Monday, 30th October 2017

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Hockey fans pin hopes on home team

India will play the quarterfinals on Thursday. Knockout stage began from Monday.

By Our Correspondent in Bhubaneswar
  • Published 11.12.18, 12:35 AM
  • Updated 11.12.18, 12:35 AM
  • a min read
  •  
Hockey fans at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. Picture by Ashwinee Pati

Clinical performance of the host India to reach the quarterfinals of the Men’s Hockey World Cup has ignited the hope of the home fans who feel that India can win the tournament. Earlier, India had won the tournament only once — in 1975.

India will play the quarterfinals on Thursday while the pool matches of the tournament concluded on Monday. “India has performed brilliantly in the pool stages and won two pool matches emphatically. India is also enjoying full support from the crowd and we think this is a great opportunity for the host to lift the trophy,” said Rajesh Senapati, a hockey lover.

India had thrashed South Africa 5-0 in the first pool match, while it had drawn the second match against Belgium. The host went on to win the third pool match against Canada 5-1 on Saturday.

“The host had to content themselves with a bronze in Men’s Hockey World League Final last year. However, we want the host team to present us the best gift in the form of winner which will be memorable for the state hosting the World Cup for the first time,” said Anjan Das, another fan.

The organisers are also expecting full house from Monday when the knockout stages will begin. Cross over matches will be played on Monday and Tuesday to decide the four teams which will face the other four teams finishing at top in four pools. The final of the tournament will be played on December 16.

Former Indian captain Dilip Tirkey said that the host team has shown better coordination along with attacking instincts as the tournament progressed. “At the knockout stages the team must not commit any mistake and must perform in the way they have been performing so far. They must watch out for errors in the final moments. The host has also an advantage of tremendous fan support and I am hopeful that the team will create history,” said Tirkey.