Antwerp: India made the semi-finals of the Fintro Hockey World League despite the absence of some of the senior players and a clear deficiency in executing penalty corners, but then came a cropper against a far superior Belgian side, which buoyed by its fans outplayed them 4-0.
Indian skipper Sardar Singh (left) and Birendra Lakra. Pic/AFP
India will now need to play much smarter against Great Britain for the bronze medal. Britain lost to World No 1 Australia 1-3. India has played well in patches in most matches and their wins over France and Poland and the draw with Pakistan got them to second place and then they beat Malaysia 3-2 to reach semis.
Rio slot for Britain
Britain, who beat India 2-1 at World Cup last year, are keen to seal the Rio berth right away with a third place, have played fast and good hockey. India will need to careful not to allow them too much possession and guard against giving away soft penalty corners. Early goals could push India back and that has always led to further trouble for them.