Defending champion India must beat host Indonesia by an enormous margin and hope Japan defeats Pakistan within the different Pool A match for advancing to the knockout stage of the Asia Cup males’s hockey event right here on Thursday.
India’s destiny just isn’t in their very own palms anymore as even a win in opposition to lowly Indonesia won’t assure it a knock-out berth. Japan should beat Pakistan to maintain India’s faint hopes alive.
With a draw and a loss, India is positioned third in Pool A behind Japan (6 factors) and Pakistan (4 factors).
Asia Cup 2022: Japan hammers India 5-2
Beneath the steering of Sardar Singh, India fielded a younger staff within the event alongside a handful of seniors like Birendra Lakra and SV Sunil, who got here out of retirements. However the senior duo seemed effectively previous their prime if their performances within the two matches up to now are to go by.
India conceded a final minute aim to attract 1-1 in opposition to Pakistan in its event opener earlier than being thrashed by Japan 2-5.
However now, a “subsequent to unimaginable” process awaits the Indians as they not solely have to attain massive in opposition to Indonesia but additionally hope that Japan beats Pakistan within the different Pool A match on Thursday if they’re to progress to the Tremendous 4 stage.
India has a aim distinction of minus three as in opposition to Pakistan’s plus 13. If Pakistan loses to Japan, India should beat Indonesia by an enormous margin to go previous its western neighbours in aim distinction and advance additional within the event.
Inexperience was the main purpose behind India’s below-par performances because the younger gamers, primarily drafted from the final Junior World Cup squad, are discovering it tough to get a measure of the extent of worldwide hockey.
Within the two matches up to now, the Indians lacked cohesion within the three departments — defence, midfield and forwardline.
The Indians lacked a top quality playmaker within the midfield, which was evident from their fixed efforts of constructing assaults from the centre as a substitute of utilizing each the flanks extra continuously.
Lakra seemed a pale shadow of himself within the backline, which has crumbled massive time when put underneath relentless stress.
The forwadline has been wasteful with the likes of Tokyo Olympian Simranjeet Singh and teenager Uttam Singh not having one of the best of outings.
The lanky and strongly constructed Pawan Rajbhar is the one participant who’ve impressed along with his dedication and stick work within the two matches, creating possibilities and in addition scoring a aim.
Penalty nook conversion is one other space the place the Indians are struggling as they lack a top quality drag-flicker within the aspect after veteran Rupinder Pal Singh pulled out on the final minute attributable to a wrist damage.
With the percentages stacked in opposition to them, the younger Indian gamers could possibly be pepped as much as give their greatest shot on Thursday and present they’ll rise to the event.