The stage is set for the Junior Men's Hockey World Cup with the India vs France match starting proceedings at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar on November 24.
India, the defending champions, are placed in a relatively easy Pool B alongside Canada, France and Poland.
The Indian junior hockey team won the last edition in Lucknow in 2016. Hockey India named a 18-member Indian junior squad earlier this month for the quadrennial event.
The Indian junior hockey team will be led by Vivek Sagar Prasad, who was a part of the bronze medal winning Indian men's senior hockey team at the Tokyo Olympics.
Ahead of the India vs France match, the Indian hockey team's head coach Graham Reid said the team is looking in good shape and the objective of the team is to reach the summit clash. He said:
“Every coach who comes to an event as important as the Junior World Cup likes to think that they will be there at the end of the tournament. Our objective is to make that final game. To put ourselves in that category we first need to win the first three games in our pool. So, we will be taking each game as it comes. That’s the first objective. After that, obviously if we end up in the quarter-finals and then the semi-finals, we’ll go from there. But certainly, we aim to be there at the end."
French hockey team head coach Aymeric Bergamo said the India vs France game will be a stepping stone for the young French team to make huge inroads. The coach said although the team is young and inexperienced, playing hockey in India would hold the team in good stead for future endeavors. He said:
“Our mission is to play each match to the best of our ability, and for that we need a lot of mental strength. We want our hockey team to get out of the group stages and, if we succeed, we will do everything in our power to continue. My squad is particularly young and, for the most part, they don’t have any experience of high-level competition like this one. But the magic of playing hockey in India has been beneficial for French teams in the past, and this group wants to succeed together as a team."
When and where to watch India vs France
The India vs France match of the Men's Junior Hockey World Cup will be broadcast on the Star Sports Network. A live stream will also be available on Watch Hockey (https://watch.hockey/).
The India vs France match will commence at 8 pm on November 24 at the Kalinga Stadium.
India vs France squads
The squads for the India vs France match are given below. Vivek Sagar Prasad will be leading the Indian team while Timothee Clement will captain a young French team.
India: Shardanand Tiwari, Prashant Chauhan (GK), Pawan (GK), Sanjay (VC), Sudeep Chirmako, Rahul Kumar Rajbhar, Maninder Singh, Vishnukant Singh, Ankit Pal, Uttam Singh, Sunil Jojo, Manjeet, Rabichandra Singh Moirangthem, Vivek Sagar Prasad (C), Abhishek Lakra, Yashdeep Siwach, Gurmukh Singh and Araijeet Singh Hundal.
France: Marias Mathieu (GK), Guillaume de Vaucelles (GK), Timothee Clement (C), Lucas Montecot, Gaetan Larnicol, Matteo Desgouillons, Brieuc Delemazure, Stanislas Branicki, Corentin Sellier, Mathias Clement, Paul Piot, Jules Verrier, Benjamin Marque, Gaspard Xavier, Raife Gonessa, Louis Haertelmeyer, Antonin Igau, Noe Jouin, Jules Bournac, Thomas Assoignon and Matthieu Maries.
Apart from India vs France, the opening day of the Men's Junior World Cup will also see Belgium vs South Africa, Malaysia vs Chile, Germany vs Pakistan and Canada vs Poland matches being played.
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