Indian men’s hockey team attains No. 4 in the world rankings

Despite playing against 11 outfield players in the final five minutes, Indian men’s hockey team defended well and came victorious at the end.

Indian men's hockey team (In a file photo; Image Credits - Twitter)
By Pushkar Pandey | Mar 17, 2023 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Rourkela’s Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium hosted six games of the FIH Hockey Pro League 2022-2023 from March 10 to March 15, 2023. India emerged as the most successful team in this leg of the FIH Hockey Pro League 2022-2023, winning all the four games. India beat reigning World Champions’ Germany 3-2 and 6-3, followed by 5-4 and 2-2 (4-3 SO) win against Australia. The results have helped India to move up in the FIH ranking table. India was ranked at no. 6 when they started their campaign at home, while Germany was ranked No.1 and Australia ranked No.4, ahead of this year’s Pro League. After the games, India now ranks fourth in the world, just behind the world champions who have dropped to third in the recently updated FIH world ranking.

India’s in the First Three Games

In this home campaign, India’s winning campaign started against Germany in a thriller. India won this game by 3-2 on 10th March. The first goal came from Harmanpreet’s stick in the 30th minute, followed by Sukhjeet in the 32nd and 43rd minutes. India was leading by three goals in the first half but Germany, as they did in the World Cup, came alive in the second half. Paul-Philipp Kaufmann and Michel Struthoff scored one goal each in the 45th and 58th minutes. Despite playing against 11 outfield players in the final five minutes, Indian men’s hockey team defended well and came victorious at the end.

The next game was against Australia on 12th March. Australia got off and ran quickly through Joshua Beltz’s goal in the third minute. But it was Harmanpreet Singh again who showed his class, scoring two goals within the last 90 seconds of the first quarter. India kept on scoring in the second with Jugraj Singh and Karthi Selvam’s goals making it 4-1. Australia tried to fight back with goals from Ky Willott, Ben Staines and before Harmanpreet completed his hat trick. Aran Zalewski scored in the 57th minute to make it 5-4. It was a fighting win for India.

India’s winning streak continued in the next game too against Germany on 13th March. India won this game comfortably by scoring six goals against Germany’s 3 goals making it 6-3. From India Jugraj Singh (1), Abhishek (2), Karthi Selvam (2), and Harmanpreet Singh (1) scored respectively goals. Germany looked a bit restless and could only score three goals. Tom Grambusch, Gonzalo Peillat and Malte Hellwig,1 each. Germany lost two in a row against India.

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Last Game Thriller against Australia

On Wednesday, 15th March 2023, India played a thriller against Australia in FIH Championship. Indian Men’s Hockey Team remained unbeaten as they put up a resilient performance against Australia in the last home game in the FIH Hockey Pro League here at the world’s largest-seated Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Rourkela, Odisha. For India Vivek Sagar Prasad (2′) and Sukhjeet Singh (47′) scored in the regulation interval, while for Australia Nathan Ephraums (37’) pulled one back and Tim Howard (52’) scored in the final quarter.

The score for both teams was level (2-2) and the result was decided by a shootout. PR Sreejesh, with three saves from six in the shootout, starred for India. Indian hockey captain Harmanpreet Singh scored twice in the shootout and was also named Player of the Match. Dilpreet Singh and Sukhjeet Singh scored one apiece. And for Australia Jake Harvie, Craig Marais, and Jack Welch scored one each. Finally, the score was 4-3 and India came as the winner by scoring 4 goals in the shootout.

Summary of India’s matches

DateMatchGoalsGoal Scorers (India)Goal Scorers (Germany/ Australia)
3/10/2023IND v GER3-2Harmanpreet (1)Philipp Kaufmann (1)
   Sukhjeet (2)Michel Struthoff (1)
3/12/2023IND v AUS5-4Harmanpreet (3)Joshua Beltz (1)
   Jugraj Singh (1)Ky Willott (1)
   Karthi Selvam (1)Ben Staines (1)
    Aran Zalewski (1)
3/13/2023IND v GER6-3Karthi Selvam (2)Grambusch (1)
   Abhishek (2)Gonzalo Peillat (1)
   Jugraj Singh (1)Malte Hellwig (1)
   Harmanpreet (1) 
3/15/2023IND v AUS2 – 2 (4 – 3 SO)Vivek Sagar Prasad (1)Nathan Ephraums (1)
   Sukhjeet Singh (1)Tim Howard (1)
   Shootout score (4-3)Harmanpreet (2)Jake Harvie (1)
   Dilpreet Singh (1)Craig Marais (1)
   Sukhjeet (1)Jack Welch (1)

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