Home Sports India Open Campign Against Spain with Eyes on First Podium Finish in 48 Years

India Open Campign Against Spain with Eyes on First Podium Finish in 48 Years

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India Open Campign Against Spain with Eyes on First Podium Finish in 48 Years

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A historic bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics bringing them again among the many worldwide elite, India will search their first podium end in 48 years in the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup as they start their marketing campaign towards Spain in a difficult match in Rourkela on Friday.

A medal in this showpiece will strengthen the declare that the previous giants of the sport with eight Olympic gold have turned the nook in world hockey.

The nation gained a bronze in the inaugural event in 1971 and clinched a silver in the subsequent version in 1973. Ajit Pal Singh led the facet to title triumph in 1975 however since then they’ve didn’t even attain the semifinals.

From 1978 to 2014, India couldn’t go previous the group stage.

The Indian workforce, little doubt, could be one of many medal contenders with the gifted bunch led by Harmanpreet Singh rising as a power to reckon with. The workforce has earned respect from different high international locations in current instances.

Currently ranked sixth in the world, India have come into the event after a powerful present towards the world primary facet Australia in an away five-match sequence although they misplaced the rubber 1-4.

Graham Reid’s facet matched the Australians, one of many favourites to win the World Cup, in most departments of the sport, notching up their first win in six years towards their formidable opponents.

In the earlier version, additionally held in Bhubaneswar, India had exited on the quarterfinal stage after dropping to the Netherlands, the eventual runners-up, and they might be trying to attain at the least the semifinals this time.

India have additionally executed nicely in the FIH Hockey Pro League, ending third in the 2021-22 season. The confidence and the successful mentality is again with the workforce.

Since Reid took over the pinnacle coach’s place in 2019, India’s stature has grown. He has been capable of get the most effective out of the gamers, injecting a tactical self-discipline to their trademark skillful, fluid taking part in type, making them a workforce that’s revered and feared in equal measure.

“We focussed primarily on eventualities in our coaching, what if we’re 0-1 down, what if we’re taking part in with 10 males, what in the event that they take their keeper off. Those kinds of eventualities that are vital that we now have dealt with,” Reid said.

Captain and FIH Player of the Year Harmanpreet Singh, a fabulous defender and one of the best drag flickers in the game, will be key to India’s success while goalkeeper PR Sreejesh, mid-field ace Manpreet Singh and Hardik Singh, and striker Mandeep Singh are all capable of bringing about game-changing moments.

Defender Amit Rohidas, who has captained the team in the past and also takes penalty corners, and forward Akashdeep Singh will be among the other India players to watch out for.

Reid said he wants to take some pressure off captain Harmanpreet, who is also a defensive bulwark.

India will hope to begin with a win, as that result can help them top Pool D for a direct quarterfinal berth and avoid playing cross-over matches (meant for second and third place teams of each of each of the four pools).

Qualifying for the quarterfinals through cross-over matches could lead to facing stronger teams in the last-eight stage like defending champions Belgium.

“It’s an old adage that the first game is the most important, so we are just focussing on that and then take it forward. That’s how we are approaching,” Reid stated.

Spain have by no means been a simple opponents for India and the European facet, ranked eighth in the world, will stay the identical on Friday, although they’re one of many youngest groups in the event.

Though with no title, Spain are at all times a difficult facet as they will beat any workforce on their day. They had completed runners-up in 1971 and 1998 whereas taking the bronze medal in 2006.

Coached by former Argentine worldwide Max Caldas and captained by Alvaro Iglesias, their most skilled participant, the Spanish workforce had the higher hand in the continuing Pro League season matches in Bhubaneswar in October-November final 12 months.

They had gained the primary match 3-2 whereas India took the second in the penalty shootout after the 2 sides had been locked 2-2.

It was even stevens in the 2 matches of the 2021-22 Pro League season in February final 12 months. Spain had gained 5-3 in the primary match whereas India took the second match 5-4.

Historically additionally, there’s not a lot distinction between the 2 sides as India have gained 13 of the 30 matches they’ve performed towards one another since 1948 (when India gained 2-0 in the London Olympics). Spain have gained 11 instances whereas six matches had been drawn affairs.

“Most of us (90 per cent) are taking part in our first World Cup. That doesn’t imply we’re going to be afraid of our opponents. We are going to be the best way we’re and we’re prepared,” Alvaro said.

Talking about the Pro League matches in October-November last year, Alvaro said, “They were very good hockey matches. That means a lot and and much of Friday will be more or less the same.”

The privilege to play the primary worldwide match on the model new and 21,000 capability Birsa Munda Stadium — which the Odisha governmwent claimed to be the most important in the world in phrases of spectator attendance — will, nonetheless, go to England and neighbouring Wales who conflict towards one another in the primary match of Pool D, two hours sooner than India vs Spain sport.

The tournament-opener will likely be performed at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar — which can turn into the primary venue to host back-to-back World Cups — between Argentina and South Africa in Pool A.

Title contender Australia face France in one other Pool A match later in the day at Kalinga Stadium.

Defending champions and one other title-favourite Belgium start their marketing campaign on Saturday towards South Korea in Pool B on the Kalinga Stadium which can host 24 matches of the event, together with the semifinals and the ultimate.

The remaining 20 matches will likely be held on the Birsa Munnda stadium.

The Squads:

India: Abhishek, Surender Kumar, Manpreet Singh, Hardik Singh, Jarmanpreet Singh, Mandeep Singh, Harmanpreet Singh (captain), Lalit Upadhyay, Krishan Pathak, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, PR Sreejesh, Nilakanta Sharma, Shamsher Singh, Varun Kumar, Akashdeep Singh, Amit Rohidas (vice-captain), Vivek Sagar Prasad and Sukhjeet Singh.

Spain: Andreas Rafi, Alejandro Alonso, Cesar Curiel, Xavi Gispert, Borja Lacalle, lvaro Iglesias, Ignacio Rodr guez, Enrique Gonzalez, Gerard Clapes, Andreas Rafi, Jordi Bonastre, Joaquin Menini, Mario Garin, Marc Reyne, Marc Miralles, Pepe Cunill, Marc Recasens, Pau Cunill and Marc Vizcaino.

Match Starts at 7pm IST.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 workers and is printed from a syndicated information company feed)

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