The Indian men's hockey team begins its Super 4 action at the ongoing Asia Cup with a match against Japan in Jakarta on Saturday, May 28.
India will be keen to continue their winning momentum in the Asia Cup after having qualified for the Super 4s in style with a dominting 16-0 win over hosts Indonesia on Thursday.
This is the second time an India vs Japan match will be played at the ongoing Asia Cup. India lost to Japan 2-5 in the league stage of the Asia Cup after sharing the spoils with Pakistan 1-1 in their first match.
Needing a mammoth win, the Indian team brought out its best performance against Indonesia to pip Pakistan by a solitary goal on goal difference and enter the Super 4s.
The young and inexperienced Indian team's learning curve in the ongoing Asia Cup has been steep. Coached by first-time coach Sardar Singh, Birendra Lakra's men are getting enough match experience to be ready for a senior team call-up at any given point of time.
Read: Asia Cup 2022: With focus on the future, Indian hockey team on a learning curve
The Indian team started well against Pakistan, playing like a well-oiled machine. The defense looked good until the last minute when it opened up a gap, which it was instantly exploited by Pakistan.
In the first India vs Japan match in the league stage, India looked all at sea - something that they will want to avoid on Saturday. The defense looked shaky and the strikers lacked conviction.
However, against lowly-ranked Indonesia, India ticked all the boxes and steamrolled past the opposition.
The Super 4s will be a different ballgame altogether. Japan, India, Malaysia and South Korea complete the Super 4s. All teams are known for their attacking prowess and any lapse in any department of the game will be severely punished.
Also read: Hockey Technical officer Sonia Bathla looking forward to Commonwealth Games
The Indian team need to get its act together quickly. The India vs Japan contest offers a sneak-peek of how competitive the Indian development team can get and India will be hoping to tick all the boxes.
Penalty corner conversions will be one of the talking points in the India vs Japan match on May 28. The Indians, in the past, have been guilty of letting a flurry of opportunities go to waste. The Indian team's think-tank would need to get back to the drawing board and chalk out an effective penalty corner conversion plan and the players would need to follow it to the hilt.
Another positive for India going into the India vs Japan match will be their new-found confidence. After striking the net almost 16 times in the last match, the strikers will be high on confidence. The water-tight defense aided the strikers as the Indians maintained a clean sheet and a positive goal difference.
When and where to watch, live streaming details of India vs Japan
The India vs Japan match will be broadcast live on Star Sports First, Star Sports Select 2 and Star Sports Select 2 HD.
The match will commence at 1700 hrs (IST) at the GBK Sports Complex Hockey Stadium in Jakarta.
For fans who cannot tune in to the broadcast, Disney+Hotstar will also have a live stream of the Super 4s match.
Also read: Asia Cup 2022: Twitter reactions as India drub Indonesia 16-0 to oust Pakistan, qualify for Super 4s