India look to plug defence ahead of crucial NZ tie

A mediocre India will have to plug in the loopholes in defence as well as improve their finishing as they take on New Zealand in their last FIH World League

Written by Press Trust Of India | Rotterdam | Published:June 17, 2013 1:35 am

A mediocre India will have to plug in the loopholes in defence as well as improve their finishing as they take on New Zealand in their last FIH World League Round 3 group match against New Zealand on Monday.

After missing out on a point against Ireland in their tournament-opener,followed by yesterday’s 0-2 reverse to the Netherlands,the Indians have already jeopardised their chance of sealing one of the three berths up for grabs in next year’s World Cup. But a win against New Zealand will no doubt be a confidence booster for Michael Nobbs’ boys ahead of the quarterfinals.

Before the Netherlands test,India were held to a 4-4 draw by lower-ranked Ireland.

Considered a perennial problem,the defence hurt India against the Irish. They looked a shade better against world number 3,the Netherlands,but the strikers let them down against the current Olympic silver medallists.

In their first match,there was clear lack of co-ordination between Indian mid-fielders and the forwardline and they were also guilty of giving away the ball easily to their opponents.

Against the Netherlands,they struggled to come to terms with the speed of the Dutch players. The Indians did grow in confidence as the match progressed but the strikers’ lack of discretion hurt them.

New Zealand,on the other hand,overcame a stern challenge to emerge victorious against Ireland in their last match.

One India player who just about managed to stand tall amid the mediocrity during the Netherlands match,was P R Sreejesh,who effected a couple of good saves.

Drag-flicker Rupinderpal Singh will look to convert penalty corners while Akashdeep Singh and Shivendra Singh will need to be more opportunistic upfront.

Women thrashed

India suffered a humiliating 1-7 thrashing at the hands of Germany to end their pool engagements on a disappointing note in the women’s competition.

Janne Muller-Wieland (14th),Maike Stockel (22nd and 44th),Marie Mavers (35th),Jennifer Plass (49th),Lydia Haase (54th) and Hannah Kruger (67th) scored for Germany. Vandana Katariya scored the lone goal for Indiat through a penalty corner deflection in the 43rd minute.

Fifth-ranked Germany got five penalty corners from which they converted two. India,ranked 12th,got two penalty corners which they could not convert to any goal.

The loss was the second in the group stage for India who ended with one point which they earned from their 1-1 draw against Belgium. Germany topped Pool B with nine points with an all-win record.

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