Friday, November 25, 2011

Champions Challenge: India vs Belgium preview

World number 10 and seeded second in the Champions Challenge will face world number 12 in the opening pool A encounter of Champions Challenge. Indians which were deprived of practice games due to bad weather will go head to head with team which finished fourth in the recently held European Cup.

India vs Belgium in the opening game of Champion Challenge
Indian team which is already without striker Rajpal Singh (appendicitis), Bharat Chikara (knee) due to injuries are facing fitness concerns with VR Raghunath and Sarvanjit Singh are down with altitude sickness. Indian team are also without experienced Ignace Tirkey who was dropped from the team after Australia's tour. Good news for the Indian team is that Shivendra Singh who missed four months of hockey due to collarbone injury makes a comeback in the Indian team.

The main concern for India will be lack of match practice before the start of the tournament the match fitness of India's main striker Shivendra Singh. In the absence of Rajpal Singh, Tushar Khandekar and Shivendra Singh will have to take the burden of goal-scoring. All eyes will also be on young Yuvraj Walmiki who has impressed with his early performance. Indian team had a poor outing in Australian series where they failed to win any match in the whole series. All eyes will be on the performance of the team with Olympic Qualifiers on the head.


On the other hand, Belgium has brought a strong team (nearly same as EuroHockey Nations Championships) for Champions Challenge in bid to qualify for their first ever Champions Trophy. Belgium's best outing in Champions Challenge was in the year 2005 when they beat England to finish third in the tournament. In the last edition of the tournament Belgium finished in the last (8th position). Belgium who have already qualified for the Olympics will have less pressure as compared to Indian team who have still to qualify. Belgium who are coached by former Netherlands captain Colin Batch, are enjoying a dream run under him and are fully confident to beat the Michael Noobs Indian side in the the opening match.


Both teams would like to start on a high note by winning the opening game so that they gain early momentum in the tournament. All the practice matches of the tournament was cancelled due to LA NINA weather condition which brings rains in summer. This game will all be about early chances and the team which is able to capitalize those early chances will go on to win the game.


Following is the Belgium team for Champions Challenge:
David VANRYSSELBERGHE(GK),  Julien  SCHOO IANS (GK) Xavier RECKINGER, Jerome DEKEYSER,John-John DOHMEN Florent VAN AUBEL, Maxime  LUYCX (C), Benjamin VAN HOVE, Gauthier BOCCARD, Jeffrey THYS, Alexandre DE PAEUW, Thomas BRIELS, Felix DENAYER, Simon GOUGNARD, Loick LUYPAERT, Tom BOON, Jerome TRUYENS, Elliott VAN STRYDONCK

 Coach: Colin BATCH


To see the Indian team for Champions Challenge, click here


India vs Belgium will be shown live on TEN Sports at 6:20 pm IST.


















































































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