Champions Trophy: India lose to Germany but finish top of pool
India finished top of Pool A despite going down 3-2 in their pool game to Olympic champions Germany at the Champions Trophy in Melbourne on Tuesday.
India, who lost to Germany in their clash today, will now face win-less Belgium, who finished fourth in Pool B, in a quarter-final on Thursday.
Elsewhere, England blew their chance to finish on top of Pool A after being held to a 1-1 draw against New Zealand, while the Netherlands had a scare against Belgium, but hung on to win 5-4.
A win will put India into the semi-finals and a chance for their first Champions Trophy medal since their bronze at Amstelveen in 1982.
Striker S.K. Uthappa said his team still took confidence going forward despite the loss to the Germans.
"Team morale is very high because we knew that it wouldn't be an easy game to play against the Olympic gold medallists, so we were prepared for a good fight and that's what happened," he said.
"It was most important that we finished on top and that is what we did."
German captain Moritz Fuerste said his team would reassess now they were at the quarter-final stage.
"The first three games weren't that important, but we are definitely happy to avoid Australia or Holland," Fuerste said.
Germany have to await the outcome of the match between Australia and Pakistan later on Tuesday to see who their quarter-final opponents.
India made the best possible start with Gurwinder Chandi finding space in the circle to deliver a powerful shot for the opening goal.
Germany worked themselves back in the game minutes later, with Oliver Korn following up his first shot which hit the post to fire home the rebound and level the game.
The match continued at a frantic pace, with India producing several shots on goal which were all stopped by German goalkeeper Nicolas Jacobi.
India continued on with their form after half-time, with a deflection from Nithin Thimmaiah from a penalty corner retrieving the lead.
India continued to play attacking hockey in search for another goal, however the disciplined German defence held firm.
This eventually paid dividends with a lapse in concentration from India allowing Germany back in the game.
Tobias Matania levelled with 13 minutes remaining and scored again two minutes later to seal the win.
The Netherlands improved their claims of finishing on top of Pool B despite a close call against Belgium 5-4.
While they came away with the win, they were pushed by the Belgians, who fought back from a 3-0 half-time deficit.
Dutch captain Klaas Vermeulen said despite the close call they would take the positives heading into the quarter-finals.
"The tournament is starting now (with the quarter finals). We have to forget the second half and remember the first and stay focused," he said.
Earlier, England let slip a chance to finish on top of Pool A when they were held to a 1-1 draw with New Zealand.
They scored the first goal of the game through Mark Gleghorne, however the Kiwis controlled the second half with veteran Phillip Burrows levelling the score.
New Zealand will next play whoever finishes on top of pool B in the quarter-finals, with captain Dean Cousins saying his team has more scope for improvement.
"We are pleased (today), but need to keep getting better as it is going to get tougher as we go on (throughout the tournament)," he said.