London : India’s rampaging form would be put through a tough test when they take on world No.4 the Netherlands in their final Pool B match of the Hockey World League Semi-Final, today.
India, ranked sixth in the world, are presently atop in Pool B with three wins from as many games, while Netherlands are placed second with two wins from two games.
But going by performance so far in the tournament, India hold an edge over Netherlands as they have so far recorded convincing wins in the tournament.
India defeated Scotland 4-1, Canada 3-0 before demolishing arch-rivals Pakistan 7-1 in their first three games.
Netherlands, on the other hand, beat Pakistan 4-0 before getting the better of Scotland 3-0 in their first two games.
On form, India are expected to give Netherlands a run for their money tomorrow, provided they can keep their composure on the turf.
With their place already secured in the quarterfinals, India would be hoping to keep up the good work and keep a clean slate going into the business end of the tournament.
Barring a few lapses early in their games, the Indians have been clinical so far in the tournament, controlling the proceedings in each and every match.
The performance of India’s forward-line has been outstanding with the likes of Ramandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh and Talwinder Singh showcasing their brilliance with the stick by scoring some fantastic goals.
The mid-field, led by a talismanic Sardar Singh, and also featuring the likes of skipper Manpreet Singh, has been providing ample support to the strikers.
In the absence of key players like Rupinderpal Singh, India’s young backline, led by Harmanpreet Singh, has displayed gritty performances and conceded just two goals.
India’s reserve goalkeepers — Vikas Dahiya and Akash Chikta — too have been brilliant under the bar in the absence of regular skipper and one of the best custodians of the world, PR Sreejesh.
The Netherlands, who are taking on Canada later in the day, will nonetheless start favourites. The result of the match will decide the leader of Pool B.
Going by the performances so far, it would be hard to predict the winner tomorrow as there is hardly anything to separate the two sides. The winner of today’s match will play the fourth placed team in the quarterfinals.