India won the 1948 Olympic Hockey Championship in a decisive fashion at Wembley Stadium tonight defeating Britain by four goals to nil.
India’s superiority was never in dispute. Despite the heavy muddy turf and the light rain which fell for a considerable time during the game, the Indians outclassed the British team with the superb ball control, accurate passing and intelligent position play.
Britain put up stern opposition but they could not cope with the lightning thrusts by the Indians.
Long before half-time it was evident that India should win comfortably. If England had had any other goalkeeper but Brodie, India might have doubled their score. He made save after save and turned India back from what appeared to be certain scores.
From the opening whistle, India gave 10,000 spectators in the Stadium here a 70-minute exhibition of intelligent and fast play which never for a moment gave – the British a chance of equalizing, let alone winning.
The victorious team moved like clock-work from the first bully-off to the final whistle. They forced tire game, they ran circles round a slow, duller British team; in fact, they played one of the finest games ever seen in Britain. But their task was by no means easy.
The ground was softer than the Indians would have liked and the British defence, particularly in the second-half, hardened into a determined core which the Indians had to smash open each time they forced their way into the British half.
The Indians played as one man. Each move was played with the shrewdness born of long practice and swift intelligent understanding.
Yet, despite the precision of the team work, a few of the stars shone just a little brighter than the others.
In the first half it was G. Singh, substituting at centre-forward for G. R. Glacken who had played in the semi-final game.
Singh was always on hand at the right moment and it was he who sent in his country’s first goal.
Jansen, who put India two goals up, was another factor who early established the supremacy of the Indian side.
Play After Interval
The second half brought its own particular heroes. Well up among them was the Indian right back, T. Singh, who not only rallied his backs around him but on occasions reinforced the forwards and it was he who sent in the final goal after G. Singh had put India three ahead.
At outside right Kishan Lal worried the English goalkeeper constantly and only magnificent play by Drodie kept the Indian score down to four.
On the other hand, Pinto. in goal, enjoyed a rest from his labours on Monday night when he fought like a Trojan. He had little to do tonight and in some spells he leaned idly against the post, viewing the spectators.
India had come through to the final after a superb run in the preliminaries and the final goal aggregate tonight of 25 for India and two against them was one of the best ever achieved in Olympic hockey.
An extra sense of keenness was provided to tonight’s game by the fact that it was the two countries’ first ever clash in Olympic hockey.
G. Singh scored for India in the third minute and P. Jansen registered the second after ten minutes.
India obtained the third goal through G. Singh after 20 minutes in the second half.
The sun flickered feebly through ominous dark clouds over Wembley Stadium tonight as India took the field.
A chill wind played on the pitch which was having its first respite from a week of rain.
Ten thousand spectators had gathered for the match-the first time the two sides had clashed in Olympic hockey.
G. Singh at centre-forward was the Indian team’s only change from the semifinal combination which beat Holland by two goals to one on Monday this week.
INDIA-L. K. H. Pinto, goal; T. Singh, right-back and R. S. Gentle, K. C. Dutt, right-half, A. C. Kumar, and Maxie Vaz, Kishan Lal, Captain, outside-right, If. D. Singh, Q. Singh, P. A. Jansen and L. Fernandes.
BRITAIN: D L. S. Bhore, goal; G. B. Sime, right-back and W. L. Lindsay; M. M. Walford, right-half. F O. Reynolds, and F. R. Lindsay, J M. Peake, outside-right, W. N. White, R. E. Adlard, N. F. Borrett. and L. S. Griffiths.
UMPIRES: Rogge (Holland) and Lombaert (Belgium).
The temper of the game showed itself in the first few seconds.
India was soon fighting with its back to the goal as the heavier British side swept from centre in a lightning move. But the Indian backs grouped tight. Gentle took the ball from Griffiths and passed quickly to T. Singh who got rid of the ball quickly.
Down field it was picked up by K. D. Singh who swept it out to Kishan Lal on the right-wing, but the British backs stopped the ball.
Leading the attack tonight he seemed determined to justify the confidence of his place in the final team.
Three rapid Indian raids forced the British to a close game, the type of which the Indians wanted them to play, each time G Singh led.
Then, after only three minutes, the Indians drew first blood. A rapid move from mid-field from Maxie Vaz saw the ball go out to Kishan Lal who tried to take it through on his own. The two British backs closed in on him and he slipped the ball quickly to G. Singh. The Indian centre-forward was less than five yards from the goal and he did not miss.
Now the Indians were getting not only the measure of the field but of their opponents. They managed to keep the game close and the British had little chance to open the long passing movements which suited them better.
For the next few minutes the ball never left the British half. The Indians set siege to the British goal and one swift attack after the other gave the defenders little chance to clear and get their forwards moving.
Fernandez at outside-left almost put the Indians two goals forward after eight minutes, when he deftly gathered the ball from Vaz. White wrested the ball from him and the chance was lost in the scrummage.
Then the Indian forward line, went into action again. It was Kishan Lal to Singh, Singh to Jansen, past the British back-and Brodie found himself lying across the goal with the ball in the net behind him.
With two goals on the wrong side of their ledger. the Britons tried to brighten up. But almost every time the Indian half-back line- Vaz, Kumar and Dutt – not only blocked them but cleared the ball to the vigilant Indian quintet who were only too eager to take any chances that came their way.
The Indians were obviously finding the field much more to their liking and despite 20 minutes of hard brisk play showed no signs of tiring.