The tournament entered the knockout round from January 22, starting with 4 cross matches. The top four athletes, who have made it to the quarterfinals and are enjoying a four-day break, will sit back to see who they face in the final eight. India, the second-placed team in Group D, will play against Black Sticks, the third-placed team in Group C.
The New Zealanders, who have only beaten Chilean debutants so far, have nothing to write home about in this campaign at this stage. Therefore, the pressure is on India, and the coach Graham Reid no bones about it.
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“They (New Zealand) have nothing to lose. All the pressure is on India’s shoulders, and that’s true,” Reid said at a press conference ahead of the next match. “I also support my players to stand up to pressure… My opinion hasn’t changed. When I first came to this tournament, I said we could beat anyone. any team, and that’s still true.”
India opened their campaign with a 2-0 win over Spain before being held to a goalless draw by England. That leaves the home team chasing the top of the table behind the English, who are ahead on goal difference. As it unfolded, India needed to beat Wales by eight goals in their final Group D game but could only win 4-2 under pressure on the scoreboard to finish second in the group.
Followed by information about the star attacking midfielder Hardik Singh was ruled out of the tournament on Sunday, after his hamstring injury failed to heal in time to feature for the remainder of the tournament.
India replaced Hardik with a midfielder Rajkumar Pal.
“Hardik is a good player and is in very good form. But Rajkumar, who has replaced him, is also in good form and is one of the future stars,” said Reid. Disappointing for Hardik, enjoyable for Raj. Those who have watched him play against New Zealand before (in the Pro League) will see some of the things he can do. So we are confident. It’s tough for Hardik but we have enough talent to make up for it.”
INJURY WILL FORG MANDEEP SINGH?
There may be another bit of anxiety on the Indian team’s mind ahead of Sunday’s game. Striker Mandeep Singh injured his knee in training on Saturday and was helped off the pitch.
He spent a fair amount of time in the leg-up position, attended by a physiotherapist. Mandeep did not attend any more training sessions after that.
Coach Reid chose not to comment on it during the press conference.