Jul 23, 2021

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: New Zealand vs India Preview, Teams, Where to Watch

 A year late, hundreds of restrictions and no crowd. This is not how India would have wanted to start
Mandeep to lead Indian forward line

their Olympics campaign. However, with the world still struggling to control Covid-19, the team is thankful that they can break their 41 years wait of an Olympic medal. 

It’s has been two years since India last faced New Zealand. Coincidentally, last time both these teams faced each other was in Tokyo for Ready Steady Tokyo invitational tournament. India, with World ranking of five drubbed New Zealand 5-0 in the finals to win the tournament. 

Though India has a good record in the recent times against New Zealand, the games in international tournaments have been close encounters. In 2018, Commonwealth Games, while entire hockey community was expecting India to beat New Zealand, the Black Sticks stunned India 3-2 and reached the finals. 

In Olympics too, there is not a lot of gaps in the team’s head-to-head records. In the seven games played, India has won four to New Zealand’s three. However, in the last two Olympics events, 2004 and 2012, it is New Zealand who has come out on the top. In terms of goals scored, India has scored thirteen goals to New Zealand's eleven. 

Coach Speak 

New Zealand coach Darren Smith on Monday said, “It’s a strong pool but we’ve definitely been focused on that opening match against India as one we’d like to get three points from.” Coach Smith understands the importance of good start and said it is important to gain three points in the first game to build the confidence and wake it easy to reach the quarter finals. 

Meanwhile, Indian coach Graham Reid is counting on team’s resilience before the opening game. He said.” I am very pleased and happy how this group has handled things in last 15-16 months.” When players were stuck with Covid-19, the team handled and bonded well in those times. 

Read More: What do fans expect from Indian hockey team in Olympics

Key Players 

There will be keen eye on Indian captain Manpreet Singh in the first game. Manpreet who has been named as the flag bearer of Indian contingent will be part of opening ceremony which is expected to stretch till midnight. With the early morning game at 9:00 am (JST), it will be interesting to see how he is able to cope with the fatigue. Mandeep Singh, who would be leading the forward line as the most experienced player will also have to be on top of his game to help India achieve victory. 

Experienced campaigners like Hugo Inglis and Shea McAleese will dictate a lot on the field for New Zealand. McAleese who would be playing in his fourth Olympics will have to call on his experience to stop Indian forward line from scoring. He will also be supported by captain Blair Tarrant. Penalty corner expert Kane Russell who has scored 69 goals from 167 matches would be put to test against strong Indian defense. Jared Panchia would also be expecting to use his experience to cause problem for Indian team. 

Where to Watch 

Fans in India would be able to watch the game against New Zealand on Sony Sports Network. Doordarshan is also expected to broadcast events featuring Indian athletes. 

Olympics hosting rights in New Zealand are with Sky Network with TVNZ is also expected to broadcast the events. 


With Covid-19 cancelling a lot of Pro League action, it is exceedingly difficult to gauge how prepared are the teams. Still, we’d expect a win for India, albeit a close one. 


New Zealand: Mcaleese Shea, Jenness Stephen, Inglis Hugo, Edwards Steve, Tarrant Blair (C), Wilson Nick, Russell Kane, Muir George, Anchia Jared, Ross Nick, Woods Nic, Smith Jake, Lett Dane, Lane Sam, Brydon David, Thomas Dylan, Hayward Leon (GK), Findlay Sean 

India: Singh Manpreet (C), Parattu Raveendran Sreejesh (GK), Singh Rupinder Pal, Lakra Birendra, Singh Mandeep, Kumar Surender, Singh Harmanpreet, Upadhyay Lalit, Rohidas Amit, Kumar Varun, Sumit, Prasad Vivek, Sharma Nilakanta, Singh Gurjant, Singh Simranjeet, Singh Dilpreet, Singh Hardik, Singh Shamsher. 

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