India enter historic first-ever Champions trophy final

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India enter historic first-ever Champions trophy final

The Indian men had to wait out a see-saw match yesterday between Great Britain and Belgium before sealing a maiden Champions trophy final appearance. Earlier, India had lost to Australia leaving their fate open, but they will now have a chance to exact unlikely revenge against them in the final.

The team, under coach Roelant Oltmans, became the first Indian team to make an entry into the Champions trophy in its 38-year-old history.

India had a first shot at entering the final with a face-off against World champions Australia, but predictably they lost 2-4. The loss left the door open for the opponents from the other match, Great Britain and Belgium, with a chance to enter the final – Great Britain needed a win, while Belgium needed to win with a three-goal margin to enter the final, giving hosts Great Britain the likely chance.

But it was Belgium, who seemed to be on their way as they were up by two goals and appeared well on the way to a third. But a mindless display in the final quarter gave England two goals and a sniff at the final in the last minute with the game at 3-3. Belgium, however, held on and paved the way for India to its maiden final, but not before all the see-saw drama.

India will take on Australia today in the final.

The Men in Blue have infused a new sense of optimism heading into the Rio Olympics with the final appearance here, which comes on the back of their performance in the FIH Hockey World League Final and the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. However, they can hope to overcome the well-placed skepticism of experts like ex-Indian player Viren Rasquinha, only if they manage to hold their own consistently – a win against Australia should go a long way in that direction.

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