Take the pledge to vote

For a better tommorow#AajSawaroApnaKal
  • I agree to receive emails from News18

  • I promise to vote in this year's elections no matter what the odds are.
  • Please check above checkbox.

    SUBMIT

Thank you for
taking the pledge

Vote responsibly as each vote counts
and makes a diffrence

Disclaimer:

Issued in public interest by HDFC Life. HDFC Life Insurance Company Limited (Formerly HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company Limited) (“HDFC Life”). CIN: L65110MH2000PLC128245, IRDAI Reg. No. 101 . The name/letters "HDFC" in the name/logo of the company belongs to Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited ("HDFC Limited") and is used by HDFC Life under an agreement entered into with HDFC Limited. ARN EU/04/19/13618
LIVE TV DownloadNews18 App
News18 English
News18 » Hockey
3-min read

Olympic Qualifiers: Indian Men's Hockey Team Face Russia, Women's Team Await Tough Battle against US

The Indian men's hockey team will take on Russia, while the women's team will face US on November 1 and 2.

PTI

Updated:October 31, 2019, 3:40 PM IST
facebookTwitter Pocket whatsapp
Olympic Qualifiers: Indian Men's Hockey Team Face Russia, Women's Team Await Tough Battle against US
Indian men's and women's team (Photo Credit: Hockey India)

Bhubaneswar: The Indian men's hockey team will have to guard against complacency when it takes on lower-ranked Russia, while a tricky contest awaits their female counterparts against USA in the two-legged Olympic qualifiers here on Friday.

Both the Indian teams are just two matches away from booking their tickets to Tokyo.

While the Manpreet Singh-led men's team is up against an easy opponent in world no.22 Russia, the Indian women have a relatively difficult task at hand as they face the American girls in the final round of the FIH Olympic Qualifiers. EVERYTING YOU NEED TO KNOW

Both the Indian teams will play back-to-back matches against Russia and USA on Friday and Saturday and the aggregate winners at the end of the two-match qualifier (each for men and women) will seal their places in the 2020 Tokyo Games.

On paper, the Indian men, ranked fifth in the world, are expected to have a cakewalk against the Russians.

But coach Graham Reid is very well aware that one bad day in office can ruin India's Olympic dream. So complacency is something which the Indian men cannot afford in the next two days.

The biggest improvement which Indian men witnessed under Reid in the last 12 months is the defensive structure. Along with Surender Kumar and Junior World Cup-winning team member Harmanpreet Singh, India's defence has been rock solid in recent times.

The backline will be further bolstered by the return of seasoned dragflicker Rupinder Pal Singh and Birendra Lakra.

Rupinder, whose career has been plagued by injuries, got a new lease of life after being dropped from the squad following India's poor show at the 2018 Asian Games.

The snub almost cost Rupinder his career before he regained his self confidence and forced his way back into the team for the Olympic Qualifiers here.

Another player to watch out for in India's backline is the experienced Birendra Lakra, who replaced Varun Kumar after the latter sustained an injury on his shoulder and right bicep.

The Indian midfield will be manned by skipper Manpreet in the company of Hardik Singh, Nilkanata Sharma and Vivek Sagar Prasad, while the onus of scoring goals upfront will be on the shoulders of Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, SV Sunil, Ramandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay and Simranjeet Singh.

The Indian goal will be safe under the watch of veteran PR Sreejesh and Krishan Bahadur Pathak.

While the men would expect an easy outing against the Russians, the scenario is completely different for the women as they are up against world no. 13 USA against whom they have a dismal 4-22 win-loss record.

But past records hardly matters in professional sport and the current Indian women's team, led by Rani Rampal, is a much-improved outfit from their predecessors.

For Indian women, besides skipper Rani, dragflicker Gurjit Kaur, young forward Lalremsiami and goalkeeper Savita hold key to the team' fortune.

Besides handling USA, they also have to handle the crowd pressure as it is the first time that they will get to play in front of a packed 16,000 capacity Kalinga Stadium stadium here.

India women's team chief coach Sjoerd Marijne exuded confidence saying his wards are prepared for the contest.

"We are really excited. These are the two matches we waited to play the whole year. We knew we had to play these matches but didn't know whether we were playing home or away and against whom. We've prepared well. The moment is here and we are ready," he said.

India captain Rani echoed her coach's sentiment.

"Our first target to qualify for the Olympics was the Asian Games and unfortunately we couldn't. As soon as Asian Games got over, our focus shifted to these matches," she said.

"Through the year we have waited as well as prepared for these two matches. We are excited to play in front of a huge home crowd.

"I don't think we will be under any pressure. At the blow of the whistle our focus shifts to our plan on what we need to do. It is up to us on how we get the crowd on our side," Rani added.

Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox - subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow News18.com on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what's happening in the world around you – in real time.

Read full article
Next Story
Next Story

facebookTwitter Pocket whatsapp

Live TV

Countdown To Elections Results
To Assembly Elections 2018 Results