Mumbai: The Germans were hit by Storm India in Japan and the celebrations started for the billions of people back home. The India vs Germany hockey contest, as usual, was fierce, with nine goals being scored in the 60-minute ordeal.
“Words cannot describe the way our boys went about their task,” former Indian skipper Dhanraj Pillay told FPJ. “It is about the feeling, and I am sure every Indian feels the same about our boys,” Pillay, who has represented the country in four Olympics, said. “Manpreet and his boys, including the support staff, have done what I and my teammates could not. Hats off to them,” Pillay said.
“I am sure hockey will find a special place in our country and I should thank the team, the support staff, and everyone who has made this happen,” said Dhanraj, who led the team to victory at the Asian Games in 1998. “I always had the regret that I could not win an Olympic medal. I used to wonder whether I would be able to see India at the Olympic podium again in hockey. Now with this historic win, I have no regrets,” he said.
An all-time great, Pillay said that any team goes to the Olympics to win a medal and that “your morale is broken when you end up playing classification matches”.
Former international MM Somaya agreed with Pillay. “It is amazing and I am sure it is the hard work by the boys and the support staff,” said Somaya, a member of the gold-winning team at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. “The boys are an example of a never-give-up attitude despite defeats. They went from low to high and their resilience has proved that anybody emerges victorious if one puts one's mind to the task and the best. Coming back from 1-3 down to win the match and that too against a side like the Germans is remarkable,” said Somaya.
Refusing to compare the 1980 side with the current one, Somaya said, “I cannot (compare) as it was a different format. Many countries had boycotted the Games then, and we did not have the Germans.”
Former India captain Joaquim Carvalho recalled the game against Germans at the Champions final. “We were leading 5-4 and we conceded a penalty, and on Thursday, it was a repeat of that. But Sreejesh and the defence held their nerves,” he said
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