2022 Asia Cup: India overcome Japan 1-0 to claim bronze
India men's hockey team bested Japan 1-0 to claim bronze at the 2022 Asia Cup in Jakarta, Indonesia on Wednesday. Malaysia, South Korea, and India pocketed five points each in the second round. However, India fell short owing to the goal difference (+1). Indian captain Birendra Lakra was adjudged as the Player of the Match for his defensive prowess. Here are more details.
India, who were seated in Pool A, drew 1-1 against Pakistan in their opening fixture. They succumbed to a 5-2 defeat to Japan next. The young Indian contingent then bounced back with a 16-0 win over hosts Indonesia. They finished at the second spot in the preliminary round, with four points and a goal difference of +13.
India looked commanding in the rematch against Japan, besting them by 2-1 and were held to a 3-3 draw against Malaysia, besides another 4-4 draw versus South Korea. Later, they downed Japan 1-0 for a third-place finish. India finished third in the second round ahead of Japan. They collected five points from three games.
Defender Dipsan Tirkey finished as the top scorer for India in the 2022 Asia Cup (five goals). Forward Pawan Rajbhar netted four goals. The likes of Nilam Sanjeep Xess (defender), Abharan Sudev (forward), SV Sunil (forward), and Selvam Karthi (forward) scored two goals each.
The Indian men's Hockey team ended a 41-year-old Olympic medal drought by grabbing a bronze at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. They battered four-time winners Germany 5-4 to pocket their first medal since the 1980 Moscow Olympics. They finished third in the 2021 Men's Asian Champions Trophy, beating Pakistan 4-3 to snatch the bronze medal. They have beaten Japan for a bronze medal now.
The Indian men's hockey team won the Asia Cup in 2003, 2007, and 2017. They have finished second on five occasions - 1982, 1985, 1989, 1994, and 2013. They have won the bronze medal twice in 1999 and 2022. India have won the joint-most Asia Cup trophies (3 alongside Pakistan).
India are seated atop the Men's FIH Pro League standings for 2021-22. Overall, they have won nine matches and lost three duels (including a shoot-out win and loss each). India have collected 27 points so far, scoring 54 goals and conceding 30. The third edition of the tournament commenced in October 2021 and will conclude on June 26.
The Indian men's hockey team's recent performances have lost them a spot in the FIH World Rankings. Netherlands (2465.707) replaced India (2366.990) to be seated third. Meanwhile, Australia (2842.258) are at the top of the heap, with Belgium (2764.735) and Germany (2308.156) following suit.