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India takes Great Leap Forward in men's hockey; wins medal after 41 years

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Indian men's hockey team has won a medal at Tokyo Olympics for the first time in 41 years, defeating Germany 5-4

India takes Great Leap Forward in men's hockey; wins medal after 41 years
The Indian men's hockey team won the bronze medal at Tokyo Olympics after defeating Rio Games bronze-winner Germany by 5-4 in the third-fourth place play-off match on Thursday. Indian men's hockey team rewrote history as it secured an Olympic medal after 41 years.
India's last of the eight Olympic golds came way back in the 1980 Moscow Games.
Simranjeet Singh (17th, 34th minutes) scored a brace, while Hardik Singh (27th), Harmanpreet Singh (29th) and Rupinder Pal Singh (31st) were the other goal-getters for India. Germany's goals were scored by Timur Oruz (2nd), Niklas Wellen (24th), Benedikt Furk (25th) and Lukas Windfeder (48th).
The clash between India and Germany would be a repeat of the bronze medal clash of the 2017 Hockey World League Finals. Back then, the Indians triumphed 2-1 against a vastly depleted German team. Having failed to secure the gold medal after two successive yellow metals in the 2008 and 2012 Games, the Germans had to settle for a bronze in Rio 2016 and they would be determined to at least return with a podium finish from here.
Germany is the most successful hockey nation in the Olympics after India with four gold medals. Striker Lukas Wendfeder is in great form, having scored six goals in the tournament so far.
In the Olympics, both sides have faced each other 11 times recording four wins each and three matches ending in draws. Recently, India toured Germany in March this year during which they defeated the hosts 6-1 and drew a match 1-1. India captain Manpreet Singh has already said that he is in no mood to dwell on the semifinal result.
Determined to clinch a medal, the Indians made one of the most memorable comebacks in the history of the game, fighting back from a two-goal deficit to turn the match in their favour. There were tears and hugs on the field as the Indians led by Manpreet Singh and coached by Australian Graham Reid savoured the historic moment.
It is India's third hockey bronze medal in the history of the Olympics. The other two came in 1968 Mexico City and the 1972 Munich Games.
In the men's hockey final, Australia will face Belgium later on Thursday.
With inputs from PTI