Men’s Hockey World Cup: Inaugurating its campaign on Wednesday in India vs South Africa
Host India will open its campaign against South Africa in Group C in the Men’s Hockey World Cup on Wednesday. In this match India is expected to have a bigger margin. India will come to this end with the intention of ending the tragedy of the medal that has been running for 43 years.
The eight-time Olympic champion Indian team won the only World Cup in 1975 when Ajit Pal Singh and his team created history. India did the best performance since 1975 in the 1982 World Cup in Mumbai, when it was at fifth place. India has not won any World Cup medal in last 43 years.
India, who are fifth in the world rankings, will want to overcome this deficit by winning medals this time. By the way, it will not be as easy as it will have to overcome the two-time defending champions Australia, the Netherlands, Germany and Olympic champions Argentina. Apart from this, the heavy pressure of expectations of good performance will be on the team of Harendra Singh. India has been eighth in the 2010 World Cup held in Delhi. So far, nine countries have hosted the World Cup, whose performance has not been good in their hosting.
Two years ago, Coach Harendra, who gave the World Cup to the junior team in Lucknow two years ago, is under pressure due to lack of gold retaining in Asian Games. For them it is a do or die tournament and if they do not perform well they can go to the post. Players are playing aggressive hockey and can give good results. For this, we have to create a match-by-match strategy. We will not play pressure in our own country as an inspiration.
Harendra has kept seven players from the World Cup winning junior team in the current team while Captain Manpreet Singh, PR Sreejesh, Akashdeep Singh and Birendra Lakra are also in the team. Drag flicker Rupinder Pal Singh was dropped from the team whereas striker SV Sunil fitness is out of the grounds.
Belgium and Canada also in India’s group
India, South Africa, Belgium and Canada are in Pool C in the tournament of sixteen countries. India needs to be alert to Belgium’s third team, Belgium, while South Africa’s ranking is 15 and Canada’s 11. The match against Belgium will be a real challenge in the phase where winning India will want to make it to the quarter-finals so that they do not have to play a crossover. Belgium will face two December and Canada on December 8.
Sixteen teams to play after 16 years
Sixteen years later, there are sixteen teams in the World Cup, which are divided into four four pools. The top team will play in the quarter-finals from each pool, while the second and third teams will play in the last eight by playing crossover. Belgian will face Canada in the opening match on the first day.
Group A: Argentina, Spain, New Zealand and France
Group B: Australia, England, Ireland and China
Group C: Belgium, India, Canada and South Africa. Africa
Group D: Netherlands, Germany, Malaysia and Pakistan