The Indian men's hockey team finished fourth in the FIH Pro League 2022-23, which concluded here on Wednesday night, with Spain defeating world champions Germany youth team in the final league encounter.
It was a two-part season for India, who until a few weeks earlier had led the league table. But They were overtaken by eventual champions the Netherlands and Great Britain to take the first two places. India kicked off their campaign with a 2-1 win against Argentina in their 16th and final match of the FIH Pro League 2022-23 season, played in a mini-cluster of three or four teams, on 11 June.
Meanwhile, Spain, which had beaten Germany in their opening encounter, finished fifth with 27 points from 16 matches, three points behind India, who had just finished their camp in Eindhoven a few weeks ago. On Wednesday, Spain had to come from behind three times to beat an ambitious young German team 4-3. This marked the end of the 9-team FIH Pro League 2022-23 season.
The Netherlands (35 points from 16 matches) successfully defended their crown by defeating challengers Great Britain (32 points). Belgium, with 30 points, finished above India in the table due to more wins to their name (10 versus India's eight).
Starting off under head coach Graham Reid, India played the first leg of the FIH Pro League 2022-23 season at home. They put up an impressive performance, winning five, drawing two, and losing only one match. India's only defeat in their home leg was a 3–2 defeat against Spain in Bhubaneswar.
While the second leg of the season in Europe was a different ball game entirely for the Craig Fulton-coached team. However, the away legs in London and Eindhoven did not prove as fruitful. India topped the Pro League points table in the European phase of their fixtures. They managed only three wins, four losses, and one draw from eight away matches.
If in the first half of the season, India had impressive wins against reigning world champions Germany, Commonwealth Games gold medalists Australia and New Zealand, then in the second half India could only win against Argentina (2) and Belgium (1). While they lost both their matches against the eventual champions Netherlands.
India ended their campaign with a 2–1 win against Rio Olympic gold medalists Argentina. But their narrow 2–3 defeat to the Netherlands saw Netherlands and Belgium overtake them. The Dutch eventually pipped the Indians to win the title. While Belgium failed to keep up the momentum as they lost 2–4 and 1–6 to the Netherlands in Antwerp. After that, they lose their chance to finish higher.