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1985 Hockey Champions Trophy: Remembering India's sensational match against Germany
Rewind to November 19, 1985 – the Perth FIH Champions Trophy witnessed probably international hockey’s ‘best-ever comeback match’ where India were up against formidable Germany.
Over several decades the Indian men’s hockey team have covered themselves with glory, especially in the Olympics, where they have won whopping eight Olympic gold medals. Barring the Olympics, our men’s hockey team have churned out several stellar performances in other premier global competitions such as the World Cup, Champions Trophy, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games. Rewind to November 19, 1985 – the Perth FIH Champions Trophy witnessed probably international hockey’s ‘best-ever comeback match’ where India were up against formidable Germany. It was a match that still evokes fond memories among hockey buffs as well as former greats even today. India had went into the much-talked-about Germany tie after being handed a 1-4 drubbing by hosts Australia in their earlier league tie. The India-Germany tie was a scrappy affair for the most part, with both teams unable to dish out free-flowing hockey that spectators come to see. Germany took the lead close to the half-time hooter through a penalty corner strike by ace fullback Carsten Fischer, after the set-piece was earned following a goalmouth melee as India trailed by a solitary goal at half-time. The MP Ganesh-coached Indian outfit caught the Germans by surprise in the opening minute of the second half with a highly opportunistic equalising goal by Jalaluddin Rizvi, who orchestrated a nifty move from the right, and dodged past two Germany defenders and slammed home with a fierce hit from the top of the striking circle. The goal shook whatever little complacency had crept into the German ranks as the red-and-black brigade took the game away from India, scoring four times in a span of 16 minutes in the second half to take a commanding 5-1 lead with more than 18 minutes to go for the final hooter. https://youtu.be/Bfq1HQs-4NE Many teams would have thrown in the towel with a four-goal deficit and that too against a top-flight side like Germany but not India. The Indian resurgence was kickstarted by MP Singh, who fired home a penalty corner to reduce the deficit to 2-5 with just eight minutes to go. Mercurial Mohammed Shahid made the Indians believe ‘they can do it’ scoring the third goal with four minutes left for the final hooter. The stage was set for perhaps world hockey’s best field goal – Pargat Singh took the ball from his own half and dodged past four Germany players to score a fabulous solo goal to make the scoreline 4-5 with two minutes left. India upped the ante in the final minutes and earned a penalty stroke, which was duly converted by Joaquim Carvalho with just four seconds left as India pulled off an unthinkable 5-5 draw against Germany. Pargat Singh scored a fabulous solo goal to make the scoreline 4-5 with two minutes left (Photo: Olympic Channel) Twenty-four years down the line, that famous draw is still talked about in glowing terms. Former Indian midfielder Joaquim Carvalho – the man scored the final minute equaliser – recalls how India upset the applecart of Germany. “I thought Germany were a tad overconfident after taking 5-1 lead with 18 minutes to go. They kept substituting players thinking they had won the game. To be honest, we had nothing to lose after being down 1-5 and the performance showed what a fighting outfit India was.”
Pargat Singh recounted the match that gave him instant recognition in world hockey. “It is seldom that a fullback runs from his own half and scores without passing to any player. In fact, I wanted to pass the ball in that game to my team-mates, but all of them were tightly marked, so I took the ball on my own, and I dodged past Carsten Fischer (their last line of defence) and scored.” The former Indian captain also recalled how India’s sensational comeback in the last eight minutes of play shocked everyone at the Perth stadium. “I clearly remember Australia and Pakistan teams who were to play the next match were watching our match. They are thinking the 5-1 scoreline could soon become 6-1, 7-1 or 8-1 with eight minutes remaining. They were stunned with our fightback as we clawed our way back from 1-5 down to play out a 5-5 draw.” The India-Germany 5-5 draw at Perth will always be remembered in Indian hockey for many more years to come.
Carvalho termed Pargat’s solo goal as the best he has ever seen. “Pargat was one of the youngest exciting talents on the Indian hockey scene. He was an unknown commodity on the world stage, and he made sure many remember him after that goal. In my book, Pargat’s goal was the best international field hockey goal. He was brilliant with his tackling and dodging, and the manner in which he ran from his own half all on his own was a memory we can all cherish always.”