India was overpowered 3-2 by a strong Dutch side which never gave away control of the ball as easily as the Indians and totally dominated the midfield. India started without their ace drag-flicker and Sandeep Singh‘s absence was missed as early as in the starting 7 minutes of the game as VR Raghunath wasn’t able to make the most of the early Penalty Corner advantage.
The Dutch played the waiting game in the first 20 minutes of the game as India missed a couple of half-chances in that duration. Indian skipper Bharat Chetri made a few brilliant saves to deny the strong Dutch challenge but it didn’t bode well for the defense which was giving away advantage to the Netherlands forwards too easily. The advantage was finally driven home in the 19th minute by Robert van der Horst whose powerful strike could only be deflected into the goal by the keeper who failed to find any protection in front of him. Soon Roderick Weusthof made the lead double in the 28th minute with another strike and India looked completely out of frame in the match.
The second half saw a much improved performance from the defense who desperately cleared the Dutch threat from their half. Then Dharamvir Singh managed to find a deflected shot off the goalpost and struck in the deflection into the open goal in the 44th minute. But the sensational goal was definitely the second one 3 minutes later. Gurvinder Singh Chandi displayed superb control of the ball against the Dutch defenders and passed it to the waiting Shivnendra Singh in front of the goal, who coolly slotted the ball in. It was game on from then. India finally looked in control but conceded a Penalty Corner in the 50th minute where Mink van de Weerden struck with such power and precision that there was nothing to stop the ball from hitting the back of the goal.
India tried a few desperate efforts but SV Sunil, who was totally off colour, missed many chances ahead when he failed to control the ball at crucial moments. In the last minute, a penalty corner looked possible for India with just around 40 seconds left in the game but video replays found it to be struck at more than 16 yards, hence denying India a last shot at equalising.
Netherlands - Robert van der Horst(19th); Roderick Weusthof(28th); Mink van de Weerden(50th)
India – Dharamvir Singh(44th); Gurvinder Singh Chandi(47th)