India loses the hockey World Cup as hosts

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BHUBANESWAR: India was eliminated from the Hockey World Cup early after losing on penalties to New Zealand 5-4 in a dramatic crossover match on Sunday.

Expected India, led by defender Harmanpreet Singh, needed to win to advance to the quarterfinals of the biggest field hockey tournament. The match ended 3-3 in Bhubaneswar, putting the home fans on edge.

After coming back from a 3-1 deficit to level the game, New Zealand held their nerve when the penalty shootout came down to the wire.

At the Kalinga Stadium, underdog New Zealand, ranked 12th in the world, celebrated with star player Sean Findlay, who scored the goal that led to penalties and then twice converted in the shootout.

India, which was ranked sixth, once ruled men’s field hockey, winning eight Olympic gold medals from 1928 to 1980.

After India won bronze at the Tokyo Olympics and silver at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham last year, the country’s former national sport saw a revival.

The quarterfinals have also been reserved for holders Belgium, England, Spain, and the Netherlands.

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