FIH Hockey World League Final 2017: Why Germany got a louder cheer than bronze medallists India in Bhubaneswar
What’s the story?
India won their second successive bronze medal at the FIH Hockey World League Finals, after defeating Germany 2-1 in the Bronze Medal playoff of the tournament. However, it was the Germans who won the hears of the crowd at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
The away side had played their hearts out, after being depleted by injuries. In fact, Mark Appel, who was named in their squad as their goalkeeper, had to play as a forward, in order complete the 11-man lineup for the match.
In case you didn’t know…
India have turned out a great performance in the Hockey World League Finals, defeating the likes of Belgium and Germany. However, out of the six matches, the ones against Germany and Belgium were the only two games that they could win, while drawing one against Australia. Meanwhile, they lost out to England, Germany (in the group stage) and Argentina (semi-final).
Heart of the matter
Germany faced a great problem ahead of the match, with seven players in their 18-man squad being injured. Ahead of the game, the Germans were even asked by the match officials, that they can forfeit the bronze, if they wanted.
With just 11 fit players left to work with, they had no option other than fielding all those who were fit – and that meant that they had to field Mark Appel as the striker.
India were the dominant force in the match, but Germany fought hard, and even managed to keep the majority of the possession of the ball. While India did take the lead through SV Sunil in Q2, Germany, against all the odds, came back to equalize. Incredibly, the equaliser was scored by goalkeeper goalkeeper Mark Appel.
“Everyone is extremely proud of the boys. It was a very difficult match. Appel did a really good job to score that goal,” said Germany captain Mats Grambusch. “Looking forward to next year, hopefully with more players.”
Even the Indian players appreciated the effort that the Germans put in during the match, as Rupinder Pal Singh was seen giving Grambusch a big hug after the game.
While the teams got a good run out in the HWL Finals, the main competition that they will be targeting is the World Cup next year, which is also set to take place in Bhubaneswar.
It was heartwarming indeed to see such sportsman spirit by the German team. They may have been heavily depleted, but they somehow managed to field a team, and even took the fight to India till the very end.