India to play South Korea for ninth position in hockey World Cup
The Hague (Netherlands): India will be seeking to overcome Asian champions South Korea in the play-off for the ninth position in the ongoing men`s hockey World Cup here, after they failed to improve upon their eighth-place finish in the last (2010) edition at New Delhi.
South Korea finished fifth in Group B after suffering a 1-6 loss against 2012 Olympic champions Germany in their last league match here today. The Koreans suffered four defeats and managed to earn just one point from a draw with South Africa, who finished at the bottom of the pool.
After losing their first two matches by conceding late goals, India were relegated to the fifth position in Group A. The Indians managed just one victory and a draw in five outings.
England, to whom India conceded a 69th-minute match-winner after squandering several chances at the other end, have progressed to the semifinals after registering 3-2 win over Belgium last night.
India will seek to avenge their loss to the Koreans in the Asia Cup final, and ensure that they slip just one spot from the 2010 World Cup.
Like India, the Koreans too suffered from conceding late goals in their preliminary league outings.
Bracing up for the encounter against South Korea, India`s chief coach Terry Walsh said the boys need to learn from each outing and need to look forward to the next game.
The coach said India need to work on penalty corners, both in creating more set pieces as well as in executing them.
"We`re not managing to force many penalty corners, that`s something we are looking at," said Walsh, adding that the Indian team also needed to work on converting the few penalty corners coming their way.
"We`ve been discussing this and also practising various things in training sessions, but goals are not coming from penalty corners in the matches," Walsh said.
Despite all the penalty corner training, India have failed to convert even one of the 12 penalty corners that they earned in five pool matches.
One goal was scored against Malaysia in a persistent attack after the penalty corner push was not stopped.
A good outing against South Korea should lift the morale of the Indian team considering the fact that the two teams will again meet in the Asian Games later this year, which will be the continent`s qualifying event for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.