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Hockey World League - India vs New Zealand preview

ANALYST
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2.05K   //    11 Jan 2014, 14:38 IST
The Indian hockey team

The Indian hockey team

After an indifferent performance against the higher ranked English team yesterday, Team India will now look for a much better and brighter performance against the New Zealand team in their second game of the FIH Hockey World League Final at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi on Saturday.

The Indian team, who are currently World No. 10, will take on World No. 7 New Zealand team who were humiliated badly by the reigning Olympic Champions and World No. 1 Germany 6-1 in their opening game on Friday.

India, who were yesterday playing their first game under the guidance of newly appointed chief coach Terry Walsh, committed a number of mistakes in the game while trapping the ball and also failed to utilize their penalty corners, with all five of them going to waste.

Talking about the current form of both the teams it’s the New Zealand team which had a pretty decent 2013 as they finished third in the Men’s Hockey World League semifinal in Rotterdam in June, fourth in Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in March and second in Oceania Cup in November.

The Indian team, on the other hand, had a very disappointing 2013 as apart from winning the silver medal in Asia Cup in August 2013, there were no other considerable achievements for them; they finished fifth out of six teams in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in April, sixth in men’s Hockey World League semifinal in Rotterdam in June and fifth in the Asian Champions Trophy in November.

Key players

The Indian team is hugely dependent on its key players, namely Sardar Singh, S.V. Sunil, V.R. Raghunath and Rupinderpal, but there are also a bunch of extremely talented youngsters in the form of Manpreet Singh, Nikkin Thimmaiah, Mandeep Singh and rising star Affan Yousuf, who demonstrated his skills and potential in the match against England.

For the Kiwis it’s the combination of Phil Burrows, Simon Child and James Coughlan which can be prove very dangerous for the men in blue.

The format of the tournament is such that all the teams playing in the tournament are assured of a quarterfinal berth irrespective of the results of the round robin phase.

After the completion of round robin phase, the teams will move into the crossover quarter-final phase, with the pool winners taking on the bottom team from the opposite pool and the second ranked team taking on the third ranked team from the opposite pool.

Schedule of matches on 11th January:

Belgium vs Argentina (2 pm IST)

Netherlands vs Australia (4 pm IST)

England vs Germany (6 pm IST)

India vs New Zealand (8 pm IST)

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