Junior Hockey World Cup: India must guard against complacency against Spain

Their campaign is off to a positive start, but India must guard against complacency when they face Spain in their second Pool C match at the FIH Junior Hockey World Cup in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday. Vice-captain Araijeet Singh Hundal emerged as India’s savior, scoring a hat-trick as India overcame some anxious moments to beat Korea 4-2 in their opening match on Tuesday. But India coach CR Kumar was not too happy with the performance and said his team needs to be more clinical and avoid conceding unnecessary penalty corners.

India conceded six penalty corners, while they got just two against Korea.

“We are very happy that we got the three points and that is the positive side. But we need to be more clinical in both circles. We conceded two goals in penalty corners which we need to be aware of,” Kumar said after The Korean War.

“We gave away too many penalty corners, six in the whole game, when we only had two. We have to be more careful.” India are aiming to secure their fourth podium finish in the event after winning the tournament twice in 2001 (Hobart) and Lucknow (2016).

The country had won a silver medal way back in 1997 in Milton Keynes, England.

Skipper Uttam Singh and his deputy Hundal are the only two players from the big event to feature in the last edition of the tournament, where India finished fourth in Bhubaneswar, losing to France in the bronze medal play-off match.

The Spaniards, who have a bronze medal in their kitty at the 2005 edition in Rotterdam, are India’s toughest opponents in the pool, with Canada as the other side.

But on form, India will start as favorites against Spain on Thursday.

India’s final pool match is against Canada on Saturday.

Pool A consists of defending champions Argentina, Australia, Chile and Malaysia, while Pool B features Egypt, France, Germany and South Africa. Pool D is the toughest of the lot, as Belgium, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Pakistan will compete for a quarter-final spot.

The top two teams from each pool qualify for the quarter-finals.

The Indians played an attacking game from the start on Tuesday and would look to continue in the same vein, but their defense will have to be careful against counter-attacks, which the Koreans used to great effect to win penalty corners.

Spain would also try to exploit this weakness against the Indians.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

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