Eight times Olympic champions, India are set to open their campaign against the gutsy Ireland side in the opening encounter of Group B of the Olympic hockey tournament in Rio 2016 tomorrow 6th August 2016 . The Indian hockey team is on a high following a sequence of impressive results in the recently concluded Sultan Azlan Shah Cup where they went down to the World Champions Australia in the finals through a controversial penalty shootout.Their recent string of results have lead to many experts considering India as a real dark horse to win a medal at Rio 2016.
Despite the positives, the switch of guards in terms of captaincy just before a crucial tournament have left many fans bewildered as to why Hockey India have taken such a drastic step in the build-up to the Olympics. But, it is beyond doubt that on their day, this Indian team can beat any team in the world.
In their first game, the Indians are favorites against the gritty Irish side who are currently ranked 12th in the world compared to India’s 5th . But they will need to bring their A-game for the grand stage and deliver when it truly matters and the team relies on the likes of P Sreejesh and Sardar Singh to lead the team from the front in their opening encounter.
The number is on their mind. Its been 36 years since India last won a hockey medal in the Olympics. But, this year presents the best chance in recent memory to win a medal in the Olympics since 1980. Sardar Singh will be a massive influence at the back, he would need to organize his defense well and make sure they don't concede silly goals on the big stage. PR Sreejesh, the captain, is another important player for the team. One of the best goalkeepers in the world, Sreejesh will have to make sure he covers his defense well and leads from the back when the team is under pressure. The style of total hockey and counter attacking style which has paid dividends for the team in recent outings must be deployed well in order to do well this year. Akashdeep Singh and Ramandeep Singh will both be key players as India look to break for that counter and score a goal
For Ireland, Goalkeeper David Harte will be the man who dictates proceedings for them from the back along with twin brother Conor Harte who plays as a defender. The Irish will be gritty and fearless and play attacking football. Captain John Jackson would want to keep together in midfield and string key passes for the forwards to look up to.They would have to keep their defense tight and look to capitalize from penalty corners if they are to cause a major upset at Rio.
Match Details : Rio 2016 Men’s Hockey Tournament Group B Match 2 India Vs Ireland
TV Channel : The Star Sports Network & Hotstar
Match Date : 6th August 2016
Match Time : 7:30 PM IST/11 AM Brazilian Time
Match Venue : Olympic Hockey Centre, Rio De Janeiro
Team News :
|16||GK||P. R. Sreejesh (c)|
|3||DF||Rupinder Pal Singh|
|12||DF||V. R. Raghunath|
|15||MF||S. K. Uthappa|
|24||FW||S. V. Sunil (VC)|
|12||GK||David Harte ( c )|
India to win 3-1 and begin the competition on a positive note.Published 05 Aug 2016, 21:31 IST