London: India find themselves in an all-too-familiar situation wherein they not only need to win all their matches, but also pray for favourable results in other games as they take on defending champions Germany in a Group B fixture of the Olympic men’s hockey competition here today.
With two defeats, India are precariously placed in the context of qualifying for the medal rounds and another loss or a draw in the remaining three league matches will certainly take them out of contention.
In contrast, unbeaten Germany, who have not lost to India in the Olympics since 1968 Games in Mexico, are on six points, though both their victories were far from convincing as they struggled to get past Belgium (2-1) and Korea (1-0).
The Germans are known to step up their pace and level of play as the tournament progresses and this is what the Indians need to be wary of, for they will be punished for any slip-ups.
India’s performance, thus far, has been anything but inspirational. Though they lost narrowly to the Netherlands (1-2), who are in the midst of a rebuilding process, in their opening game, India had no answer to the organised New Zealand who won 3-1.
Pakistan, meanwhile. registered their first win of the London Games by beating Argentina 2-0, thanks to penalty corners either side of halftime.
“We just needed three points,” said Pakistan defender Rehan Butt. “It doesn’t matter if it’s with a two goal difference or one goal.
“Next game we are playing Great Britain. I think for Pakistan and for Great Britain we have the same feelings because there’s a do or die match for the second place.”
Argentina defender Pedro Ibarra, who scored for his team against Britain Monday, was doubtful of his teams’ ability to progress to the tournament’s next stage. “We had control of the game but we didn’t make use of our chances, especially in the penalty corners. We are going to have to work really hard, but I think it means we won’t qualify for the semifinals,” he said. “I am fed up.”
Wednesday, August 1
Australia 5, Spain 0
Netherlands 3, Belgium 1
New Zealand 3, India 1
Britain 2, South Africa 2
Pakistan 2, Argentina 0
Germany 1, South Korea 0