press trust of india
ROTTERDAM, 14 JUNE: Held to a draw by lower-ranked Ireland in their FIH World League Round 3 opener, the Indian men’s hockey team will have to regroup quickly and come up with something special against formidable Netherlands in their next Pool B match on Saturday. Ranked four places ahead of their rivals, India (11) started as overwhelming favourites against Ireland (15) on Thursday, but it didn’t really show in their game as they laboured to a 4-4 draw.
Defence has been India’s perennial problem and it hurt them against the Irish on Thursday.
There was clear lack of co-ordination between Indian mid-fielders and the forward line and they were also guilty of giving away the ball easily to their opponents.
But come Saturday, the Indians cannot afford to commit the same mistakes against the Netherlands, who are ranked third in the world and are the current Olympic silver-medallists. Going by the rankings and present status of both the teams, India, undoubtedly, will start underdogs in Saturday’s encounter.
After missing out on a point against Ireland, the Indians can hardly afford to relax as a loss against the Dutch can jeopardise their chance of sealing one of the three berths up for grabs in next year’s World Cup. Banking on home support, Netherlands too be would desperate for a win against India tomorrow after they played out a 3-3 draw against New Zealand on Thursday.
Women held
A lacklustre Indian women’s hockey team eked out a 1-1 draw against Belgium to avoid a second consecutive defeat in the women’s competition of the FIH World League Round 3, here today. Anupa Barla saved the day for India with the equaliser in the 38th minute after Erica Coppey gave Belgium the lead in the fourth minute.