Indian junior hockey team will begin its World Cup preparation with a clash against Spain in a four-nation tournament, beginning here Friday.
India will square off against the host Germany on August 19 and then England two days later. The top two teams will clash in the final on August 22.
The Indian colts had earned qualification for the global showpiece slated in Kuala Lumpur in December by winning the Junior Asia Cup in Oman in June.
India defeated arch-rival Pakistan 2-1 in the summit clash to become the continental champion for a record fourth time.
Vishnukant Singh will be leading the side in absence of Uttam Singh, who has sustained an injury during the training camp.
The captain said he’s confident of carrying forward their rhythm with a strong experienced squad at his disposal.
“We have strong and experienced players in our squad and we will hope to continue to perform in the same vein we have done in recent tournaments,” Vishnukant said in a Hockey India release.
“It will be important for us to get favourable results to gain confidence. The tournament is a good opportunity for us to continue our growth and to gain experience of competing against some of the best teams in Europe, ahead of the all-important World Cup.”
In their last meeting, Spain defeated India 3-1 in an Under-21 tournament in Madrid in 2019.
Since 2016, Spain and India have squared off four times in which India have won thrice, while Spain have won once.
Against Germany too India have a 3-1 head-to-head record since 2013.
In their last meeting at the Junior World Cup Bhubaneswar 2021, India had suffered a 2-4 defeat.
India will take on England for the first time since its 5-3 win at the Junior World Cup in Lucknow 2016.
This will only be the third time the two teams will take on each other since 2013.
“Spain, Germany and England are all strong teams and we have closely followed their past few games,” head coach CR Kumar said.
“Our primary focus will remain on implementing our plans and playing according to our strengths.
“We have worked on certain areas at the camp where we needed to improve upon, and we will stick to our strategies to get positive results on the tour,” he added.
India’s fixtures: August 18: Vs Spain (2.30pm); August 19: Vs Germany (1030pm); August 21: Vs England (1.30pm).
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