Hockey World Cup: Pride at stake for India
India could end up with their worst-ever placing in the FIH Men’s World Cup if they lose their 9th-16th classification match against Japan here on Thursday.
A loss to the 2018 Asian Games gold medallists could push the hosts to play the 13th16th classification match on Saturday against a yet-to-be-decided opponent.
India’s worst-ever placing in the 14 previous editions of the World Cup is 12th and last — at London in 1986.
In the ongoing edition, 16 teams are competing as against 12 in 1986.
While India may not finish last even if they lose to Japan on Thursday, the loss will take the hosts to their worst placing ever, which will be between 13 and 16.
India had lost the crossover match to New Zealand, ranked six places below them, in sudden death at Bhubaneswar on Sunday.
The hosts had squandered a two-goal lead on two occasions as the match ended in a 3-3 stalemate in regulation time. The Harmanpreet Singh-led side lost the shootout 4-5.
In Bhubaneswar, Germany, after being 0-2 down for the first 56 minutes of the game, came back to make it 2-2 at the end of regulation time and then beat England 4-3 in the shoot-out to march into the semi-final.
In another game, the Netherlands turned out to be too good for the Koreans who had upset Argentina in their last game. The Dutch won 5-1 to make it to yet another semi-final of a World Cup.
The four semi-finalists of the tournament are Australia, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.