Despite losing to Germany 2-3, India stay atop group

The Netherlands held on after leading 3-0 at halftime to beat Belgium 5-4, edging four-time defending champion Australia for top place in Pool B in Champions Trophy field hockey on Tuesday.

The Olympic silver medalists clung to first place in the four-team pool when Australia were able to beat Pakistan only 1-0 in the final match of the group stage. Both teams finished with two wins and a draw and with a plus-three goal differential but the Netherlands topped the pool by scoring more goals than Australia.

India finished at the top of Pool A, despite losing 3-2 to Olympic champion Germany. The Pool A leaders also finished level on points but India had a plus-one differential to Germany's minus-one. The final standings after the pool round-robin mean the Netherlands will face New Zealand and Australia will play England in Thursday's quarterfinals. England and New Zealand drew 1-1 on Tuesday, finishing third and fourth respectively in their group.

India will play Belgium and Germany will meet Pakistan in the other quarterfinal after Pakistan finished third and Belgium last in Pool B. Against Germany, India drew first blood in the sixth minute when Gurwinder Singh Chandi picked up a through ball from Rupinder Pal Singh on top of the 'D' and sent a rasping shot past German custodian Nicolas Jacobi.

Germany equalised in the 14th minute through Oliver Korn, who capitalised on the shaky Indian defence on his second attempt after the first shy had rebounded off the right post.India went ahead again in the 46th minute as Nitin Thimmiah deflected in Birendra Lakra's shot into the net following their first penalty corner. Lakra had picked up a rebound after V R Raghunath's drag-flick was blocked by the German goalkeeper.

India dominated the second half for long periods, but their strikers failed to breach the German defence. India's advantage was negated by two goals in successive minutes from Tobias Matania.

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