In what is a historical moment for hockey in India, the team beat the World No 1 Belgium 2-1 to climb to world No 4 spot in the FIH rankings. Mandeep Singh and Ramandeep Singh scored the goals for the hosts while Gauthier Boccard scored Belgium’s only goal.
In the Pro League standings, the Indian are now on the second spot with eight points after three games, while Belgium are still on top with 11 points after five matches.
India, who were the World Champions in 1975 and Olympic Champions in 1980, have made it to the top four in world rankings for the first time because when they won the two aforementioned feats, the current ranking system did not exist.
The current ranking model took effect from January 1, 2020 after approval by the FIH Executive Board. As opposed to the previous tournament based ranking system, this new method involves an exchange of points between the two teams competing in each match played. The number of points exchanged depends on the result of the match, and the ranking of the teams.Currently Belgium is on the top, followed by Australia, Netherlands and India in order.
As per FirstPost, The Belgian captain Thomas Briels said that they did have opportunities to win the match. “But India defended very well, and their goalkeepers were very good. India are tough opponents and we will learn from this.”
Indian coach Graham Reid was happy with the team’s performance. “I am pleased we won a tough encounter, especially the last quarter. If we come up with a similar match, the boys would know what to do. We gave away too many opportunities and there are lots to learn from a match like this.”