Defending champion India is set to face Germany in the semifinals of the 11th Sultan of Johor Cup 2023 on Friday.
India topped its group with two wins and a draw. In its first game against Pakistan, India managed to secure a thrilling 3-3 draw. Speaking about the match, Indian captain Uttam Singh said that it put the team in good stead for the rest of the competition.
“With five minutes left in the opening game, we were trailing by 3-2 and we made up our minds to give it our all in the last few minutes and go one-on-one with the defenders in the circle and try to capitalise on the slightest of opportunities. Our efforts finally paid off in the end and we rescued a point from the game,” said Uttam.
“This result put the team in good stead, particularly in terms of our confidence,” he added.
Since then, the Indian Colts beat Malaysia by 3-1 and New Zealand by 6-2. The last time they faced Germany was in the Four Nations U-21 Men’s Tournament in August, where they lost both their matches by a margin of 6-1 and 3-2.
“Germany are ranked second in the world and we are third but the difference between the teams isn’t much and the team that performs the best on the day will qualify for the Final. It will be a challenging semifinal for sure, but we will approach the game with a positive mindset and aim to play to our strengths. Ahead of the game, we have been working on shoring up our defence while also looking at ways to beat their full press,” said Uttam.
Germany is one of the teams that will participate in the upcoming Junior World Cup as well. “Beating Germany here will be a big morale boost for us in our preparations for the upcoming Junior World Cup. We have enjoyed great support here in Malaysia with Indian hockey fans turning up for our matches, we request them to continue this support in our campaign,” Uttam signed off.
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