder Pal scored a penalty stroke in the third quarter.
Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Hockey - Men - Semifinal - India v Belgium - Oi Hockey Stadium, Tokyo, Japan - August 3, 2021. Rupinder Pal Singh of India reacts after losing their match. - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.08.2021
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The Indian offensive continued in the next 10 minutes as a stunning goal from Simranjeet brought the score to 5-3 in India's favour with only the final quarter remaining.
It was not just the 2-goal deficit which was hurting Germany at the beginning of the fourth quarter. They were also left with only 10-men after German captain Tobais Hauke was handed a yellow card by the referee.
Despite the setback of losing a player, Germany still managed to find a way to score their fourth goal in the match.
More drama ensued in the last 2 minutes as the Germans got a penalty corner but Indian goalkeeper Sreejesh made a brilliant save.
While the German team made a few more attempts to score an equaliser, the Indians kept both their nerves and the pressure on their opponents to clinch their first Olympic medal since the 1980 Moscow Games.
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