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Hockey World League Final: India set for Germany test in final group encounter

The Indian hockey team need to take care of their inconsistency before squaring off against Rio Olympic bronze medallist Germany in their final pool match of the Hockey World League (HWL) Final

other sports Updated: Dec 03, 2017 23:49 IST
Sharad Deep
Sharad Deep
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneshwar
Hockey World League Final,India vs Germany,Indian hockey team
India face Germany in their final Group B game at the Hockey World League Final.(PTI)

With one draw and one loss, India are currently at the bottom of Pool B with one point. So, it was no surprise that the Indians underwent a rather serious training session at the Kalinga Stadium on Sunday, the eve of their last group-stage match, against Germany.

Such a scene was expected following the loss to England on Saturday. Coach Sjoerd Marijne’s boys were inconsistent in their second league match struggling to trap the ball and keep possession as England pulled off a 3-2 victory.

Barring a few occasions, when India scored two goals, Manpreet Singh and Co never looked in contention against a well-knit England that didn’t lose heart even after the score was level.

“We need to overcome our inconsistent showing in further matches, including the one against Germany tomorrow (Monday). Yesterday, we couldn’t repeat what we did against Australia in the opening game,” coach Sjoerd told Hindustan Times at the end of his team’s strenuous training session on Sunday. India had played out a 1-1 draw with the Aussies.

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“Certainly, we dropped our level in the match against England. I don’t know why? That’s what we need to talk about because if you have reasons you can improve,” said Sjoerd before adding, “Yes, we have gone through the footage of our match yesterday and tried to learn from our mistakes. Hopefully, we won’t be repeating those mistakes in future.”

The pool is led by the Germans who have four points from one win and a draw. So far, they have been consistent in the 10-day event, and overpowering them in Monday’s game won’t be easy for the hosts.

A win in Monday’s encounter is a must as it would certainly boost India’s confidence ahead of their quarter-final. If they lose, they will have to face the top team of the other pool in the last eight stage. The expectations are high following their win at the Asia Cup in Dhaka this October.

This Indian team has plenty of youngsters, most of who were part of Junior World Cup winning side.

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This set of players would also be carrying hopes of millions at the next year’s Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, Olympic qualifying as well as the World Cup, which is scheduled to be played here in December. For the record, Germany have a better head-to-head record. Out of the 28 duels, they have beaten India 15 times, losing only five times and drawing eight games.

Australia take on England at 5.30 p.m in another Pool B encounter ahead of the India-Germany match which begins at 7.30 p.m.

First Published: Dec 03, 2017 19:03 IST