Indian Men's hockey team finally ended their quest to earn an Olympic medal in Tokyo, as the young side claimed a bronze medal, defeating Germany in a tense battle. With this victory, the 41-year long wait for an Olympic medal in Hockey finally came to a conclusion. Manpreet Singh's young and spirited side showed plenty of courage, as they battled against some of the world's best over the course of two weeks.
The Indian team played eight matches in total, where they managed to win six of them, and lost only two. It is a great improvement for a side that even failed to register a single win at London 2012 Olympics. The manner in which the players carried themselves on the pitch, shows us that the best of Indian hockey is yet to come.
In this article, we look at Team India's performance at Tokyo Olympics in pictures:
A narrow win against New Zealand to kickstart their campaign
India clashed against New Zealand in their first outing at Tokyo Olympics. They were expected to win their opening encounter, however, the Kiwis gave the Indians a run for their money. In the end, Manpreet Singh's managed to hold on to a 3-2 lead, courtesy of a brace from Harmanpreet who scored two quickfire goals.
A drubbing received at the hands of Australia
Next up for India was a clash against their toughest opponents in the group, Australia. As expected, the Australians emerged victorious, however, the manner in which they won would have discouraged the Indian side. The eventual bronze medalists went down by a score line of 7-1 to Australia, as they conceded four goals in just about 30 minutes.
Three consecutive wins on the trot ensure a second place finish in the group stage
After the drubbing they received at the hands of Australia, the Indian team bounced back in style, defeating Spain by a score line of 3-0 in the very next game. In their fourth game, they outclassed Rio Olympic gold-medalists, Argentina by a score line of 3-1, as Indians scored two goals in the last three minutes of the game. In their final league encounter, the Men in Blue claimed a hard-fought victory over the hosts, Japan, defeating them 5-3.
An impressive quarterfinal victory over Great Britain
The Indian team was given a chance to script history and enter their first Olympic semifinals in 49 years. They grabbed the opportunity with both hands, as they dispatched Great Britain by a score line of 3-1, to enter the medal rounds.
A heartbreaking semifinal loss against Belgium
To enter the final, the Indians had to defeat the reigning world champions, Belgium in the last four encounter. Manpreet's men fought valiantly and also took the lead at one point in the game. Going into the fourth quarter, the score was deadlocked at 2-2. However, the Belgians showed their quality in the last quarter, as they put three past the Indians, as they won by a score line of 5-2.
A spirited comeback against Germany seals the bronze medal
Despite the loss against Belgium, India had one more chance to claim a medal at Tokyo Olympics. They were up against Germany, as the two sides contested for a bronze medal. The Germans quickly raced to a 3-1 lead, as they scored two goals in as many minutes. From there on, it was one of the most incredible comebacks in hockey at Tokyo Olympics, as India managed to score four goals in just 7 minutes. India managed to hold on to a slender 5-4 lead to claim a historic bronze medal in Hockey.