Connect with us

Sports

Manpreet to lead Indian hockey team at CWG, no place for Sardar

Published

on

Dhaka: Manpreet Singh
Dhaka: Manpreet Singh in action during the Final against Malaysia in the Hero Asia Cup 2017 at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium in Dhaka, Bangladesh on Oct 22, 2017. (Photo: IANS)

New Delhi, March 13: Ace midfielder Manpreet Singh is set to lead the Indian mens hockey team at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, starting April 4, while the experienced former captain Sardar Singh has been left out of the 18-member squad, announced by Hockey India on Tuesday.

The Indian team is grouped in Pool B along with Pakistan, Malaysia, Wales, England and will begin their campaign on April 7 against Pakistan.

Midfielder Chinglensana Singh Kangujam will be the vice-captain of the team.

It was under Manpreet’s leadership that the Indian team lifted the Asia Cup in 2017 followed by a bronze medal at the Hockey World League Final in Bhubaneswar last year.

Freeman and drag-flick expert Rupinder Pal Singh will form India’s wall of defence along with Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Kothajit Singh, Gurinder Singh and Amit Rohidas, while the goalpost will be guarded by India’s experienced goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh who made a strong comeback into the team during the New Zealand Tour where he displayed some exceptional goalkeeping abilities.

He will be backed by the 22-year-old Suraj Karkera who played a crucial part in the team’s good show in Bhubaneswar last year in his senior counterpart’s absence.

India’s midfield will see skipper Manpreet in the lead role, ably supported by the experience of Chinglensana along with young blood in Sumit and Vivek Sagar Prasad.

The Indian attack will feature a combination between experience and youth as S.V. Sunil, Akashdeep Singh, Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Gurjant Singh and Dilpreet Singh are all in the team.

Dilpreet Singh and Vivek Sagar Prasad who made their international debut during the New Zealand tour have been rewarded with this opportunity for a good show where the duo scored in important games.

Sardar’s exclusion comes on the heels of India finishing fifth under his leadership at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament. However a few eyebrows have been raised with Ramandeep Singh being dropped despite his decent show in the same tournament.

“This team has been picked keeping in mind the team’s performance in the previous tournaments since the Asia Cup 2017. We have tried out different combinations in the past events and we believe this will be the most effective combination for the Gold Coast 2018 XXI Commonwealth Games,” asserted Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne.

He stated that the team has a winning mindset and will look to aim for the best in the quadrennial event.

“This team has been improving with every match and while we could not produce a podium finish at the 27th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2018, it will have no influence on how we are going to play in Australia and we will be going there with a mindset to win,” said the 43-year-old Dutch coach.

In the previous two outings at the Commonwealth Games, India has finished second behind Australia.

Skipper Manpreet Singh, however, is confident of turning the tables this time.

“Our first aim is to do well in the group stage because we have some strong teams in our Pool. It’s extremely crucial to top our table and make the Semis but if we do meet Australia in the knockouts, I believe we will be up for a strong challenge,” the 25-year-old Manpreet said.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Sreejesh Parattu Raveendran, Suraj Karkera.
Defenders: Rupinder Pal Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Kothajit Singh Kadangbam, Gurinder Singh, Amit Rohidas.

Midfielders: Manpreet Singh (Captain), Chinglensana Singh Kangujam (VC), Sumit, Vivek Sagar Prasad.

Forwards: Akashdeep Singh, Sunil Sowmarpet Vitalacharya.

IANS

Sports

FIFA World Cup: Croatia beat Nigeria 2-0

Published

on

Kaliningrad (Russia), June 17 :Croatia went to the top of Group D in the FIFA World Cup following their 2-0 easy victory over Nigeria at the Kaliningrad Stadium here on Saturday.

Veteran striker Mario Mandzukic played his part in both the goals from Croatia, who now have three points. The other teams in the group, Argentina and Iceland, played a 1-1 draw earlier in the day in Kazan.

Croatia, playing with a 4-2-3-1 formation, expectedly controlled the game from the beginning. Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, playing in a two-man midfield, had their say in everything, making critical forward passes and stopping Nigeria’s mobility towards Croatian goal.

Croatian left winger Ivan Perisic had the first shot on goal as Mandzukic teed off a counter-attack but the Inter Milan man’s shot from outside of the box sailed over the cross-bar in the 13th minute.

Couple of minutes later, Andrej Kramaric then had his moment but he fired wide of the left post after being fed by Modric.

Croatia were mounting pressure with each passing time while Nigeria struggled to get into the box, let alone making a shot on goal.

Chelsea right winger Victor Moses was impressive but Croatia’s left-back Ivan Strinic, who plays for Italian club Sampdoria, controlled him well.

The first goal for Croatia resulted after Nigerian midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo deflected in a diving header from Mandzukic at the left post into his own net following a corner kick from Luka Modric in the 32nd minute.

Till the first-half end, Nigeria failed to create anything and hardly looked like getting an equaliser.

At the beginning of the second-half, Nigeria tried to push for an equaliser. They earned multiple corners but Mandzukic and his teammates showed their hard work to deny the Africans.

Then off a quick switch of play, Modric played a through ball to Perisic on the left and the latter fired in a swinging cross inside the box but Croatian right winger Ante Rebic’s right foot put a heavy touch for the ball to fly over.

Later, Nigeria tried to infuse attacking firepower by throwing in attackers Ahmed Musa and Kelechi Iheanacho. But Croatia were tight in their markings and cut down the spaces efficiently to keep Nigeria at bay.

The European team got its cushion goal in the 71st minute when William Ekong brought down Juventus star Mandzukic inside the box while defending a corner, leading to a penalty from which captain Luka Modric scored.

Afterwards, Croatia withdrew some of ther attackers to make it a heavy midfield and successfully defend their two-goal advantage for the convincing victory in the opening match.

Continue Reading

Sports

FIFA World Cup 2018: France beat Australia 2-1 in Group C match

Published

on

FIFA World cup australia france

Kazan, June 16: Midfielder Paul Pogba scored the winning goal for France, who overcame Australia 2-1 in a FIFA World Cup Group C contest here on Saturday.

Pogba’s 80th-minute strike, a chip which kissed the cross-bar before moving in, gave France the 2-1 lead after Mile Jedinak’s 62nd-minute penalty had cancelled Antoine Griezmann’s conversion from the penalty spot four minutes earlier.

Griezmann converted a penalty which was awarded after Joshua Risdon fouled the Atletico Madrid forward inside the box in the 56th minute.

A few minutes later, Samuel Umtiti raised his hand to a free-kick from the right, resulting in a penalty. Jedinak stepped up to successfully convert the penalty and pull Australia level 1-1.

IANS

Continue Reading

Sports

David Warner to debut in Caribbean Premier League

Published

on

St. Lucia, June 16: Caribbean Premier League (CPL) outfit St. Lucia Stars have signed banned Australia batsman David Warner in their squad for the upcoming season beginning August 8, the West Indian club announced on Saturday.

Warner will replace fellow big-hitting Australian D’Arcy Short, who was ruled out of the tournament after being selected in Australia A’s tour of India.

“We are excited to bring David to the Saint Lucia Stars. David is arguably one of the greatest batsman of the modern era and a winning player,” Stars General Manager Mohammad Khan was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.

Warner, who was handed a 12-month ban following his role in the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal, will make a return to competitive cricket in Canada’s inaugural Global T20 tournament for the Winnipeg Hawks later this month alongside his former skipper Steve Smith, who was also handed a 12-month suspension by CA.

The month-long CPL will also feature other Australians like all-rounder Shane Watson and Chris Lynn.

IANS

Continue Reading

Most Popular