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Champions Trophy Final: Spirited India brace for Australia in epic finale

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:49 IST

The Indian men's hockey team clinched a historic maiden final appearance in the 36th Hero Champions Trophy against formidable Australia after hosts Great Britain held Belgium to a 3-3 draw in the final round robin match in London on 17 June.

This will be India's first appearance in the summit clash since the inception of the blue-riband six-nation tournament back in 1978.

India's only podium finish until now was a bronze medal won way back in 1982 at Amsterdam. In what would be the team's best ever performance in the event, India are assured of at least a silver after making the final.

India would thank Great Britain, who rallied from a two goal deficit to hold Belgium 3-3 in a cliffhanger at the Lee Valley Hockey Centre late last evening. This was after India lost 2-4 to title favourites Australia in their last round robin encounter.

The draw between Great Britain and Belgium meant both sides finished behind India in the round-robin league, paving the way for India to play World champions Australia in the tonight's title encounter.

Australia topped the league standings with 13 points from five games, while India ended on seven points. Great Britain ended on six points and Belgium were left on four points.

Britain will feature in the bronze medal match with dethroned title holders Germany, who outplayed South Korea 7-0. This was Germany's biggest win over the Koreans in international matches. Belgium will take on South Korea in the play-off for the fifth position.

Starting the day's proceedings with a 2-4 loss to top-ranked Australia, the Indian players went through a pensive wait for the result of the last league fixture as both Great Britain and Belgium could have scraped ahead of India.

Britain simply required a victory to go past India on points, while Belgium needed to win by three goals or score at least four in a two-goal victory to finish ahead of India on goal difference.

All three possibilities were within close distance until the last stages, leaving the Indian fans in the stadium on tenterhooks. Even the last British shot at the goal with five seconds left could have taken the hosts into the final, but the ball went a few centimetres wide of the post.

The Indian team had left the ground after their match and followed the developments at the hotel, while the pendulum swung from one side to the other in a dramatic sequence.

Quick details on when, where and how to watch the India vs Australia, Champions Trophy final LIVE:

When: 00:45 AM (Saturday)

Where: Star Sports 2 and Star Sports HD 2 (it can also be streamed on their website)

Earlier in the day, Belgium take on Korea in the 5th-6th place match at 8.15 PM followed by Germany against Great Britain for the bronze medal match at 10.30 PM.

First published: 17 June 2016, 5:54 IST