Pulsating tie on cards

Pulsating tie on cards

India take on arch-rivals Pakistan in final today

After their pulsating 2-2 draw in the group match on Friday, the stage is set for another thrilling encounter between the traditional rivals.

Rajpal Singh’s men is the only unbeaten team in the championship and with a goal difference of +7, it is ahead of the others in the scoring department.

“This team has handled pressure like pros. They needed an incentive and now the team has got it by playing a final. Whatever the result, we will throw everything into the match,” India’s coach Nobbs said.

Nobbs is very clear about the final that the Indians will throw everything into attack. “We don’t play for draws or defensive. We go for wins and we go for goals,” he said. If the Indian team management has to worry about something, it is the failure to convert the penalty corners.

India has had 23 penalty corners in the tournament and has only scored thrice.
Rupinder Pal Singh apart from scoring off two PC’s has also converted a stroke against South Korea.

“The problem is not about conversion, it’s about the rusher coming directly at the flicker,” said Nobbs. “It’s a FIH directive that the rusher should not run directly to the flicker. So what happens is that Pakistan is running straight to the flicker.”

But it’s not only about the inconsistency of rules. India has failed to trap the ball neatly for the flicker to have a go and against Pakistan, every penalty corner will be worth its weight in gold.

Pakistan captain Muhammad Imran does feel the pressure of an India-Pakistan high-voltage final.  “The public wants both the countries to win. Unfortunately, only one nation can win and that adds to the pressure. But we will go all out and ensure that good and attacking hockey in the true Asian style is played,” he said.

Shortage of shoes hits India 
The Indian hockey team is facing an acute shortage of shoes ahead of final against Pakistan. Manjit Kullu and Harpreet Singh has been playing with warm-up shoes after his only pair had split into two.

Sources in the team say that the shoes provided by SAI are not of good quality and they don’t last long. A good pair of shoes costs Rs 5000-7000 which is not affordable to many players.