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Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 kicked off with Belgium defeating Canada 2-1 .

Bhubaneswar:28/11/18: Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 kicked off at Kalinga Stadium here on Wednesday with Belgium defeating Canada 2-1 .

The second match scheduled for today is between the host country and eight-time Olympic champions India and South Africa, which stands at 15 in FIH World Ranking. The Indian team is being led by skipper Manpreet Singh and South Africa by Tim Drummond.

The teams will play against each other after a gap of four years. India last played South Africa at the 2014 Commonwealth Game Games and thumped them 5-2. For four years, the two teams have not met. Prior to that, the two teams played at Delhi during the World Cup in 2010 in which SA lost to India 2-3.

During a press conference on Tuesday, chief coach Harendra Singh advised players to focus on basics and use the Bhubaneswar crowd support as their strength. “They must not take their eyes off the ball if they want to outperform the opponents. We know South Africa is quite fast on the turf and we will try to break their swiftness. We will have to play attacking hockey and regularly stop the counter-attacks,” he said.

India has been placed in Pool C along with World No. three Belgium, Canada and South Africa. To get through to the quarter-finals, India will have to top the group, for which, the first game is crucial.

According to Singh, the national team’s performance in its first game at the World Cup will give an indicator of its chances in Bhubaneswar — for everyone, the players, the fans, the media. However, for Singh personally, the biggest match will be in the quarterfinals.

“That game decides whether you get a medal or bow out of the race. There is zero margin of error in a quarterfinal. If we go past that, India wouldn’t look back,” he added.

Likewise, former hockey player Lazarus Barla said that all teams must have come well prepared for the World Cup and none should be taken lightly.

 

About Ashok Palit

Ashok Palit has completed his graduation from Upendranath College Soro, Balasore and post graduation from Utkal University in Odia Language and literture.. He has also carved out a niche for himself as a scribe of eminence after joining the profession in 1988. He is also an independent media production professional. He brings loads of experience to Advanced Media, Ashok Palit as a cineaste has been active in film criticism for over three decades. As a film society activist, he soared to eminence for his profound commitment to the art film appreciation and aesthetics of cinema. His mode of discourse is often erudite but always lucid and comprehensible marked by a perfect acumen so rare in the field. A film aesthete with an immense fond of critical sensibilities, he wrote about growth and development of odia cinema in New Indian Express, The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Asian Age and Screen. He has been working as an Editor for Cine Samaya from 2002-2004.. He had made solid contribution on cinema in many odia Dailies and weekly such as Samaj, Prajatantra, Dharatri, Samaya, Satabadi, and weekly Samaya.

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