FIH Hockey World League 2017: How India fared in Qualifiers
India's campaign at the qualifiers was a bitter-sweet one with four wins and three losses from the seven games they played in London, England as they finished in sixth place in their group which featured Netherlands, Argentina, England, Malaysia, Canada, Pakistan, China, Korea and Scotland.
While the highlight was the 3-0 rout over arch-rivals Pakistan, India's only weak link was the inability to rise under pressure in an otherwise fruitful campaign leading to the finals.
Path to the finals
India kick-started their semifinal fixtures with a massive 4-1 win over Scotland and followed it up with another impressive performance against Canada as they got the better of the opposition by a 3-0 margin.
With no gap between the previous game and their first game against arch-rivals Pakistan, India displayed no signs of fatigue as they ripped through the Pakistan defence to secure a mammoth 7-1 victory but could not replicate their success against Netherlands who inflicted a loss on India by a 1-3 margin as the string of wins came to an end.
In the next game against Malaysia, although Ramandeep Singh's brace got India back into the contest after a deficit of two goals, a goal after half-time saw Malaysia win by a 3-2 margin.
In the next game, the intense rivalry between India and Pakistan saw India get back the much-needed momentum with another huge victory by a 6-1 margin assisted by two goals each from Mandeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh and one each from Talwinder Singh and Harmanpreet Singh.
Unfortunately for India, they could not carry that momentum into their last league game against Canada as they lost by a 2-3 margin to cap off their semifinals campaign.
Although India did not procure a top three finish in the semi-finals, They will face seven other teams in the finals stage of the competition as the rules stated clarifies that the country hosting the finals will also feature in the chase for the spoils.
The duo of Harmanpreet Singh and Ramandeep Singh, who have been in some stunning form, will be the key for India, while 22-year-old Akashdeep Singh will also be a vital part of India's campaign in the finals.