NEW DELHI, Jan 13 (IANS): A much improved India almost bagged a win against reigning Olympic champions Germany but a goal in the dying minutes by the latter helped them eke out a 3-3 draw in the final Pool A match of the Hockey World League Final here Monday.
Earlier, England handed New Zealand a 5-1 drubbing in the other Pool A game at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium to remain the only unbeaten team of the tournament with three wins.
India were cautious at the start with defensive play but slowly gained pace and were able to penetrate the German defence. They had a brilliant opportunity when Birendra Lakra found an open D and passed the ball only to be stopped by German keeper Tim Jessulat.
The visitors counter-attacked and created a chance in the 10th minute but defender V.R. Raghunath cleared the ball from the Indian striking circle.
The home team earned the first penalty corner in the 12th minute but Raghunath was easily stopped by Jessulat.
India came out with their best hockey in a long time. The coordination was much better than their last two outings against England and New Zealand as they passed better and attacked more.
Germany got their first penalty corner in the 16th minute but Indian goalie P.R. Sreejesh was successful in keeping the score 0-0.
Surprising everyone, India took the lead in the 19th minute when Raghunath's free hit from the 25 yard line was touched by a German player before hitting the net. The four-time Olympic champions, however, equalised when skipper Oliver Korn scored through a field goal in the 24th minute.