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Hyped-up Indians shown their place Mohammad Saqlain of Pakistan up fights for the ball with Indias Gagan Ajit Singh during the match for the third place at the Champions Trophy in Amstelveen -- AFP photo The 25th Champions Trophy proved if proof was indeed needed that Indian hockey has a long way to go before it can hope for a podium place in a big international competition This is not the first time that Indian hockey raised such high expectations The only difference in 1992 and 1996 and now is that there were no TV channels to blow the slightest Indian triumph out of proportion In 1992 just before Barcelona Olympics India went on a five-nation European tour and won 14 matches drew one and lost one The visitors won two tests each against Belgium England Wales and Holland and drew Test series 1-1 against Germany India also figured in a four-nation tournament then and after winning all the matches in round robin league lost to Spain in the final But in the Barcelona Olympics the Indians fared miserably The Indians then won Azlan Shah hockey in 1995 but in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics they finished way down the leaderboard Same was the case in the Sydney Olympics India just had to beat Poland a very lowly team but muffed an open chance in the dying moments that cost them a place in the semifinals So when it comes to real competitions like the Champions Trophy World Cup or Olympics Indians are always in the vicinity of sixth or seventh place given the number of the teams In the 25th edition of the Champions Trophy India had little to show by way of their performance India who scored less goals then Argentina who finished fifth would have been in a worse position had world champions Germany fielded their full team The view that India lost
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