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India need a Dutch upset
December 15, 2005 17:06 IST
The Indian hockey team's woes continue as they take on Athens Olympic finalists The Netherlands in their last league match in the six-nation Champions Trophy tournament in Chennai on Friday.
With just one win and three loses in the tournament, India will try hard to make amends in their quest to retain the fourth place finish they achieved in the last edition of the tournament in Lahore.
The home side will utilise Thursday's rest day to review their performance and rectify mistakes to avoid playing for fifth and sixth places.
Except for the match against Pakistan, India failed to add teeth to their attack despite the presence of the likes of Gagan Ajit Singh, Prabhjot Singh and Arjun Halappa in the squad.
Among the strikers, only Tushar Khandekar has played well, though in patches, while the others have displayed forgettable performances.
On the defence front, the Indians are badly missing former captain and ace defender Dilip Tirkey. Though Kanwalpreet Singh tried to take the responsibility in the Tirkey's absence, he lacked consistency.
In the midfield, Viren Rasquinha has played his heart out, but number one goalkeeper Adrian D'Souza has not had a good tournament so far and was replaced by Bharat Chhetri, who shone during the brief chance he has got in the match against Germany on Wednesday.
With Australia, who will meet last-placed Pakistan in an inconsequential match, having booked their berth in the final by winning all their four games so far, the battle for the second place has become intense.
The Netherlands are presently in second place, having seven points, followed by Spain (6), Germany (5) and India (3).
Holders Spain and eight-time winners Germany will battle it out tomorrow. However, the winners of the match will have to wait for the result of India-Netherlands match to know their fate.
While Dutch coach Roelant Oltmans wants to gain full three points from the match against India, Spain's coach Maurits Hendriks is hoping for India's upset win over the Dutch to enter the final.
Tomorrow's matches: Spain vs Germany (4.30 p.m.); India vs the Netherlands (6.30 p.m.); Australia vs Pakistan (8.30 p.m.)