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'Major Heartbreak' for India as Men's Field Hockey Team Loses to Belgium in Tokyo

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Hockey - Men - Semifinal - India v Belgium - Oi Hockey Stadium, Tokyo, Japan - August 3, 2021. Rupinder Pal Singh of India reacts after losing their match.

Earlier, India's men's field hockey team made history at the Tokyo Olympics, progressing through to the semifinals of the Games for the first time in 41 years. However, they were no match to Belgium's power and pedigree as the Manpreet Singh Sandhu-led side lost to the second-ranked team in the world on Tuesday.

Indian fans suffered a major heartbreak after the world champions Belgium handed the country's national men's field hockey team a 5-2 thrashing at Tokyo's Oi Hockey Stadium.

Even though the match remained on a knife edge, with both teams tied at 2-2 at the conclusion of the third quarter, India's inability to grab their chances, missing out on a series of penalty corners, especially in the fourth quarter cost them dearly.

Skipper Manpreet and his boys were completely outplayed in the final 10 minutes of the clash, with Belgian defender Alexander Hendricx proving to be India's ultimate nemesis in the contest.

Hendricx perplexed the Indians with his all-out assault, scoring a hat-trick of goals to make all the difference in the encounter.

Former Indian hockey player Armaan Qureshi, however, called India's performance against Belgium as a "meek display".

"After their brilliant show against defending champions Great Britain, who would have thought India would surrender so easily to Belgium?" Qureshi told Sputnik on Tuesday morning just after the match.

"India was very much in the contest till the third quarter, but in the fourth their defence collapsed completely. The Indians were unable to deal with Belgium's relentless attacks, caving in the final minutes to lose out on a spot in the final," he added.

The Indian team, though, still has a chance at redemption as they will face either Australia or Germany in the bronze medal match later in the day.

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