India to compete in London Olympics after defeating France


New Delhi: Indian hockey team achieved what they set out for. They defeated France in the final of the Olympic qualifiers played at the National Stadium and have secured a berth in the London Olympics. Sandeep scored five goals out of the total eight goals that India scored in the match. Birendra Lakra, VR Raghunath and SV Sunil were the other goal scorers for India.



With the win, India became the 10th side to qualify for the biggest sporting event -- the 2012 London Olympics -- with Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Spain already making the grade.


The match started with the biggest attendance seen so far in the tournament, people waving Indian flags in every corner of the stadium. With girls going down it was up to the boys to deliver what people wanted.


India went into the match without their regular captain Bharat Chetri. PR Sreejesh taking his place at the goal post with Sardar Singh taking the honor of captaining the side in the final.


In the initial minutes of the match, France rarely got the opportunity to touch the ball, India dominated the visiting team with the home crowd behind them and making their presence felt. The biggest roar came in the third minute when India got their first penalty corner and the crowd’s favorite drag-flicker, Sandeep Singh came to take the shot. His shot was stopped by Francois Scheefer who sprinted towards Sandeep and stopped him to score the opening goal of the match.


The visiting side was showing signs of nervousness as they were not able to control the ball and was giving the hosts an opportunity to attack. In the 16th minute India’s second shot on target was stopped by the French goalkeeper. This time it was Manpreet Singh who was denied the goal.


In the following minute India got their first goal and it was the captain, Sardar Singh who took it upon himself to get India its first goal. He gave a superb pass to Manpreet who escorted the ball to Birendra Lakra who back-flicked the ball into the goal-post.


After getting the lead India saw the best of Sandeep Singh, he scored his third hat-trick of the tournament. He converted three consecutive short corners for India. At one time it was looking as though he was toying with the opponent’s goal keeper. All three of his shots were hit by immense power and accuracy.


In between Sandeep’s magical hat-trick France scored their first goal in the 24th minute when Jean-Jean’s pass was converted into a goal by Simon Martin-Brisac with a cute deflection.


India was leading 4-1 in the 38th minute and it was looking that the hosts score will go into double digits. In the 43rd minute Indians repeated what they have done throughout the tournament, this time it was Birendra Lakra who tore through the French defence and gave an easy scoring opportunity to Sunil, and the form Sunil is in he was not going to miss as he scored his sixth goal of the tournament.


That was followed by the ugliest moment of the match when Fabien Magner allowed somehow managed to hit Birendra Lakra, things heated as everyone present in the stadium shouting against the French striker.


India did not let the incident affect their game as they got their 5th PC in the 48th minute giving Sandeep another opportunity to score, he did not disappoint either as he scored India’s 6th and his fourth goal of the match. His fifth goal didn’t take much time either; he got that in the 51st minute.


Another Indian drag-flicker VR Raghunath got his first chance in the 56th minute as Sandeep was not on the field. It was the night that belonged to the Indian drag-flickers as Raghu also found the net with a scorching shot.


India won comprehensively and has deserving taken their place in the London Olympics. 

By Indian Sports News