India on Tuesday morning lost the men's hockey semi-finals of Tokyo Olympics 2020. Their hope for a medal however remains, with the Manpreet Singh-led team set to compete for the bronze. Belgium defeated India 5-2, with Alexander Hendrickx scoring a hattrick. India will now lock horns in the bronze medal match on Thursday with the loser of the game between Australia and Germany.
While India began the match at the Oi Hockey Stadium on a strong note, they appeared to lose the tempo slightly in the last quarter. With Harmanpreet Singh and Mandeep Singh scoring goals in quick succession, and as a result, India gained a 2-1 lead in the first quarter. While the score was equalised in the second quarter, it was only in the last 15 minutes of the game that the score changed in Belgium's favour. In the end, Belgium managed to hang on and the side registered a victory, progressing ahead to the finals, their second successive final appearance.
But while the news has disappointed many, netizens rallied behind the team reiterating that they were proud of their accomplishment. As some online put it, the 2020 Olympic teams had once again brought Indian hockey onto the map.
"Wins and losses are a part of life. Our Men’s Hockey Team at Tokyo 2020 gave their best and that is what counts. Wishing the Team the very best for the next match and their future endeavours. India is proud of our players," tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"Let's go for bronze. We are still proud of what our boy's have achieved," urged one Twitter user.
"Respect for both the teams. India played well and tried best against an experienced Belgium team. It wasnt easy but India played their best," summed up another post.
Others appeared to be furious at the referee, alleging both bias and incompetence. "A slight change. India loses to the combined effort of the Belgium team and the referee," read one irate post.
"India is fighting again both Belgium and Referee. India should strongly raise this with Olympics. The referee is clearly biased," alleged another.
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