INDIA: India defeated Spain 2-0 on Friday to begin their World Cup 2023 campaign at the newly constructed Birsa Munda stadium in Rourkela.
India is in Pool D with Spain, England, and Wales. The tournament’s format is that the first-place team advances directly to the quarterfinals, while the second-and third-place teams compete in a crossover round against the third- and second-place teams from Pool C.
Hardik Singh’s stellar game catapulted India to victory
The men in blue started the tournament with vigour and energy. Amit Rohidas‘ goal in the first quarter appeared to be merely a reward for their efforts.
The team then alternated between counter-pressing high and sitting back and countering the Spanish attacks, leading to Hardik Singh’s second goal. Hardik’s hard running, in particular, seemed too much for Spain to handle.
The blue team, reduced to ten players, was forced to play back-to-the-wall defence for ten minutes in the final quarter due to Abhishek’s unfortunate yellow card, but they did a pretty good job. India and Spain need to improve in certain areas of the game if they want to advance further in the tournament.
India had five shots to Spain’s five, 27 circle penetrations to Spain’s 25, with the majority of Spain’s coming in that final quarter, and six penalty corners to Spain’s three. However, Harmanpreet Singh’s conversion rate will be a problem, mostly because he missed a penalty stroke.
The entire midfield, including Manpreet Singh, Shamsher Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, and Vivek Sagar Prasad, played well, but there was one player whose performance stood out.
The performance of Hardik Singh was an art of flawless midfield play. Using his speed and dribbling skills to the hilt, he penetrated the circle, moved up when necessary, tracked back when necessary, and pressed when the team wanted to win the ball high up the field.
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