Guwahati: The Indian men’s hockey team’s dream of an Olympic gold after 41 years remained unfulfilled as it lost 2-5 to world champions Belgium in the last-four stage but the side is still in the hunt for a bronze in the Tokyo Games here on Tuesday.
Alexander Hendrickx (19th, 49th, 53rd minutes), the tournament’s highest goal-getter, scored a hat-trick while Loick Luypaert (2nd minute) and John-John Dohmen (60th) also struck to hand the reigning silver-medallists their second successive entry into the final of the Olympics.
India’s goals came from the sticks of Harmanpreet Singh (7th) and Mandeep Singh (8th).
India’s last appearance in the final of the Olympics came way back in the 1980 Moscow Games, where they went on to win their last of the eight gold medals. The Indians had only themselves to blame for Tuesday’s disappointment as Belgium’s all four goals came from penalty corners. The Indian defence was put under relentless pressure by the Belgians as they secured as many as 14 penalty corners out of which they converted four.