Rio de Janeiro (8 August, 2016): Christopher Ruhr is a name Indian hockey fans will never forget in the 2016 Rio Olympics following the 1-2 defeat on Monday against defending champions Germany at the Olympic Hockey Centre in Deodoro Park.
With just 3.1 seconds remaining before the end of the match, India’s men’s team conceded a goal which gave the Germans the much needed victory in this Group B tournament. The defeat has slowed down India’s progress, albeit a little, towards the quarterfinals stage.
Roelant Oltmans’ India will now need to go firing on all cylinders against Argentina in the next match to stay in the hunt for a place in the next round.
After weathering India’s attacking onslaught for the majority of the game, the Germans exerted tremendous pressure on the Indian defence in the final two minutes. It’s been a perennial problem in Indian hockey in letting in late goals which continues to haunt them.
Niklas Wellen had earlier given the 2008 and 2014 Olympic gold medallist the lead in the 17th minute against the run of play when he out manoeuvred goalkeeper SP Sreejesh with a forehand strike after being fed by Linus Butt.
But Rupinder Pal Singh cut off the German celebration with a 22nd minute penalty corner conversion before Ruhr stepped up and served the final blow three seconds remaining with a deflection from close range to dash India and goalkeeper Sreejesh hopes after making a brilliant start in the Olympic with a 3-2 win over Ireland in the opening match.
The win helped Germany keep their successful run intact against India since 1996. India last defeated Germany in Olympics way back in the Atlanta Games when they secured a 3-0 victory.
Germany, aiming for their third successive Olympics gold medal, lead Group B table standings with six points followed by Netherlands and Argentina (4 points) with India down fourth (3) while Canada and Ireland are without points.
In Group A, Belgium and Spain sit on top with six points followed by World Champions Australia with three points. New Zealand and Great Britain moved to fourth and fifth positions (1 point) respectively with hosts Brazil sitting comfortably at the basement with no points to show.
Argentina also upped the ante in Group B with a 3-1 victory over Canada after playing to a 3-3 draw against the Netherlands in the Rio Olympics opening match on August 66.
In the women’s hockey event, Asian teams China, Japan, Korea and India went into action on Monday. Except for World No 6 China who scrapped through with a 2-0 win over Spain, the Indians, Koreans and Japanese tried their very best to emulate the success of their Chinese neighbours at the Olympic Hockey Centre in Deodoro Park.
Zhao Yudia gave put China ahead with a seventh minute goal and Peng Yang was on target in the 24th minute for their first win in the tournament following a 1-1 draw against Germany on Sunday.
The Indian women hockey team fell short against Great Britain as they lost the Group B match 0-3. India conceded two quick goals in the second quarter, after holding the higher-ranked Great Britain 0-0 in the first quarter, which took the game away from them. And they conceded a third goal early in the third quarter.
India women now have a 2-2 draw against Japan to show and a loss to Great Britain after two matches in their historic Olympic appearance in 36 years. India faces Australia in their next match on Wednesday.
South Korean women could not piece their act together in the face of mounting pressure from defending champions Netherlands, losing 4-0 with Kelly Jonker carving her name with a hat-trick. It was the Korea’s second defeat in Group A after going down by same margin against New Zealand.
Sakura Japan also failed to continue where they left off in the 2-2 draw against India, losing 0-4 to Argentina with Maria Barrionuevo scoring a brace (12th and 17th). Carla Rebecchi (47th) and Maria Granatto (49th) putting the finishing touches.
In other matches, the United States defeated world champions Australia 2-1 and Germany beat New Zealand 2-1.
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