India eyeing consistent show against Netherlands today
Bolstered by an inspired show against Olympic champions Germany, India would look to maintain consistency in pursuit of their first win in the tournament when they face defending champions Netherlands in their last Pool B match of the Hockey World League Final, here on Monday.
India dished out a superlative performance on Saturday to hold the mighty Germans to a 1-1 draw. The draw holds greater significance for India as it came on the back of a disastrous outing in the tournament-opener against Argentina.
If in the 0-3 defeat against Argentina India were lacklustre and looked out of sorts, against the Germans India produced a near-perfect game to dominate the match for a majority of 60 minutes.
Unlike the match against Argentina, the Indians showed more urgency and attitude from the word go against Germany.
The Sardar Singh-led midfield produced a stellar performance to create numerous scoring opportunities for the forwardline, which was missing in the first match.
Sardar himself has led by example in the two matches while Manpreet Singh showed hunger and was instrumental in setting up goal for Akashdeep Singh against Germany.
Barring a few silly errors, the backline too played a solid game against Germany. Birendra Lakra, in particular, stole the limelight in both the matches.
But the form of India’s fowardline should be a cause of concern for chief coach Roelant Oltmans. Ramandeep Singh and Talwinder Singh were impressive in the first two matches while Akashdeep played well in patches.
To add to India’s forwardline woes, SV Sunil, who did not play against Germany on Saturday, is a doubtful starter on Monday as well as he is yet to recover from a knee injury sustained during the game against Argentina.
“He (Sunil) got hit on the knee. You never know how long it will take but I expect him to recover and be back during the tournament. I am not sure whether he can play against Holland but I hope him to play in the quarterfinals,” Oltmans had said after on Saturday’s a match.