Bhubaneswar, Dec5: India remained winless as they ended their Pool B campaign of the Hockey World League (HWL) Final with a 0-2 loss to European powerhouse Germany here on Monday.
Martin Haner (17th minute) and Mats Grambusch (20th) scored for the 2008 and 2012 Olympic champions, who claimed their second win in three matches.
It was India’s second loss in three matches. Earlier they drew 1-1 with current world champions Australia before losing 2-3 to England.
Since it is an eight-nation tournament, irrespective of poor results, India will automatically qualify for the quarter-finals.
But they will have to raise their game. In the previous two games, the Sjoered Marijne-coached side had played well in patches. But the game against Germany was India’s worst performance in the tournament.
Germany’s tactical game didn’t allow the Indians to play their free-flowing attacking hockey. Their midfielders closed down the spaces clinically, and the forwards efficiently utilised all the areas of their strength.
Germany also used the flanks to stretch the field, and as a result, the whole Indian defensive structure was torn apart. Germany didn’t take much time to transfer this domination in goals.
They made the most of their first penalty corner as Haner fired to the low right corner of Akash Chikte’s goal-post.
Only three minutes later Germany got their second. Following some immaculate passing game, Benedikt Furk received a ball from the right, and the top of the circle made a pass to the left. Furk trapped it and employed a fierce drive which entered the Indian goal with a deflection from a home defender.
India got a penalty corner in the 28th minute, but Rupinder Pal Singh’s flick was easily kept out by German goalkeeper Tobias Walter.
The hosts failed to make their second penalty corner count as Harmanpreet Singh’s flick was foiled by runner Haner in the 38th minute.
One minute before that, India had messed up a clearance from a penalty corner from Germany. The rebound after Karkera’s block hit the side-bar as India escaped the three-goal deficit.
Karkera again came to India’s rescue as he rushed ahead and dived to deny a brilliant counter-attacking run from Christopher Ruhr in the 46th minute.
In the final 10 minutes, Germany relied only on the counter-attack and were focused on denying India any chance. The opportunity came in the 59th minute in the form of a penalty corner, but Harmanpreet was unable to make it 1-2.
In the dying seconds, Rupinder’s drag-flick was put away by Walter as the visitors won 2-0.
“Germany were extremely disciplined. They did well and kept possession of the ball. We have to improve our penalty corner conversions. We will do better in the next game,” Indian coach Marijne said.
Earlier in the day, England held Australia 2-2.