The Indian men’s hockey team finished 4th in the Hockey World League (HWL) semis held at Brasschaat in Antwerp, Belgium. The Indian team lost their 3rd place play-off to Great Britain by 5-1.
India had Poland, France, Australia and arch-rivals Pakistan in their Pool and after finishing 2nd in the Pool, they faced Malaysia in the quarter-finals where they emerged victorious 3-2. However, they were humbled in their final two matches by Belgium and Great Britain.
Paul van Ass’s men had a mixed campaign in Belgium, winning 3 of their 7 matches while drawing against arch-rivals Pakistan. They scored just 14 goals in their 7 matches while conceding 21.
|Matches||W||D||L||GF||GA||Cards Received||PC Earned||PC Converted|
G – 5; Y – 2; R – 0
W – Wins; D – Draws; L – Losses; GF – Goals For; GA – Goals Against; PC – Penalty Corners; G – Green; Y – Yellow; R – Red
Let us see how the players did in the tournament:
PR Sreejesh (GK) – 8
The Indian team custodian had a fantastic tournament. He was one of the best players in the Indian squad. Although he was at fault for some goals, he prevented a lot more going in. He made many crucial saves in the whole tournament and thus helping the men’s squad to secure the 4th place at the HWL semis.
Harjot Singh (GK) – 5
The team’s 2nd choice goalkeeper didn’t have much to do in the tournament as he played just 15 minutes – the last quarter in the game against Australia. With Sreejesh in good form, Harjot didn’t get that much playing time and was warming the bench most of the time.
Rupinder Pal Singh (DF) – 4.5
He came into the squad as a replacement for the injured Raghunath. Unfortunately for him, an injury suffered while practicing resulted in him featuring on very few occasions as he missed the first four matches, while he played just 5 minuted in the 5th.
With him being the only penalty corner specialist in the squad, the Indian team failed to find somebody to convert those important penalty corners. India’s penalty corner conversion suffered massively without him. In the 3rd place playoff, he scored a final minute consolation goal to sign off on a good note.
Birendra Lakra (DF) – 6.5
He was at the heart of the Indian defence in all the matches played and performed pretty well, blunting down the opposition attacks regularly with making those crucial runs in the centre midfield and spraying balls to the forwards. He even scored India’s first goal against Australia.
Jasjit Singh Kular (DF) – 6.5
The Punjab-based defender was guilty of giving away possession easily as his passing was not upto the mark. However, the 25-year-old was instrumental in India’s quarter-final win against Malaysia as he converted two penalty corners in the last quarter of the match.
Gurmail Singh (DF) – 5
He didn’t get a lot of playing time at the HWL. He came on as a sub in few matches and performed well under the guidance of senior players present in the team. The Indian team has a lot of hopes from this youngster and he did no harm to his reputation.
Manpreet Singh (MF) – 6
Manpreet scored India’s 1st goal of the tournament against France when he converted from a penalty corner. Other than that, he had an ordinary campaign in the HWL.
Gurbaj Singh (MF) – 5.5
He is India’s most skillful wingback in the squad. His runs on the flank were of utmost importance throughout the tournament as he provided an option to the man in possession. However, his crosing was off the mark in Belgium.
Sardar Singh (MF) – 7.5
The Indian team skipper was at the heart of every move that India made as well as organising the defence structure throughout the tournament. However, as the stage progressed, teams found him out and got two players to mark him out of the match. He had a good tournament on an individual level and even scored a brilliant solo goal in India’s win over Poland.
Chinglensana Singh (MF) – 6.5
The Manipur-based midfielder had a decent tournament. He was instrumental in making those forward runs and creating goal scoring opportunities for the forwards to score. He also worked hard in implementing the ‘10-on-10’ defending strategy proposed by head coach Paul van Ass.
Dharamvir Singh (MF) – 5.5
The 24-year old halfback was not seen much at HWL semis. He played for some time and then faded away as his performance dipped as the tournament went on. He was also responsible for giving soft penalty corners away to the opposition.
Lalit Upadhyay (MF) – 6.5
He had a good tournament for him. Lalit made some crucial runs on the side line and sent in some beautiful crosses. He is still young and is a good prospect for the senior Indian men’s team.
Devindar Walmiki (MF) – 8.5 – Star of the tournament
He is the junior of the Walmiki brothers in the team and the greatest prospect in this young Indian side. He had 2 field goals at the HWL and was seen cutting down the opposition defensive lines with ease.
His mazy runs helped India get out of trouble on plenty of occasions. The HWL was his debut tournament and he even scored on his international debut against France. The Maharashtra-based player has to improve on his temperament though as was booked twice in the tournament – 1 yellow and 1 green.
Nikkin Thimmaiah (FW) – 6.5
The Karnataka-based player had a decent outing as the forward in the Blue shirt. At just 24 years of age, he still has a long career ahead of him and he can become an integral part of the national team set-up.
Yuvraj Walmiki (FW) – 7
The older of the Walmiki brothers had a brilliant start to the tournament with him scoring his only goal of the tournament against Poland. However, as the tournament progressed, his performances faded and so did India’s results at the HWL.
Ramandeep Singh (FW) – 8
He is the highest goal scorer for India at the HWL semis with 4 goals to his name. He scored the last minute winner against France which proved to be the most important goal of the tournament for the reigning Asian Games champions. He scored a brace against arch-rivals Pakistan. The 21-year old forward led the Indian forward line with confidence.
Akashdeep Singh (FW) – 4 – Flop of the tournament
With 0 goals to his name in this year’s HWL semis, he shot blanks at the oppostion goal in every game. Being a regular starter, he got numerous opportunities to impress, but he failed to fill the void left by the injured SV Sunil.
Satbir Singh (FW) – 6
The Punjab-based player scored his only goal of the tournament against Malaysia in the quarter-final of the HWL. He provides an able option for the forwards and with age on his side, he can be what he wants provided he works hard.