Their mission may be in the groove again following a gigantic success over humble Canada, yet reigning champs India are as yet not free and clear and would have to beat Poland in their last Pool B match to meet all requirements for the quarterfinals of the FIH Men’s Junior Hockey World Cup here on Saturday.
The Indians, one of the pre-competition top picks, were given an impolite shock in their opener when France paralyzed them 5-4. The loss managed a monstrous hit to India’s mission and put paid to their expectations of fixing their pool.With one win and a loss, India are at present set second in Pool B in front of Poland on objective distinction. France, who have an ideal record till now, are set to top the pool.
This implies that in the quarterfinals, India face the possibility of running into European monsters and favorite Belgium, who are probable top Pool A. Given the situation, lack of concern is not welcome in the Indian plan of things assuming they wish to protect their title.
The Indians were delayed to get off the squares in the competition and needed aim and reason against France, prompting their misfortune. In any case, against Canada on Thursday, the hosts thundered back and looked more coordinated.
From here on, India should dominate each game to recover the title, a reality which boss mentor Graham Reid is very much aware of.
“…But we can fail to address that now (misfortune against France). Assuming we need to win consecutive titles, we should beat each group hence,” Reid had said. “We won’t care to consider ahead us, we have a match against Poland before that and that is our thought process. We need to win that before we contemplate the following stage.”
The Indian yearlings should be at their best in each match to advance in the competition.
“It is a learning experience for the young men. Each match is one experience. That is the thing that I have consistently been telling the senior players too,” said Reid, who directed the senior Indian group to a memorable bronze decoration in the Tokyo Olympics.
In both the matches, India set out various scoring open doors yet neglected to benefit from them.
Bad habit commander and star dragflicker Sanjay Kumar (6 objectives) has been in sparkling structure for India, scoring continuous full go-arounds, while Uttam Singh has been the group’s go-to man in the forwardline.
In Sanjay, Araijeet Singh Hunda, who likewise scored a full go-around against Canada, and Shardanand Tiwari, the Indians brag of three strong punishment corner experts with three unique styles and strategies.
Assuming that isn’t sufficient, Abhishek Lakra is the group’s fourth choice from set-pieces, a disturbing sign for any rival. The Indian mid-field is being driven by captain Vivek Sagar Prasad, who might hope to give his Tokyo Olympics experience to his less experienced colleagues.
The Indian backline, in any case, should be on its toes going into the business end of the competition, particularly after the dull excursion against France.
In other matches on Saturday, France will take on Canada, Pakistan will play Egypt in Pool D, while in Pool A, South Africa will take on Malaysia followed by Belgium’s tie against Chile. Top two groups from four pools will fit the bill for the quarterfinals, which will start on December 1.