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Flashback Hockey : When Indian eves choked at the 2006 FIH World Cup

292   //    16 Jul 2018, 21:15 IST

China's Ren Ye (L) fights for the ball w
Flashback Hockey: When Team India 'choked' despite being favourites at FIH World Cup 2006

It had only been 4 years since India had won the legendary gold medal in women's hockey at the Commonwealth Games. Though they couldn't defend the title, the women's hockey team had managed to clinch a deserving silver, losing by just a solitary goal to Australia in the finals.

However, the jinx of the FIH World Cup returned to haunt him, where despite being hot favourites for at least a top-four finish, India choked rather brutally at the 2006 FIH Women's Hockey World Cup, held in Madrid.

Group stages: Spain return in form, USA and Japan pose serious competition:-

Spain's Monserrat Cruz (L) celebrates wi
Flashback Hockey: When Spanish women almost recreated the Barcelona magic of 1992

Ever since China stormed into the semifinals of the 2002 FIH Women's Hockey World Cup and went home with a historic bronze medal, the bar of competition had been raised higher. Though Australia, Netherlands and Argentina continued to book their berths for the semifinals, teams like Spain, USA and Japan gave even the best a run for their money.

One of the most relishing aspects of this edition was the return of Team Spain, who had once won the Olympic gold at Barcelona 1992, bounced back into action, surprising even teams like Germany and England on their route to the semifinals. Even though the United States couldn't make it to the semifinals, they gave other teams a nightmare and lost by small margins to Australia and Argentina.

Team India at the World Cup: Narrow losses spoil the mood:-

Spain's Montserrat Cruz (L) fights for t
Team India at 2006 FIH World Cup: So near, yet so far!

Upbeat after an impressive silver medal from the Melbourne, Team India looked all set to bring back the golden memories of the 1974 edition into this World Cup, having qualified for this edition after a whopping 8 years. However, a narrow loss to the Netherlands in the very opening match changed the equations for once and for all.

The only match where they went unbeaten was a draw salvaged against England. Otherwise, there was no match where India, despite being the better side, choked rather badly. Losing to even teams like China by 0-1, India were relegated to the 9th-12th place classification matches. Like the men's team, the women's team avoided the wooden spoon by eking out the only win against South Africa by 1-0.

Netherlands cruised to a 6th title overall:-

Netherlands' players celebrate after sco
Flashback Hockey:
win their 6th title

On the other hand, Netherlands wasted no time in defeating Argentina by 3-1 and then went to crush the Australians by the same score to win their 6th World Cup overall. Spain, who lost the ticket to the finals by a whisker, were mauled by a resurgent Argentina, who crushed them 5-0 to clinch the bronze medal.

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