The Groups for the Rio Olympics has been announced by the FIH. Indian men’s hockey team is placed with Germany, Netherlands, Ireland and Canada in Group B. India played with Germany, Netherlands and Argentina in the World Hockey League finals in Raipur too.
In Group A Australia, Great Britain, Belgium, New Zealand, Spain and hosts Brazil will compete with each other in the league stages. The Rio Olympics will be played as per new format which involves a knockout quarterfinal stage and India needs to beat Ireland and Canada to secure a place in the last 8 stage. India have performed exceptionally well in the World Hockey League finals in Raipur defeating Great Britain and number 2 ranked side Netherlands to clinch the bronze medal in the major event after 33 years. India have talented players who can surprise their opponents on their day. The Indian men’s team has good drag flicker in the form of Rupinder Pal Singh, Raghunath. India has a top quality goalkeeper known as Sreejesh who would be looking to produce some excellent performances at the goalpost.
Indian strikers like Ramandeep, SV Sunil, Akashdeep have great speed, skills to deceive the opponent goalkeeper and also have an experienced captain Sardar Singh who has a lot of experience. It will be his responsibility to take this young team forward and work on the weakness before the big tournament comes close by.
In the women’s section the Indian team has a tough task ahead as they are grouped with Argentina, Australia, USA, Japan. The Indian women’s need to play some exceptional hockey to qualify for the quarter-final stage. The Indian team – 13th – is the lowest ranked team in the group. They qualified for the Rio Olympics after a long time. It will be a big task for the Indian team to produce good performance.
The Indian men’s and women’s hockey team must prepare hard for the big tournament. The goal for the Indian team should be perform well and give a tough fight to the top teams. The Indian men’s team has an easy group, but no team should be taken lightly.
The Indian men’s team qualified for the Rio Olympics after winning the gold medal at the Asian games in 2014. The young legs have shown lots of promise and in the recently concluded World Hockey League finals tournament, no one expected India to bring the bronze medal. The Indian women team needs to work on their fitness and improve their speed to match the top nations this Olympics.