India take on New Zealand in their first knockout round match of the 2023 men’s FIH hockey World Cup on Sunday at 7 PM. India are in this crossover round due to finishing second in Pool D (on goal difference behind England) as only the teams that finish first get a direct slot in the quarterfinals.
Advance, and India will have a quarterfinal on January 24. Lose and they drop into the classification matches to decide places 9-16 and that would be considered a failure for the current Olympic bronze medalists.
New Zealand are here after finishing third in Pool C — behind Netherlands and Malaysia: where Netherlands were a cut above everyone else, Malaysia vs New Zealand was a thriller which was only decided by a late Malaysian goal. They are a team on the rise and Graham Reid for one, isn’t underestimating them. “They’ve got nothing to lose from their point of view. All the pressure is on India, that’s true. I back my players to stand up under pressure,” he said.
India, meanwhile, have major injury worries. Hardik Singh is out of the tournament — and takes out with him the unique ability to run out with the ball and force play. To add to this, Mandeep Singh limped off with an injury after training on Saturday, which further complicates matters for head coach Graham Reid. At the moment, there’s no update on the nature of the injury or on his availability for the match on Sunday. Mandeep’s absence could prove a big problem too; he connects play in the final third like no one else in the team, and his experience could prove pivotal in the crunch atmosphere of a World Cup knockout match.
The match should be an absolute cracker — but before that we have the first crossover match of the tournament: Spain vs Malaysia at 4.30. Our live bog (below) will cover the first match before ramping up coverage for India vs New Zealand.
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