India look to redeem pride against Argentina in 9-12 play-offs

PTI| Updated: Dec 11, 2013, 15:46 PM IST

New Delhi: Their dreams shattered after crashing out of the Hero Junior Men`s Hockey World Cup, India would look to redeem some pride and finish inside the top 10 bracket when they take on Argentina in the 9th-12th classification match here at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium, here on Thursday.

India crashed out of the quarterfinal race of the ongoing World Cup after being held to a 3-3 draw by Korea in their must-win Pool C match last night.

The draw meant both India and Korea finished their pool engagement with four points apiece and it was not enough for the home team to march forward as they needed nothing less than a win.

The draw, however, was more than enough for the Koreans to progress to the knock-out stage as they had a better goal difference than the hosts. Korea finished second, while The Netherlands topped the pool with three wins from as many games. The Dutch thrashed lowly Canada 7-0 in their last league encounter yesterday.

The Indians only had themselves to blame for the current scenario as they allowed Korea to come from 1-3 down to draw the match in the last 12 minutes of the match. Fully aware that only a win would guarantee them a place in the knockout stage, India started on a positive note against the nimble-footed Koreans yesterday and despite trailing 1-0 at the initial stages, the hosts fought back to lead 3-1 till the last minutes of the game. But as it had been the story in the tournament for India, moments of lapse in concentration from the Indian defence allowed Korea to claw back and drew parity. Thereafter, the Korean backline defended in numbers to shut the door on the Indians.

And come tomorrow it will be a test of character for the Manpreet Singh-led side to get their act together and rejuvenate themselves to face Aregentina in the play-offs of the tournament, which they fancied to finish on the podium before home crowd.