Hope and ambition has turned into despair and anguish for the Indian men’s hockey team that was predicted to work wonders at the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela. Former stalwarts had gone to the extent of saying that the team will finish among the top three. But as it transpired India did not show the gumption to defend a 3-1 score, allowed New Zealand to restore parity and eventually lost in a shoot-out finish. The team that won the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year had looked a world class side, but it could not brush aside the challenge posed by the Kiwis which was beaten 0-4 by Germany and 2-3 by Malaysia in the Group matches. The team came short on penalty corner conversions, but the experts are probably right in saying that India ought not to have frittered away the 3-1 advantage. It was a shock defeat because no Indian side had lost to New Zealand in the previous six clashes starting from July 2018. Odisha which has spent over Rs 1,000 crore to host the World Cup, and the State’s chief minister Naveen Patnaik must be a touch disappointed with India’s defeat in the PQF. Many believed that India would actually win the World Cup after 48 years. But it’s once again a sob story.