Monday, June 17, 2024

India ready for German challenge in semifinals of FIH Hockey Men’s Jr World Cup

Following an exhilarating comeback win against the Netherlands in the quarterfinal of the FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup Malaysia 2023, the Indian team is set to face the formidable Germans in the semifinal round, here on Thursday.

In the previous matches, the Indian Team secured a 4-2 victory against Korea, suffered a 4-1 defeat to Spain, and bounced back with a commanding 10-1 win over Canada, ultimately securing a second-place finish in Pool C. Notably, India triumphed over the Netherlands, a European powerhouse ranked fourth in world rankings, in a thrilling quarterfinal clash, staging a remarkable comeback to conquer the Dutch with a 4-3 scoreline.

Reflecting on the incredible turnaround in the quarterfinals on Tuesday and playing under pressure, Captain Uttam Singh, “We are now used to playing under pressure. Be it the Asia Cup Final against Pakistan or the Bronze Medal match in the Sultan of Johor Cup, we have played and won under pressure. It’s something we have worked on and we have developed a skill set. It also helps that five players from the existing team were part of the previous Junior World Cup, so our experience also comes in handy.”

The Indian Junior Men’s Hockey Team has faced Germany four times this year and has lost on all four occasions, with their last defeat coming in the semifinals of the Sultan of Johor Cup 2023 3-6. Notably, India faltered to Germany by 2-4 in the semifinals of the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup Bhubaneswar 2021 as well.

Eager to set the record straight the Indian Junior Men’s Hockey Team Chief Coach said, “Germany are a strong team and we faced them in the Sultan of Johor Cup recently but with a slightly different squad and a different approach. We have analysed all the teams in the World Cup, Germany included, and the added learning from the previous matches against them will put us in a good position ahead of the game. The players know that Germany isn’t unbeatable, it’s a matter of executing the plan.”

Being the only Asian team amongst the semifinalists, Captain Uttam Singh is confident of a good performance. He said, “The dream of every player in the team is to win the Final and we are working tirelessly towards that goal. The team is in good form and we know the strengths and weaknesses of Germany after facing them so many times. We don’t want to just be participants at the world events. We want to win it and we play with that motivation. So we will use the remaining time to prepare ourselves for the match and ensure we give our best against Germany tomorrow.”

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