Melbourne, Dec 4 (IANS) A spirited India topped Pool A in the FIH Champions Trophy hockey despite losing 2-3 to Olympic champions Germany after giving them a tough fight here Tuesday.
In the quarterfinals, eight-time Olympic champions India will Thursday face Belgium, who finished fourth and last in Pool B.
For India this was their first loss in the ongoing tournament. They had previously beaten England and New Zealand in their pool.
India and Germany both finished on six points from three matches but the former won Pool A due to a better goal difference. Germany finished in second place.
Germany's win came thanks to a strong five minutes of play in the fag-end of the second-half that saw them come from a 1-2 deficit to earn the 3-2 win.
For India, Gurwinder Singh Chandi kicked things off quickly when he stormed down the field and put in a quick first goal of the match just four minutes into action.
Germany calmly regrouped after falling behind and were eventually rewarded when one of the veterans on the team Oliver Korn scored on a strong second effort to bring the sides even.
With scores tied 1-1 at half-time, India opened up the second-half scoring when Nithin Thimmaiah deflected in a second penalty corner shot five minutes after the break.
India led for more than 15 minutes until Patrick Schmidt deflected in a shot from Tobias Matania, levelling the match again.
The Germans took the lead for the first time in the match, two minutes later when Matania scored on a penalty corner. India kept the pressure on the Germans till the final whistle but couldn't get the equaliser.
This was the 600th game in Champions Trophy's history.