Bhubaneswar: When India plays the third-place match at the men’s hockey Junior World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium on Sunday, it will face the dual task of developing its game while also avenging its loss to France. Also, this is the colts’ final trip to Indian hockey, and coach Graham Reid has one last chance to instil some confidence in them today.
Even as Cyclone Jawad threatens to interrupt the event’s final day, India will strive to salvage some respect by capturing a bronze medal following a humiliating semifinal loss to a stronger Germany on Friday.
“Germany showed what we need to be doing as far as defending is concerned. They were in front, tackled the ball well and tackled in groups. If you have to win at the world stage, the basics have to be flawless. We created opportunities but they were not quality ones,” said Reid.
The Australian also pointed out the tentativeness of the Indians. “Our decision making was not good. It was visible at all ends of the pitch,” said Indian Chief coach Graham Reid while accepting the flaws of the team.
India also lacked in earning enough penalty corners and making the optimum utilization of its talented drag-flickers. The home team must overcome these issues to get the better of France. “We have to come out on Sunday and avenge that first match we played against France,” said Reid.
However, the task will not be simple. Throughout the tournament, France has constantly done well. It battled valiantly before falling in the semifinals against Argentina in a shootout.
Despite Raife Gonessa’s ban for breaking the code of conduct following the semifinal match against Argentina, the Frenchmen would have the psychological advantage.
It will be India’s second bronze medal match, following their fourth-place result in 2005. It will be the first time France competes for third place.
In the final, six-time winner Germany will face Argentina, who last won the championship in Delhi in 2013. Only once before, in 2005, has the Latin American nation earned the gold medal.