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Tokyo Olympics: Indian men’s hockey team up against Great Britain in QFs | Tokyo Olympics News – Times of India

July 31, 2021

Stung by a morale-sapping 1-7 defeat to Australia in their second league outing, India did well to recover with three wins on the trot. On Friday, in an action-packed contest against hosts Japan, they emerged 5-3 victors to go into the knockouts with momentum on their side.
In the quarterfinals on Sunday, the Manpreet Singh-led team will take on Great Britain, who finished third in Pool B following a 2-all draw against world champions Belgium in their last Pool B outing.
Against Japan at the Oi stadium, India went into a course correction mode, making an honest attempt to undo the mistakes from previous matches. They did meet with success, especially in the forwardline, which looked a much-improved bunch. Chief coach Graham Reid continued to make changes with Mandeep Singh and Rupinder Pal Singh rested for the game. Both the players will have a crucial role to play in the knockouts.
Aggression was the watchword for India. The forwards overlapped and interconnected well. The team’s baseline play too was noteworthy. The counters were quick and had the Japanese defence under the pump for the better part of the first three quarters. Japan’s ploy to play an open game exposed chinks in their defence and they were duly punished for it. India had an impressive 32 circle penetrations with 61% of possession. India’s first few shots at the goal within 10 minutes missed the mark, but Harmanpreet Singh put the team ahead in the 13th minute with his drag-flick caressing Japanese goalkeeper Takashi Yoshikawa before zipping into the goal. This was what India were looking for and they mounted relentless attacks.
Simranjeet Singh and Gurjant Singh (17th minute) collaborated to double the lead with the latter scoring from a close range. Two minutes later, a lapse by Indian defence allowed Kenta Tanaka to sound the boards. The see-saw battle continued with India mostly controlling the ball and Japan waiting to attack on the counter. On the other side of the break, both teams stepped up the pace but clearly India were the better team on the pitch. India will take heart from the fact that they found three field goals on the day.
Result: India 5 (Harmanpreet Singh 13, Gurjant Singh 17, 56, Shamsher Singh 34, Nilakanta Sharma 51) bt Japan 3 (Kenta Tanaka 19, Kota Watanabe 33, Kazuma Murata 59).

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