India’s men Hockey team will be opening their Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 campaign against Belgium at 1930 IST, which will be available live on Indian television on Ten Sports. As the Indian Hockey fans have high hopes from the team, Coach Terry Walsh feels they can finish in top 8.
What do you think, where India will stand at the end of Rabobank Hockey World Cup? Will they improve from the performance of last edition or get another wooden spoon? When will they play their last match, will it be on 12th or 14th or 15th June? Let us have a look.
In the last edition of the quadrennial hockey extravaganza, India finished 8th above their World Ranking in 2010 at New Delhi, while returned home with wooden spoon from London Olympics 2012 after losing all the matches. Indian side bounced back towards the end 2012 as guided India finished at fourth place in Melbourne in Champions Trophy under the watchful eyes of Michael Nobbs.
Though nothing much has changed in Indian team since last World Cup except coaches and dropping few players for various known-unknown reasons and junior players trying to fill those shoes.
It is crystal clear from India’s Europe tour for the preparation of Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014, in which India played 5 matches that hopes from the Indian team should be realistic.
During the Europe tour, India won only one match i.e.against Leiden Hockey Club (A Second Division Dutch National Hockey Club) by 7-0 and could salvage a 3-3 draw against undermanned team of HGC Hockey Club (Dutch National Club), who had already finished their season.
Then, India had lost three matches to national development teams of Belgium and Netherlands that too when India had fielded their best of the players including the ones ignored as they had participated in WSH, while Netherlands and Belgium fielded 2nd string teams as few of their main players were busy in EHL.
India (World Rank 8) are placed in Pool A of the Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 (schedule here) with Australia (World Rank 1), England (World Rank 4), Belgium (World Rank 5), Spain (World Rank 10) and Malaysia (World Rank 13). In its opening game of the World Cup, India will play Belgium on 31 May followed by England on 2 June, Spain on 5 June, Malaysia on 7 June and Australia on 9 June.
Looking at the rankings and recent performances, India should be able to finish 4 in the pool above Spain and Malaysia thus playing for 7th and 8th position on June 15th, but it will not be easy task. It will be great for the Indian Hockey, if the team could pull one or two surprise wins at the Hague and return home with better finish than last edition of World Cup, which they played at home.
Indian Hockey team for Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014:
GOALKEEPERS: P.R Sreejesh; Harjot Singh;
DEFENDERS: Gurbaj Singh; Rupinder Pal Singh(Vice-Captain); V.R Raghunath; Birendra Lakra; Kothajit Singh Khadangbam; Manpreet Singh;
MIDFIELDER: Sardar Singh (Captain); S.K Uthappa; Dharamvir Singh; Jasjit Singh; Chinglensana Singh;
FORWARD: S.V Sunil; Lalit Upadhyay; Akashdeep Singh; Yuvraj Walmiki; Mandeep Singh