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India reaches Hockey Champions Trophy semi-final after 30 years
Hockey Champions Trophy, considered one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world has seen the present Indian team rise to challenge for the 2012 title, as it is all set to face the Aussie team to reach the finals of the championship.

INDIA HAS made tremendous progress in the ongoing Hockey Champions Trophy by defeating Belgium in State Hockey Centre, Australia, 1-0. Earlier, India had won a bronze medal during the 1982 Champions Trophy.

Although it was not a convincing win, but nevertheless result matters and India will now meet Australia in the semi-finals of the championship. The Belgium team was unlucky on several counts, as they could not find the back of the net, even after reaching close on many counts. But, one also has to praise the Indian defenders, V R Raghunath and Rupinder Pal Singh, who played an important role by not allowing the Belgium attackers to score a goal. Had it not been for Nitin Thimmaiah's 13th minute strike, the Indians could have found it tough to score with Belgium pressing on a consistent basis with more possession.

Indians needs to up their game, when they face Australians, who have a very impressive record in this tournament. A win here would be Australia's fifth straight Champions Trophy. India may only have lost one match against Germany in the group fixtures, but their biggest test lies against Australia in the semi-finals scheduled for 8 December 2012. The Australian team also holds a similar record in their group fixtures with one loss and two wins.

Many feel that Indian Hockey has seen a great dip in recent times, as they have failed to win major tournaments, but this performance in the Champions Trophy against top teams of the world is only going to help the sport grow, which is very important. If India manages to win the Champions Trophy, who knows – it may well revive Indian Hockey and help in attaining greater heights, which the teams of the past were acquainted to.

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Vibhav Kant Upadhyay
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