Do India have it in them to turn around in hockey?

London, Aug 2: India's chances of bagging an Olympic hockey medal, it seems, will be deferred by another four years after the team went down to New Zealand 1-3 at the Riverbank Arena here on Wednesday. It was the second successive defeat for the former gold winners after they lost to the Netherlands 2-3 in the opening game.

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India at the moment is precariously placed with no points from two matches and if they lose to Germany in their third match scheduled on Friday, their hopes will remain confined to the classification matches. Michael Nobbs' men will not only need to win the remaining three matches (Korea and Belgium being the other two) but also pray that the other match results work in their favour.

Germany, the defending champions, although have not produced what they are capable of in their two matches played so far, but they have not lost to India since the 1968 Mexico City Games where they had lost twice. The Germans will look to improve their show after the 2-1 and 1-0 wins against Belgium and Korea, respectively.

India, who went down fighting against the Dutch, scored first against the Black Sticks but a horrible defence saw them conceding three goals and the match was virtually over before the interval. It seems the team was not prepared to live with the high expectation that was created after it qualified for the Olympics after a gap of eight years. Experts feel that good show that India had produced during the qualifiers was mostly against weak teams and did not reflect on the side's realistic chances. The Indians will have

India's problems have been too many to be overcome at the highest level. The team is over-dependent on the two drag-flickers, Sandeep Singh and V Raghunath and the forwards have failed miserably to convert the scoring opportunities. The defence is another concern and India have conceded six goals in two matches as against the top teams like Australia (haven't conceded any goal till now), Germany, Korea and Pakistan (one each in two matches). If Indians leave open space for the Germans like they did against the Kiwis, they will pounce upon like a pack of wolves.

The challenge is huge. Can India script a turn around?

OneIndia News

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