On this day: India retains hockey bronze in Munich Olympics

With just a minute left for the final whistle, Mukhbain converted a short corner as India retained its bronze title by defeating Holland 2-1 in 1972 Munich Olympics.

England's Keith Sinclair falls during a tackle with Harbinder Singh in India's preliminary Group B match of 1972 Munich Olympics.   -  The Hindu Archives

India retained its bronze title by defeating Holland by 2-1. The match winner was scored by Mukhbain who converted a short corner with just a minute left for the final whistle.

India's forward line-up showed a change. Kulwant had been dropped and Govinda from outside left played at centra and Harcharan Singh got his well deserved chance to play at the left wing. Harbinder was retained. He made several beautiful moves but continued to lose possession of the ball when fiercely tackled and was slow too. But it should be said that this was his best match.

Charles, who had replaced Manuel at the goal in the seccnd session of India's match against Pakistan two days ago, continued in his position. Holland obtained a short corner award, the justification of which all did not see eye to eye. Ajitpal's clearance when a Dutch forward tackled him did not look dangerous at all. The short corner was saved at the expense of a long corner which, however, obtained Holland its first goal. Kruize scored with a good drive.

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India was not demoralised at all. Ashok Kumar's progress was being checked time and again with neat interceptions by Dutch defenders but he managed to meet a pass from Harbinder after the latter had beautifully worked his way up and unleashed a shot which was saved by the Dutch goalkeeper. Govinda picked a pass from the midfleld and by sheer speed got past two defenders and after drawing the goalkeeper out of his charge pushed the ball into the net.

Harbinder continued to delight with his artistry and he nearly scored again only to find goalkeeper coming out of the charge and tackling him out. Govinda appeared to be going through for a clear goal when the half-time whistle went.

After resumption Holland forced a long corner. Plet Weemers feigned to meet the ball but ran over it and allowed Frans Spits to take aim. This tactics nearly paid. Spits' shot missed the post by inches after the entire Indian defence had been beaten. This nettled the Indian attack. A series of moves bore promise, but the efforts went awry in the end. More short comers followed without any result. The match was heading for extra-time, but Mukhbain's goal sealed the fate of Holland, for almost after the bully off came the final whistle.

The final standings of hockey tournament:

1. West Germany, 2. Pakistan, 3. India, 4. HoUand, 5. Australia, 6. Britain, 7. Spain, 8. Malaysia, 9. New Zealand. 10. Belgium, 11. Poland, 12. France, IS. Kenya, 14. Argentina, 15. Uganda and 16. Mexico.

Top scorers: (1) Thies Kruize (Holland) 18; (2) Michael Kraus (West Garmany) 10; (S) Mukhbain Singh (India) 9; (4) Ronald Riley (Australia); (5) Gregg Dayman (N. Zealand) 7; (6) Abdur Rashid (Pakistan), Barry Maister (N. Zealand) and Erryk Grotowsky (Polarid) 6 each.


(This article was first published in The Hindu on Sept. 10, 1972)

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