Hockey World Cup 2023: India set for a do-or-die match
Former India captain Rajpal Singh praised Team India's defence and said that responsibility will be on the forward line to score as many goals as possible and have a maximum number of penalties in order to top the pool in the FIH Men's Hockey World Cup 2023. India's game against Wales is nothing less than a do-or-die encounter for Harmanpreet Singh-led team.
India is currently placed second in Pool D behind England with both teams having four points each in two games but the English side is ahead due to a better goal difference. To top the group and confirm direct qualification for the quarterfinals, India may need to beat Wales by a large margin in its final group match in Bhubaneswar on January 19.
However, midfielder Hardik Singh will undergo an MRI scan in Bhubaneswar as on the match on January 15 against England he was reportedly helped off the field after suffering a hamstring injury.
"India is a balanced team so if any player gets injured then bench strength is pretty well balanced. The replacement is on the same level. In the match against Wales, the responsibility will be on the forward line to score a maximum number of goals and have a maximum number of penalties in order to top the pool. So, I feel it will be a crucial match for the forward line," Rajpal Singh said.
The 24-year-old midfielder has been in terrific form as he scored a brilliant solo goal in the match against Spain in the first Pool D match played at Birsa Munda Stadium in Rourkela where the hosts won 2-0.
"On the basis of the MRI results, the team management will assess the extent of his hamstring injury and take a call on his availability for the India Vs Wales match. At the moment no replacement request has been put forward to the FIH," Hockey India said in an official statement.
India started their 2023 Hockey World Cup campaign with a 2-0 victory over Spain, earning them three crucial points in the Group D clash at the Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium in Rourkela on January 13.