After starting on a positive note the Indian Hockey team will be looking to book their place in the last as they take on England in a crunch affair on Sunday (January 15). The encounter at the Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium in Rourkela could see either team book their place in the knockout stage with a win after both started their campaigns with convincing ease on Friday.
India vs England to headline Super Sunday
Egged on by a packed crowd at the 21,000-capacity Birsa Munda stadium, India showcased superb attacking hockey in the first two quarters and scored through local hero Amit Rohidas from a penalty corner before Hardik Singh doubled the lead with a brilliant solo effort. Skipper Harmanpreet Singh and his deputy Rohidas then produced a defensive masterclass, which impressed head coach Graham Reid.
A win against England is important as that will take India one step closer to the quarterfinals. The hosts will fancy their chances against Wales, the lowest ranked side in the group at 15th, to top the pool, considered a group of death. England are one rung above India at fifth in world rankings and there is not much to differentiate between the two sides in the past year and historically also.
Last year, the two sides played three matches against each other with their last game, played at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, ending in a 4-4 draw. They played out a 3-3 draw in the first leg of the FIH Pro League before India won 4-3 in the second, both games played in April.
Spain vs Wales to kickoff Day 3
On the flips side, Wales will look to bounce back from their embarrassing 0-5 defeat to England where they were all over the place. Opponents Spain too will be look to register their first win of the campaign knowing anything less than a win could see them pack their bags early. Spain faced 0-2 defeat against India in the opening match but have all the necessary tools in the arsenal to get their mojo back.
What is up for stake?
A win for either side will see them keep their hopes alive for a place in the final eight while a defeat for either team could see them pack their bags. In context of the game, a draw would not benefit any of the two teams but while keep their hopes alive of a quarterfinal berth going into matchday three. A win for either India or England will see them all but qualify for the final of the Hockey World Cup.
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