Jul 2, 2010

Netherlands v/s India

India will take on the mighty Dutch as the team starts its European tour with Hamburg 4 nations hockey tournament. Other two teams participating in the tournament are the hosts Germany and Japan. It will be a tough task for the Indian team as the teams they are competing against are very good. Germany and Netherlands are preparing for the Champions Trophy while India are on preparation for CWG and Asian Games. India has participated in this tournament four times in 1996, 1997,1998 and 2003.

India comes back in this tournament after 7 years. India had last times participated in 2003 and they had won the tournament under the captain Dhanraj Pillay. They finished at the last place in 96,97 and 98. It will be tough to repeat the performance because the level of hockey has gone down since 2003. So, it is upto Jose Brasa and his team to get as close as possible. This tournament will be a great learning experience for the team and the experience can be helpful in winning medals in Asian Games and CWG.

Indian team has a good blend of seniors and new faces. India will miss the services of Shivendra Singh who is out with an injury and Arjun Halappa who has been rested for this tournament. Sandeep Singh makes a comeback to the team and his role will be vital looking at the penalty corner conversion rate by the team in SAZ Cup. Rest given to Arjun will bring burden on Gurbaj Singh who has another creative player in the team. He will be helped by Prabodh Tirkey who is an experienced player in the team. Tushar Khandekar and Captain Rajpal Singh will have to play the role of goal scorers in the absence of injured Shivendra Singh. Hari Prasad also comes back to the team ( still could not figure out why?) after a long team and the selectors will surely have a look at his performance ( if they are interested).

Captain Rajpal Singh will find it tough to retain the team's confidence gained from the showing at the recent SAZ Cup while taking on the Netherlands in the opening match. But the good news for India is that the Dutch are bringing an inexperienced side to the tournament. The coach has only retained one player from the team which played the Hero Honda World Cup. Netherlands has rested stars like Teun D Noojiar and penalty corner expert Taeke Takema (thank GOD).

But Germany has a full strength squad for the tournament. The return of Christopher Zellar, who missed the World Cup in India due to exams will add to strength of the team. Also seasoned players like Oliver Korn, Christoph Menke, Jan-Marco Monmtag and Maximillan Mueller, have made the home team favorite to win the tournament.

Match timings

India v/s Netherlands (8 pm IST)

Germany v/s Japan (10 pm IST)

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