Raipur: India upset the form book at the Hero Hockey World League Final 2015 with a fine win against Great Britain in the competition quarter-finals in Raipur.
The host nation, who finished fourth in Pool B, claimed a 2-1 victory over the winners of Pool A to book their ticket into the semi-finals, where they will face Belgium who beat Argentina in quarters.
A packed house turned up to watch the home favourites produce their finest performance of the competition to defeat their higher ranked opponents, with penalty corner expert V.R. Raghunath finding the target in the 19th minute before Ramandeep Singh hit the crossbar after the half time break.
Talwinder Singh scored what proved to be the winner in the 39th minute, smashing home from a tight angle after picking up a long overhead pass from Kothajit Khandangbam. Great Britain’s Simon Mantell reduced the deficit with eight minutes remaining, but high quality defending ensured that India held on to move into the final four.
“We started great and scored two good goals”, said scorer Raghunath after the match. “We learned from the mistakes that we made in the Pool matches and we know that we can upset any team in the world on any given day. We will relax, rest and focus on the semi-final match now.”
Great Britain’s Nick Catlin said: “We are incredibly disappointed as I thought we had enough of the game to get a result, particularly in the last quarter when we had them penned in their own territory for pretty much the entire time. We came here with a goal of putting in good performances and winning hockey matches, but we haven’t done that in the most important game.”
Hero Man of the Match: Birendra Lakra (IND)