An unbeaten India will search to tackle their penalty-corner woes to submit an enormous win against bottom-placed debutants Wales of their ultimate pool match and qualify immediately for the quarter-finals of the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup right here on Thursday.
India and England are on 4 factors every after two matches with the latter forward on purpose distinction — plus 5 as against the hosts’ plus three. India, although, could have the benefit of realizing what to do earlier than their match as they play after England’s recreation against Spain on Thursday.
If England lose or draw against Spain, there will probably be no headache for India as they simply want to beat Wales by any margin to high Pool D — thought of the group of loss of life — and qualify immediately for the quarter-finals.
If England beat Spain, then India will want to defeat Wales by at the very least 5 objectives. The variety of objectives India want to rating will carry on growing relying on England’s victory margin.
If two groups are on equal factors and have the identical variety of wins, the rankings within the pool stage are selected the premise of purpose distinction.
In any case, India won’t be knocked out of the match as they’ll end second in the event that they beat Wales — a job they’re anticipated to accomplish. If India end second in Pool D, they’ll play the third-place group in Pool C, which may very well be both New Zealand or Malaysia within the ‘crossover’ spherical.
India had crushed Spain 2-Zero earlier than drawing England 0-0, each matches performed on the new Birsa Munda Stadium in Rourkela. They are going to play on the Kalinga Stadium for the primary time on this World Cup.
The successful group in every of the 4 swimming pools qualifies immediately for the quarter-finals. The second and third-placed finishers in every pool will function in crossover matches. A second-place finisher of a pool will play a third-place facet of one other pool and the successful group will face a pool topper within the quarter-finals.
If India high Pool D and qualify immediately for the quarter-finals, they’ll play one match much less and which will preserve them contemporary for the last-eight stage.
“If we high our pool, we’ll play one match much less and that will probably be good for us. We will attempt to play our greatest and play our regular recreation and execute our plans,” said midfielder Manpreet Singh, who had led India to a historic bronze at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
The main concern for India is their rate of penalty-corner conversion. They have got nine penalty corners so far but have not scored even once from them directly, though Amit Rohidas found the target against Spain after captain Harmanpreet Singh’s drag-flick rebounded off an opponent’s stick.
Drag-flicker Harmanpreet has been the country’s top scorer in almost all tournaments in recent times, including the historic bronze-winning campaign in the Tokyo Olympics, but he has been struggling to find the target in this showpiece event.
It will be easier for India to win by a big margin if Harmanpreet starts firing as his side is expected to get penalty corners in plenty against Wales.
“I hope to start scoring goals from penalty corners in the next match,” Harmanpreet had mentioned after the England match.
India can even want to convert area possibilities as they missed a number of scoring alternatives against England.
“Missed alternatives and we subsequent (against Wales) have to attempt to do higher contained in the opposition circle,” head coach Graham Reid said.
India were also dealt a blow after midfielder Hardik Singh injured his hamstring towards the end of the England match. He will be an unlikely starter in Thursday’s match against Wales, though he is expected to recover in time for the quarter-final or the crossover stage.
No doubt, Hardik will be missed but his absence is unlikely to affect India’s chances against Wales, ranked 14th in the world as against the hosts’ fifth as per the latest rankings. The likes of Vivek Sagar Prasad can fill in for Hardik.
Wales, on the other hand, will be playing for pride as they have virtually no chance of progressing to the next stage following two heavy losses against England (0-5) and Spain (1-5).
Even if they beat India, which is highly unlikely, and Spain defeat England, Wales might not make it to the crossovers as they have a goal difference of minus nine.
The Squads (From):
India: Abhishek, Surender Kumar, Manpreet 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, Sukhjeet Singh.
Wales: Rupert Shipperley (captain), Toby Reynolds-Cotterill, Rhys Payne, Gareth Furlong, Daniel Kyriakides, Hywel Jones, Ioan Wall, Steve Kelly, Lewis Prosser, Dale Hutchinson, Jacob Draper, Gareth Griffiths, Rhys Bradshaw, Fred Newbold, Ben Francis, Luke Hawker, James Carson, Jack Pritchard.
Match Starts at 7pm IST.
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