India reclaimed the bronze medal at the Hockey World League (HWL) Final after eking out a close 2-1 win over a depleted but spirited Germany in the third-fourth place classification match in Bhubaneswar on Sunday, 10 December.
It was always going to be a David vs Goliath task for Germany. They were already a depleted side before start of the match and lost five players to illness and injuries.
Germany did not give India any clear cut chance but created a few. They secured the first penalty corner of the first quarter in the 14th minute. But it was well defended by the Indians.
Soon after Germany captain Mark Grambusch, who himself played with fever, got a good opportunity but his shot from left side was just wide of the target.
It was set up by Harmanpreet Singh’s defence splitting ball to Akashdeep Singh inside the D but his reverse shot was saved by German custodian Tobias Hauke and from the resultant rebound Sunil scored to give India the lead.
India had the first shot at the goal after the change of ends but Akashdeep’s shot in the 33rd minute was kept away by Hauke.
India secured three back-to-back penalty corners in a span of two minutes the last of which was converted by Harmanpreet with a powerful, low grounded flick to take the lead which they managed to hold on despite last-ditch efforts from the Germans who failed to utilise another penalty corner in the dying minutes of the match.