Olympic Hockey qualifiers: Indian Men take on Russia

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Bengaluru, September 9: The Indian Men’s Hockey Team will be up against World No. 22 Russia in the FIH Olympic Qualifiers for a place in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The draw which involved 14 teams was held at the headquarters of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) in Lausanne, Switzerland on Monday.

The FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers will each feature two nations playing two back-to-back matches, with nations drawn to play each other based on their rankings at the end of the last 2018 / 2019 Continental Championship, namely the Oceania Cup (8 September).

India had registered a sensational 10-0 win against Russia when they last played against them during the FIH Series Final in Bhubaneswar earlier this year. The Russian team, on the other hand, had won 12-1 against Uzbekistan, 3-2 against Poland and lost a close 1-2 match against South Africa in the knockout stage.

Considering they are a team who can be good in defence, Indian Team Skipper Manpreet Singh said they can’t take the Russian squad lightly.

He said, “As our Chief Coach Graham Reid says, we cannot take any team lightly and we need to respect every opponent. There is no room for complacency, especially because we have seen what Russia is capable of. The weather conditions back in June was challenging for them but it may not be the same case this time. I am sure they will come well prepared as it’s the Olympic Qualifiers and they are capable of surprising any team hence it is important we remain focused on our own performance and play our best hockey.”

Indian women’s face USA

The Indian Women’s Hockey Team will be up against World No. 13 the United States of America in the FIH Olympic Qualifiers for a place in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The draw which involved 14 teams was held at the headquarters of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) in Lausanne, Switzerland on Monday.

The FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers will each feature two nations playing two back-to-back matches, with nations drawn to play each other based on their rankings at the end of the last 2018 / 2019 Continental Championship, namely the Oceania Cup (8 September).

The Indian Women’s Hockey Team will be riding on confidence following a series of good performances in the recent events. Last year, when they faced the USA, India played out a hard-fought 1-1 draw against them to qualify for the knockout stages of the Women’s World Cup in London. India were 0-1 down when Margaux Paolino scored in the 11th minute, but Captain Rani levelled the scores in the 31st minute. The Indian team held their nerve and ensured a place in the next stage against a strong USA team.

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