Hockey World Cup 2018: India vs Canada - 3 reasons why India won the match
South Africa's stunning opening-minute goal against the Red Lions and Belgium's inability to find the back of the net for the sixth time meant that the Indians needed an outright win over Canada without having to worry about the margin of victory to top the pool and earn a direct ticket to the quarterfinals of the Hockey World Cup.
Yet, there was a job to be done against a side whom the Indians have struggled with in recent times, and it was imperative that every member of the team did his bit amidst the deafening roars that emanated from the stands of the Kalinga Stadium.
Rarely has one witnessed a similar atmosphere for a hockey match and both teams had to hold their nerve as every touch of the ball by the Indians was acknowledged with the kind of cheers that usually follow a spectacular goalbound effort.
Ahead of the all-important quarterfinals on Thursday, we take a look at the key factors that influenced the final outcome of the match, and the reasons why this Indian unit is outperforming the opposition and playing the kind of hockey which their predecessors never quite managed to do.
#3 Ability to regain the momentum when it matters the most
For the second time in the competition, the Indians failed to follow up the good work of the first quarter in the second and failed to find the back of the net in the third. Harmanpreet's opening goal in the 12th minute which gave India the lead was cancelled out by Floris van Son in the 39th minute.
Canada's equalizer silenced the Odisha crowd much like Loick Luypaert's opening goal did in the match against Belgium.
While it is not a simple task to play each quarter with the same level of consistency and intensity against a quality side who also approach every period of the match differently, getting back into the contest when the chips are down is the hallmark of a champion side.
Manpreet and co. came out and played the final quarter as if their lives depended on it and it was Canada's turn to be stunned by the sudden tenacity of the Indian attack.
The usually staid Chinglensana resembled a man possessed as he fired in the second goal which opened the floodgates for the Indians.
The hosts not only regained the initiative but delivered the knockout punch with aplomb as Lalit Upadhyay and Amit Rohidas added their names to the scoresheet and ensured that there would be no last-minute hiccups.