Quick News Bit

Confident India start favourites against Korea in men’s Junior Hockey World Cup opener


Two-time champions India will look to make a winning start against Asian rivals Korea in their pursuit of another podium finish in the FIH men’s Junior World Cup hockey tournament starting here on December 5.

India have won the tournament twice, in 2001 in Hobart and 2016 in Lucknow, besides finishing runners-up once in Milton Keyes, England in 1997.

In the last edition of the event in Bhubaneswar two years back, the Indians finished fourth and they would be hoping to clinch their fourth podium at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil here.

India are placed in a relatively easy Pool comprising Canada and Spain besides Korea.

After Korea, India will play Spain on Thursday and Canada on Saturday.

Pool A consists of defending champions Argentina, Australia, Chile, and Malaysia, while Pool B has Egypt, France, Germany and South Africa. Pool D is the toughest of the lot as Belgium, Netherlands, New Zealand and Pakistan will be vying for a quarterfinal berth.

The top two teams from each pool will qualify for the quarterfinals.

The quarterfinals, semifinals and final are scheduled for December 12, 14 and 16 respectively.

Under forward Uttam Singh’s captaincy, the Indians would be brimming with confidence as they have a better head-to-head record against Korea. Out of the six matches played between the two teams, India have won three, Korea two and one match ended in a draw.

The last time both the teams faced each other was during the semifinal of the men’s Junior Asia Cup earlier this year, where India registered a massive 9-1 win over Korea.

India skipper Uttam too sounded confident ahead of their campaign opener.

“The wait is finally over for the World Cup, and we are very much confident of a good start. We recently played against Korea, so we are aware of the challenge but the focus will be on us, on executing our plans and playing good hockey,” he said.

Uttam has the experience of the big stage as he was part of the Indian team that finished fourth in the last edition of the tournament in Bhubaneswar.

“As always, our focus has been to go match by match, and our priority is to get a winning start and then focus on the following matches to proceed to the next stage of the tournament,” he said.

India coach C R Kumar said they are fully prepared but won’t take things for granted.

“The players have worked hard, and are fully prepared for the tournament. Korea are a quality side, you can’t take them lightly.

“We have to respect every opponent, it is a bigger stage, so we will have to be cautious and back our strengths to get a good start in the tournament,” he said.

For all the latest Sports News Click Here 

 For the latest news and updates, follow us on Google News

Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! NewsBit.us is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave a comment