Asian Games 2018: Analysis of medal-winning chances of the Indian Men's Hockey Team
Field hockey at the Asian Games 2018 starts off in the men's section from 20 August to 1 September 2018 at the GBK Hockey Field in Jakarta. The tournament comprises 12 teams competing in two groups for the gold medal.
Group A: India (5), South Korea (14), Japan (16), Sri Lanka (38), Hong Kong (45) and Indonesia.
Group B: Malaysia (12), Pakistan (13), Bangladesh (31), Oman (33), Thailand (47) and Kazakhstan (86).
At the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea and Pakistan topped their respective groups. In the semi-finals, India defeated South Korea by a solitary goal and Pakistan pipped Malaysia in the shoot-off. South Korea defeated Malaysia 3-2 to take the Bronze and India defeated Pakistan in a penalty shoot out to claim the gold medal. We expect the same teams to fight for the medals in this year's Games as well.
Let us take a look at their performances in the last four years:
In the 2017 Hockey Asia Cup in Bangladesh, India defeated Malaysia 2-1 to win the gold. Pakistan got the better of South Korea, winning 6-3 to claim the bronze.
At the 2018 Champions Trophy in Breda, Netherlands, India lost to Australia in the penalty shoot out to claim the silver. Pakistan lost to Belgium in the penalty shoot out to finish 6th.
In the 2016 Champions Trophy held in London, India lost to Australia in the penalty shoot out to claim the silver. South Korea lost to Belgium 3-4 to finish 6th.
At the 2014 Champions Trophy in Bubhaneswar, India, Pakistan lost to Germany 0-2 to claim silver. India lost to Australia 1-2 to finish 4th.
At the 2016 Rio Olympics, India had lost 1-3 to Belgium in the Quarter Finals. Pakistan, Malaysia and South Korea did not qualify for the Olympics.
At the 2014 Hockey World Cup in Hague, Netherlands, India defeated South Korea 3-0 to finish 9th. Malaysia lost to South Africa 2-6 to finish 12th.Pakistan did not qualify for the World Cup.
At the 2017 World Hockey League Finals in Bhubaneswar, India defeated Germany 2-1 to clinch the bronze medal.
At the 2017 World Hockey League Semifinals in Johannesburg, Japan lost to South Africa 2-4 to finish 10th. In the London leg of the Semifinals, Malaysia lost to England 1-4 to finish 4th, India lost to Canada to finish 6th and Pakistan defeated China 3-1 to finish 7th. South Korea defeated Scotland 6-3 to finish 9th.
So looking at the teams' performances, we can safely conclude that consistency from the Indian national hockey team has made them the favourites to win the gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games. The fight for the silver and bronze would be between Malaysia, Pakistan and South Korea.
Indian Men's Hockey Team
Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh (captain), Krishan B Pathak.
Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Birendra Lakra, Surender Kumar, Rupinder Pal Singh, Amit Rohidas.
Midfielders: Manpreet Singh, Chinglensana Singh Kangujam (vice-captain), Simranjeet Singh, Sardar Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad.
Forwards: SV Sunil, Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Dilpreet Singh.
Chief Coach: Harendra Singh.