Indian hockey plumbed new depths when it's men's team suffered a fifth straight loss in Group B to complete the league engagements without a point here today.
The dismal campaign of Michael Nobbs' men continued as they slumped to a humiliating 0-3 loss to Belgium to finish at the bottom of the pool without a point and a win, an unprecendented happening.
Belgium scored through Jerome Dekeyser (15th minute), Gautier Boccard (47th) and Tom Boon (70th) to shatter India's hopes of salvaging something from the last game. South Africa, who today lost 3-6 to Argentina, finished their five matches in Pool A with one point, leaving India as the only team not to have gained a single point in the men's hockey competition.
India's strikers continued to play an erratic game and muffed chances galore against Belgium, who had beaten India in their last encounter in the final of the Champions Challenge in Johannesburg last year.
After having regained its berth in the hockey competition at the Games, an arena it had dominated in the distant past and won 8 gold medals -- including six on the trot -- the team had failed to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Games.
This time around the team managed to win the Olympic qualifiers in Delhi and was feted like champions only to see their dream turning out into a nightmare here.
India's bottom finish in Pool B was a foregone conclusion irrespective of the result of this match as all other teams has earned four or more points in the previous games, but this loss was the first time India had failed to gain even one point. India will now meet South Africa in the play-off for the 11th and 12th positions, slumping below their lowest previous Olympic finish of eighth in Atlanta in 1996.
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