India men’s hockey team’s dream run for the gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics came to a halt as World No. 2 Belgium defeated the Manpreet Singh-led side 5-2 in Tokyo on Tuesday. India will now the loser between Australia and Germany in the second final in the bronze medal match.
Alexander Hendricx turned out to be the star of the match as the drag-flick specialist scored a hat-trick to give Belgium the win despite India taking a 2-1 lead earlier.
Belgium took an early lead as Luick Luypaert struck from an early penalty corner. India, however, came back as Harmanpreet Singh equalised on a penalty corner, followed by Mandeep Singh’s strike in the eighth minute. Hendrickx then scored an equaliser as the second quarter ended at 2-2.
The winning goal came fourth minute into the last quarter when after three consecutive penalty corners, Hendrickx found the back of the net. Few minutes later Hendrickx scored from the penalty spot to seal India’s fate.
Arthur Van Doren then piled on India’s misery by scoring the fifth goal in the closing minute to make it 5-2.
Belgium entered the semifinals as favourites, having topped in their group standings with four wins and a draw. India had finished second in Pool A behind Australia.
Earlier on Sunday, the Manpreet Singh-led side had achieved the semifinal slot by beating Great Britain 3-1 in the quarterfinals.
Indian hockey team has a rich history in the Games with 11 Olympic medals but it last clinched gold way back 1980 Moscow Games. Overall, India won seven Olympic gold medals between 1928 and 1964, losing only in the 1960 final to claim silver.