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4:15 am - Tuesday November 21, 2017

Hopeful India take on Germany in opener

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Agencies, Bhubaneswar

A topsy-turvy build up in the wake of coach Terry Walsh’s sudden exit notwithstanding, the Indian men’s hockey team will eye a perfect end to what has been a productive year with the FIH Champions Trophy where they face Olympic champions Germany in their opening clash, here on Saturday.

Barring the World Cup disappointment, where they finished a lowly ninth, 2014 has been a relatively good year for India in terms of results in international tournaments. Under Walsh’s guidance, India won the silver medal in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games before clinching a gold after a hiatus of 16 years in the Incheon Asian Games, which also earned them a direct berth to the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Just before the Champions Trophy, the Indians also registered a rare away Test series victory over world champions Australia, which definitely would have instilled plenty of confidence in Sardar Singh and Co. But it won’t be easy for the Indians to realise their podium dreams in the Champions Trophy, as the hosts will be up against the world’s best teams in the eight-nation competition to be played at the newly-built Kalinga Stadium.

India are clubbed in a tough Pool B alongside formidable Germany, Olympic and World Cup silver-medallist the Netherlands and World Cup bronze-medallists Argentina, while Pool A consists of world champions Australia, Belgium, Pakistan and England.

Posted in: Sports

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