The Indian men’s hockey team will have to avoid complacency in the two-stage Olympic qualifier against the lower-ranked Russia team on Friday, while the women’s team (America) ) Will face a tough challenge. Both Indian teams are just two matches away from cutting tickets for Tokyo Olympic. The team led by Manpreet Singh, however, has to face a tough opponent in the form of number 22 Russia (Russia) while the women face American girls in the final round of the FIH Olympic Qualifier.
Indian team will play two matches in a row for two days
Both teams will play two consecutive matches on Friday and Saturday. In the two-match qualifiers, the winner (of the men’s and women’s team) will ensure his place for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The Indian team (Team India), ranked fifth in the World Ranking, is expected to have an easy match against Russia, but coach Graham Reid is well aware that India from a bad day. Olympic dream can be broken. That is why complacency is something that the Indian team will have to avoid for the next two days.
Indian team’s defense has improved
In the last 12 months, the Indian men’s team has greatly improved the defensive aspect under Reid’s guidance. The defense of the Indian team looks strong recently due to Surendra Kumar and Junior World Cup winning team member Harmanpreet Singh. At the same time, the return of dragflicker Rupinder Pal Singh and Birendra Lakra in the backline will be strengthened. Captain Manpreet will be accompanied by Hardik Singh, Neelkant Sharma and Vivek Sagar Prasad in the Indian midfield, while the responsibility of scoring goals will be on the shoulders of Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, SV Sunil, Ramandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay and Simranjit Singh. Experienced PR Sreejesh and Krishna Bahadur Pathak will take charge of the goalkeeping.
Indian team will face America under Rani Rampal
On the other hand, the situation is completely opposite for the women’s team as they will have to face world number 13 team America against which their win-loss record is 4-22. But the previous record does not matter much and the current Indian men’s team led by Rani Rampal is much better. Apart from captain Rani, the fate of the team will depend on the performance of dragflicker Gurjit Kaur, young forward Lalremsiammi and goalkeeper Savita. Apart from dealing with the American team, they will also have to face the pressure of spectators as the team will play for the first time at the Kalinga Stadium with a capacity of 16,000 spectators here.
Women’s team ready for challenge
Indian women’s team head coach Shored Mariani expressed confidence that his players are ready for this challenge. He said, ‘We are thrilled. We were waiting to play these two matches throughout the year, we knew that we had to play these matches but did not know with whom we would play and where we would play at home or abroad. We were well prepared. Now it’s time and we are ready. ‘
Indian captain Rani also supported the coach, saying, ‘Our first goal was to qualify for the Olympics, the Asian Games, unfortunately we could not do it. As soon as the Asian Games ended, our attention was focused on these matches. ‘He said,’ We don’t think we will be under any pressure. As soon as the match whistle blows, our aim will be to focus on our strategy. It is up to us how we bring the attention of the audience to our team. We are excited to play in front of the domestic audience. ‘