Before they entered the field for their bronze medal match against India, Germany had to pull out two players due to illness. The injury/illness list of Germany team after that grew to seven players. They were left with just 11 players to play with which included their reserve goalkeeper Mark Appel. The 11 players played throughout the 60 minutes in the bronze medal game of the Hockey World League Final 2017 and almost pulled off a stunning win against India. But, the depleted Germany team’s heroism was not enough as India somehow managed to hold on to a 2-1 win in the match and retain the bronze medal which they had won at the previous edition of this tournament two years ago in Raipur.
Germany’s performance in the match frustrated an off-colour India as the visitors created more chances, had more shots on the goal and also had more penalty corners than India. But Germany could not convert even one of their seven penalty corners while India scored through their fourth and final PC.
India may have won the game but the pace and script of the game was controlled by Germany. They kept India at the bay for 21 minutes and also scored a goal in the 37th minute. There was no lack of proper hockey from Germany despite missing some of their main players.
India and Germany were in a deadlock for the first 20 minutes of the game but it was the latter team which had secured more chances including a PC in the 14th minute. India were never in a clear goal scoring chance throughout the first quarter. In the second quarter, Germany received two back-to-back PCs in the 19th minute but India goalkeeper Suraj Karkera saved both of them.
A minute later, India counter attacked and a Harmanpreet Singh pass split the defence. Akashdeep Singh received the ball inside the German circle and tried a reverse shot which was saved by Germany goalkeeper Tobias Hauke. But the rebound went straight to SV Sunil and slotted in the first goal in the 20th minute.
Germany tried their best to score but the Indian defence managed to keep them away. India went to half-time with the 1-0 lead and came back stronger in the second half. Akashdeep was close to scoring but his shot was saved by Hauke. And three minutes later, Germany stunned India when their resever goalkeeper Appel scored in the 37th minute. He, unmarked, received a Mark Grambusch pass inside the Indian circle and easily tapped it in. They kept the lead of the next 17 minutes.
India were awarded three back-to-back penalty corners in the final the 54th minute and Harmanpreet made no mistake in slotting home the final one. It was low grounded flick which went past the goalkeeper. Germany tried their best in the dying moments and even got a PC but could not stop India from holding on and winning the bronze medal.