The Indian marketing campaign that began with getting the monkey off the again in opposition to New Zealand, adopted by the sport of inches in opposition to England and the demand of objectives in opposition to Wales has reached the stage from the place comebacks within the event are usually not potential. It is the knockout rounds and the Tokyo Olympics bronze medallists discover themselves pitted in opposition to New Zealand within the crossovers. The winner goes by way of to the quarterfinals and the loser is left to struggle within the placement matches.
The marketing campaign just isn’t rocked so to say, however the outcomes have not performed justice to India’s expectations thus far. A 2-0 victory in opposition to Spain, a 0-0 draw versus England and a 4-2 win over debutants Wales just isn’t sufficient substance to be ok with. On high of that, failure to complete No. 1 within the pool wasn’t the way in which coach Graham Reid would have wished issues to pan out in Rourkela and Bhubaneswar.
Hockey WC: India face New Zealand in do-or-die crossover tie
However the format permits 8 of the 12 groups a second likelihood. The eight groups that completed both second or third within the 4 swimming pools are a part of the crossover matches.
India completed second in Pool D and face the No. 3 crew from Pool C, New Zealand, on Sunday. Within the different three crossover matches, Malaysia face Spain within the first match on Sunday, whereas Germany tackle France on Monday, adopted by South Korea up in opposition to Argentina on the identical day.
The crossover groups can additional take coronary heart from the truth that the 2018 Belgium vs Netherlands World Cup remaining was between two groups that got here into the quarterfinals by way of the crossovers.
In case you put India and New Zealand on a weighing scale, the Black Sticks do not look a match for the Indian crew.
The one win for the Kiwis on this World Cup has come in opposition to Chile. They misplaced to the Netherlands 0-4 and to Malaysia 2-3. Going a bit of additional again to October final yr, the New Zealanders misplaced each their Professional League matches in opposition to India in Bhubaneswar itself with the scorlines of 7-4 and 4-3, which, nonetheless, indicators that it will likely be foolhardy to contemplate them pushovers.
India have its personal set of worries with the exit of Hardik Singh as a result of a hamstring harm and a scare to Mandeep Singh throughout coaching on Saturday night when he damage his knee. There isn’t any definitive replace on Mandeep’s harm standing, however India will hope that he stays obtainable within the ahead line.
To switch Hardik, India have introduced in midfielder Rajkumar Pal.
“Hardik is an effective participant and was in excellent type. However Rajkumar, who has changed him, can also be in good type and one of many future stars,” mentioned Reid, speaking to reporters after the crew’s coaching session on Saturday. “Disappointing for Hardik, thrilling for Raj. Those that watched him in opposition to New Zealand earlier (within the Professional League) would have seen among the stuff he can do. So we’re assured. Tough for Hardik, however we now have sufficient expertise to compensate.”
Regardless of a poor run, New Zealand, who do not thoughts to be referred to as the ‘underdogs’ of world hockey, have not shied away from making some shock improvements, like taking off their goalkeeper within the opening quarter of the match in opposition to 2018 runners-up Netherlands. Nevertheless it backfired and mirrored poorly in a 4-0 defeat. NZ coach Greg Nicol mentioned that if want be, the group may even see some ‘out of the field’ improvements in opposition to India as nicely.
“We definitely will (innovate) if we now have to,” Nicols mentioned. “If we predict we have to affect the sport, whether or not it is within the fourth quarter or the primary or the second quarter, we all know we now have acquired some issues that we will do.”
After the Wales recreation, when India wanted eight clear objectives to go away England behind on purpose distinction and high the pool, Reid had mentioned that the crew lacked when it comes to strain on the sport. The coaching session on Saturday was largely about that, moreover fixing the penalty-corner woes, as Nilam Sanjeep Xess acquired extra drag-flick observe, together with skipper Harmanpreet Singh, than witnessed in coaching classes beforehand throughout this World Cup.
Sunday will inform how a lot of that onerous work turns into fruition. And there’s no second likelihood from right here.