India’s campaign which started off quite smooth will now look to enter a direct quarterfinal place with a most probable win against Canada in final Pool C match of the Men’s Hockey World Cup on Saturday.
World number five India is presently leading in Pool C with four points in two games ahead of Olympic silver medalist Belgium due to better goal difference. Indian has a goal difference of +5 as against Belgium’s +1.
Both teams Canada & South Africa have one point each from two matches that took place. North America is placed third with a goal difference of -1 as against South Africa’s -5.
India smashed South Africa 5-0 and drew the match 2-2 against Belgium in their earlier matches. Meanwhile, Canada lost 1-2 against the Red Lions before the hard-fought 1-1 draw against the South Africans.
While India is at an advantageous position at present, Pool C is still wide open. The hosts would not want to let any stone unturned and they would seek a good win on Saturday to ensure their place at the top in the Pool C and directly qualify for the quarterfinals.
The second and third-placed teams from the pool will have to play cross-over matches against number 2 and 3 teams of other pools to decide the final four quarterfinal places.
Going by records and form, India appears favourites to come out as victorious against Canada.
But as we have seen on Thursday with World No. 20 France defeating Olympic champions Argentina in a Pool A clash, anything can happen in ultra-modern world hockey. Therefore India has to play without taking Canada casually. A tinge of complacency can also prove dangerous.
Besides its better rankings, India holds a superior head-to-head record against the Canadian team. Since 2013, India and Canada have played five matches with the hosts having won three, lost one and drawn one.
Canadians have improved dramatically over the years, especially in their defense, which we have seen in the first game against Belgium who also found it difficult to break their backline defense and just managed a narrow 2-1 victory.
The more responsibility would be on India’s lethal forward line which comprises Mandeep Singh, Simranjeet Singh, Akashdeep Singh and Lalit Upadhyay to secure a good win.
The Indian midfield, which is led by its skipper Manpreet Singh, has till now produced a decent show, still, the defence needs to be more agile and careful without being complacent. India should play with keeping in mind the fact that the backline is infamous for crumbling under pressure at the end.
Giving late goals has been India’s continuous problem as it again hurt the hosts when their defence crumbled under pressure to give a goal in the last four minutes and gift Belgium a draw in their previous match.
Today, Indians will come out with a clear set of mind to ensure the comprehensive win against Canada and top the Pool C.
What time does the Hockey World Cup India vs Canada match start?
Hockey World Cup India vs Canada match starts at 7.00 PM IST on December 8, Saturday at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
What TV channel and the Live Streaming is the Hockey World Cup India vs Canada match on?
Star Sports Select 1 and Star Sports Select 1 HD in English commentary. Hotstar will live stream Hockey World Cup India vs Canada match.
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