3 players battle to the key to decide the ranking match.

After losing to New Zealand in the crossover match of the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup, the Indian team will have to pull themselves together and face Japan in the ranking game. Japan, the reigning champions of the Asian Games, stunned India in the semi-finals of the Asian Champions Trophy in December 2021. So India cannot afford to slow down against them.

The biggest challenge for the Indians will be to overcome the emotional shock of being knocked out of the Hockey World Cup in front of the home crowd. The embarrassing effort against New Zealand is still playing in the minds of the players. Japan, on the other hand, will be eager to gain as much experience and success as possible at the Hockey World Cup.

Looking at this matchup, here are three player battles that could play a key role in determining the outcome.

Kentaro Fukuda vs. Jarampreet Singh

Kentaro Fukuda will likely lead the forward line for Japan. India The hope will be that German Preet Singh, who is also quick to get across the field, can keep an eye on him and not let him get away.

There is a high probability that Japan will target India in a counter attack. Since the German phantom usually plays in the field when India are attacking, he will have to ensure that turnovers do not leave the defense open.

Sirin Tanka Vs Akash Deep Singh

Seren Tanaka is the captain of the Japanese team and is their most experienced player in this Hockey World Cup. He will be pulling the strings for his team in the midfield. How successful he is can be directly proportional to his team’s prospects.

𝐮𝐥𝐥-𝐢𝐦𝐞: 𝐈𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐚 𝟑-𝟑 𝐴𝐰 𝐴𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐢 𝐢𝐧𝐨 𝐒𝐎 𝐒𝐎: 𝟒- 𝟓) A complete second half comeback from New Zealand and a tough shootout went into the 18th attempt, where New Zealand advanced to the quarter-finals. Overcome! #HWC2023📱 – Download @watchdothockey App for all updates https://t.co/TNHT2ZrN7X

In the last match, Akashdeep Singh Transitioned from his role as a forward to a midfielder, at least in the first half. It may have to be redone. Akash Deep has been India’s best player since Hardik Singh was ruled out due to injury. The fight between Tanka and Akashdeep will be very interesting.

Shota Yamada v. Lalit Kumar Upadhyay

Shota Yamada, the other most experienced player in the Japanese team, is strong in Japan’s defense. India’s forwards were poor in the Hockey World Cup, especially Lalit Kumar Upadhyay’s last game. After scoring the first goal, he hardly made an impact.

If Akashdeep returns to the midfield again and Mandeep Singh Limited due to injury, Lalit will have to play an important role. He got that chance against New Zealand but he couldn’t rise to the occasion. He will have to win against the experienced Yamada.

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Edited by Akshay Saraswat


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