Indian men’s hockey team climb to No. 4 in world rankings

Rourkela: The Indian men’s hockey team jumped two places to fourth in the latest FIH rankings on the back of its rare back-back-wins against world champions Germany and Australia in the Pro League matches in Rourkela.

Significantly, India moved ahead of hockey powerhouse Australia, who dropped one place to fifth.

Germany, who were on top spot after winning World Cup title in Odisha in January, also slipped two places to third spot after losing back-to-back matches to India.

India won all their four matches — two each against Germany and Australia — in their FIH Pro League matches played at the Birsa Munda Stadium, the world’s largest all-seater venue.

This is less than two months after India made a shocking last 16 exit in the World Cup held here and in Bhubaneswar in January.

India won both the double-legged matches against Germany 3-2 and 6-3 while they beat Australia 5-4 and 4-3 in penalty shootout (after 2-2 in regulation time) in the first and second games.

Not only the all-win performance took India to the top of the FIH Pro League points table, the side led by Harmanpreet Singh jumped two places from earlier sixth to fourth in the latest FIH rankings.

The Netherlands, who won bronze in the World Cup, are at the top spot while runners-up Belgium occupy the second place in the latest rankings.

India played four matches at the venue in the World Cup — two in group stage and two in the classification stage — and won thrice and drawn once. India beat Spain 2-0 in the first group match and played out a 0-0 draw against England in the second.


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