As India kick off their opening Pool ‘B’ hockey fixture against the Netherlands at the Riverbank arena today, the thought of India making it to the Semifinals, though unrealistic, brings to light India’s current standing in World Hockey. Placed in Pool ‘B’ along with Germany, the Netherlands, South Korea, New Zealand and Belgium, India’s chances of finishing 3rd in the Pool look dim. Along with Germany and the Netherlands, India will also have to face a quality South Korean side, and getting even a point off these teams would surely not be an easy task for Michael Noob’s team. But if India do manage to have a good start against the Netherlands in today’s Pool opener (India would surely be aiming for at least a point), it would definitely set tone for the remaining matches. Here is the schedule for India’s Pool ‘B’ fixtures.
After the opener against the Netherlands, India will have a much easier game against New Zealand on the 1st of August, and points in these two matches will definitely help India in their quest for at least a Top-4 finish. The next two games will be the real test as India face Germany and South Korea, and getting a win/draw against either of these two sides would place them comfortably for the fourth spot at the least.
Belgium, the final opponent, is the weakest of the lot and India would look for nothing less than a win against the minnows.
So, after the match against the Netherlands today, it will be clear as to whether India really have a chance of making it to the Top 3/4, or will it just be the same old story which has been happening over recently. So, here is hoping India put up a good fight against the Dutch today and salvage at least a point to keep them steady for the remainder of the Pool matches.