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India set to take on New Zealand in do-or-die hockey World Cup encounter tonight

India is in a do-or-die situation to reach the knockout stage of the 2023 Men’s Hockey World Cup. 

By wasmulhaq 
Updated Date

Bhubaneswar: The hockey World Cup is underway in Odisha. Currently, India is in a do-or-die situation to reach the knockout stage of the 2023 Men’s Hockey World Cup.

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The Indian hockey team has to beat New Zealand in a crossover match to move into the quarterfinals. The crucial match is scheduled to be held at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar tonight.

The Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist side needs to improve its all-around game in today’s match. In the earlier matches, players showed a lack of consistency, especially in the “D” area. Poor finishing by the forward line up and struggling drag-flickers are a matter of concern for the team management.

Harmanpreet Singh will have to improve his flicks against the Black Sticks. The Indian skipper has failed to sound the board on a regular basis with his drag-flicks. He was below par in his penalty corner conversions so far, unable to either find the angles or the power to break the opposition wall.

At the outset, India is the firm favourite to get past New Zealand in today’s encounter. The last time New Zealand tasted victory over India in a major event was at the 2018 Commonwealth Games semifinal. This was the only occasion India went down to the currently 12th-ranked side in the last five years.

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New Zealand has not found its rhythm in this World Cup, but the team must be gearing up to put every ounce of its energy into overcoming the home side. India needs to improve in all departments.

Defenders have to keep their eyes on veteran Simon Child, who can create scoring opportunities as well as earn penalty corners to provide PC specialist Kane Russell to score goals.

India has the home advantage, and coach Reid and the entire team know the importance of today’s match. 

Indian forwards such as Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Abhishek and others have a chance to fire at the Kalinga Stadium and make sure of India’s last eight berth. Be ready to watch an absorbing encounter tonight.

 

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