Junior Hockey World Cup: India rely on drag-flickers to beat Belgium

Bhubaneswar, Nov 30 (PTI) Defending champions India, who have regained momentum after two thumping victories, will face European giants Belgium in the quarter-finals of the FIH Men’s Junior Hockey World Cup on Wednesday when their in-form drag-flick experts are looking to set their hopes up. But it will last.

The title contender Indian team was defeated by France in the first match. It was reversed by defeating 4. After this, although India returned, Canada defeated 13. 1 and Poland 8. 2 to finish second in Pool B.

India will now have to perform well in every match to win the title for the third time.

The quarter-final against Belgium will be a repeat of the 2016 final at Lucknow in which India won 2. Won by 1. This match will be a level match and the team that manages to capitalize on the chances will win.

India have strikers like Uttam Singh, Arijit Singh Hundal, Sudeep Chirmako and Maninder Singh. Uttam and Maninder have done well so far. Apart from this, India also has the advantage of having multiple options in the penalty corner. The goals were scored by Sanjay Kumar, Hundal, Shardanand Tiwari and Abhishek Lakra.

Sanjay has been in particularly good form, scoring hat-tricks against France and Canada. Hundal also scored three goals against Poland. The captain in the midfield is Vivek Sagar Prasad who was part of the Indian senior team that won the historic bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

The defense will have to work hard in this match as Belgium’s attack is very strong.

Graham Reid, India’s head coach and coach of the junior team for this tournament, said, “The players have seen Belgium’s performance and they are full of confidence. Hopefully we will win this match.”

Indian captain Vivek said, “Belgium is a very good team and we have to give our best.”

Belgium have never won the Junior World Cup and are under pressure to replicate the success of the senior team. The Belgian senior team is an Olympic and world champion.

In the other quarterfinals of the day, Germany will face Spain, Netherlands will face Argentina, France will face Malaysia.


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