June 11 () : In the men’s hockey World Cup , the Indian hockey team will face Asian Champions South Korea in the play-offs for the ninth position. The team has already failed to better the 8th position they secured in the previous edition at New Delhi in 2010.
The Indian team has tasted victory only once and drawing one in this tournament while losing 3 matches leaves them at 5th position in Group A. The team could not regroup from back to back loses in their first 2 games where they conceded late goals.
Their opponent South Korea also finished 5th in Group B as they lost their last league match against 2012 Olympic champions Germany with a score line of 1-6. Unlike India , they have not been able to force even a single victory and the best result in this tournament was a hard earned draw against South Africa which helped them earn the only point this edition. Of the 5 matches, they had lost 4 making it a forgettable tournament.
England having won the match against India when they conceded a 69th minute goal, defeated Belgium on Monday 3-2 which helped them progress to the semi-finals.
Argentina in the mean time has qualified for the semi finals for the first time by beating Germany who in turn will not be appearing in the semi finals only for the second time in World Cup history.
The four semi finalists are Australia and England from Group A and Argentina and Netherlands from Group B.
Korea, like India, had squandered winning positions by conceding late goals during the league stage. India will want to ensure that they do not slip any further and avenge their loss against South Korea in the Asia Cup Final. A victory will help them secure the 9th place, a drop by one position from their previous edition.