Just a day after their 7-1 win over Pakistan, India were completely outplayed by Netherlands and beaten 3-1 in the Hockey World League semi-final group stage. Netherlands took a lead within the first minutes through Thierry Brinkman. Subsequent goals from Neth and Pruijser gave them a 3-0 lead in the first half. Akashdeep was the lone goalscorer for India.
The first half was all about India trying to deal with the waves of Dutch attacks coming their way. They couldn’t do much about as was evident from the 3-0 scoreline that was flashing on the screen by the end of the half. India, for their part, were sloppy whenever they had possession. Netherlands never gave them a moments rest and intercepted their passes regularly.
At the end of the first half, Akashdeep Singh received the ball inside the D and took a shot on the turn. It crashed into the chest of the Dutch keeper. But he received the ball again only seconds later. He was cramped for space but somehow chucked the ball in. It was a moment of magic from Akashdeep and India went back to the dugout after the hooter blew seemingly back into the match.
But Netherlands, almost cruelly kept India out in the second half. They made lesser chances and hogged possession. They took advantage of India’s general sloppiness and intercepted passes in those rare moments when India had the ball. There were a few chances for India and those were always seen off by the Dutch defence.
The loss doesn’t really have dire consequences. India are still through to the quarter-finals. They were leading the group table before the match and now are second to Netherlands. It will have a bearing on who they face in the quarters.