Junior Hockey World Cup: India braces for stern German semifinal test

India, the most attacking and defensive team with 132 circle entries and 17 saves so far, will have its task cut out while aiming to resist the German raiders until the last second.

India’s robust drag-flicking department must be eager to contribute to this in the host's quest for a spot in a second consecutive final.   -  BISWARANJAN ROUT

If keeping its defence intact was the primary task for India against Belgium, resisting the German raiders until the last second will be its number one priority in the semifinals of the men’s Hockey Junior World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium.

The way Germany fought back, scoring an equaliser in the final seconds of its quarterfinal match against Spain before going on to win the penalty shootout, spoke a lot about the six-time champion’s resilience.

India chief Graham Reid rightly pointed out the young Germans’ strength. “You never rule Germany out, whatever the situation. They have proven that over the years,” said Reid about the opponent, which has 10 podium finishes in 11 appearances.

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India, the most attacking and defensive team with 132 circle entries and 17 saves so far, must retain its composure as it did against Belgium.

Players like Sanjay and Yashdeep Siwach did a wonderful job to marshal the men at the back against Belgium. They will look forward to continuing their good work.

The last line of defence, goalkeepers Prashant and Pawan, blunted Belgium’s moves and would love to have another clean sheet.

The midfield, led by captain Vivek Sagar Prasad, will be eager to facilitate a fluid movement, and the alert forwards will try to make the most of the opportunities. India’s robust drag-flicking department must be eager to contribute to this in the host's quest for a spot in a second consecutive final.

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Germany, which last won the title in Delhi in 2013, will look to have a balanced approach. “We need to keep defence (as our) first (priority). We have to control India’s game and put our game through,” said Germany coach Valentin Altenburg.

The likely absence of penalty corner specialist Benedikt Schwarzhaupt due to an injury may affect Germany.

9th--12th places: Korea bt Poland 3-2.

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