Misfiring India crash out after loss to Malaysia

Jun 24, 2017, 00:08
Misfiring India crash out after loss to Malaysia

Since only the top eight teams will rub shoulders at the HWL Final Round, the top four teams from London and Johannesburg will advance, but if the host India fail to qualify on merit, only seven top teams from both HWL Semifinal rounds will advance based on the International Hockey Federation's (FIH) current rankings.

Going by form and ranking, world no. 6 India start overwhelming favourites against the 14th-placed Malaysians. Razie Rahim, who opened Malaysia's scoring in the 19th minute, told HT: "It is a dream come true".

Barring Ramandeep and Akshdeep, no other striker could excel and the duo would look for more support from the likes of Mandeep Singh, Talwinder Singh and SV Sunil.

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Meanwhile, in other quarterfinals of the day, reigning Olympic champions Argentina will play Pakistan, the Netherlands will take on China and hosts England will square off against Canada.

Head coach Stephen Van Huizen, who was pleased to have achieved the first objective of the tournament, which is to advance to the quarterfinals, said his side will take a different approach when facing world number six, India Thursday, in the knockout phase.

In the women's event, being staged in Brussels, Spain bounced back from their defeat to New Zealand yesterday by beating Malaysia 3-1 in Pool B.

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Mirco Pruijser chipped in with two goals, while Robbert Kemperman, Jonas de Geus, Billy Bakker, Bjorn Kellerman and Tristan Algera all got on the scoresheet in a rampant display from the Dutch team.

Contrary to the drab first quarter, the next one produced plenty of action the scoring zone at both ends.

Down by a goal, the Indians went all out attacking in the last 10 minutes and had three clear chances to score. Tengku Tajuddin doubled Malaysia's lead in the 20th minute but India scored twice in a space of three minutes as the teams went into half-time 2-2.

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Malaysia continued their attacking game and got a great opportunity to break the deadlock in the 17h minute when a scoop from the deep found Nabil Noor alone inside the Indian circle but alert goalkeeper Vikas Dahiya came off his line to deny Noor.

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