India vs Argentina Preview
The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup began as a biennial championship in hockey but out of sheer popularity, it was turned into an annual affair. It also happens to be a tournament where India have emerged victorious 5 times, placed second twice and finished third 7 times. The Indian Hockey team is set to begin their 2018 campaign against Argentina at the opening game of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
There are key names which are missing from the Indian squad. The likes of Akashdeep Singh, SV Sunil, Mandeep Singh in the forward line, Manpreet Singh in the midfield, goalkeeper PR Sreejesh and two vital defenders Rupinder Pal Singh and Harmanpreet Singh are missing from the squad which makes things a tad difficult for skipper Sardar Singh.
The fact that they are facing Argentina, is yet another intimidating factor, although coach Sjoerd Marijne refused to budge from his optimistic disposition. He even took the defeat of India against Australia in the practice match with a smile and was far from perturbed.
The current Australian squad is number one in the world and India put up a valiant 1-2 victory against them before finally succumbing to defeat. He much preferred to focus on the positive aspects of the warm-up match.
‘For the first match together with this new combination, we put a good performance and we will use this to prepare for the opening game against Argentina,’ Marijne pointed out.
Marijne seems to have it all planned out and is using this instance to make room for youngsters like Mandeep Mor, Sumit Kumar, and Shilanand Lakra to begin their time in the senior team in a major international championship. To Marjine, the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup seems to be the perfect opportunity for trusted figures like Sardar Singh and Ramandeep Singh to find a rhythm with the young guns.
Argentina, too, in spite of being a daunting looming figure in the hockey world don’t seem to have all their weapons in their arsenal either. If Indian fans may be slightly worried about missing some of the regular names that form the backbone of the team, Argentina aren’t without trouble themselves.
Recently, the much celebrated Carlos Retegui, head coach of the Argentine team recently resigned from his post which means the team is travelling without him. Previously, Argentina’s only Sultan Azlan Shah Cup victory came in 2008 where they beat India 2-1.
In spite of a few tricky obstacles that India seem to be facing, Marijne remains hopeful and technically, with enough reason. After all, India under the leadership of Sardar Singh, have never returned empty-handed from any tournament.
However, one can never be too careful and Sardar Singh is ready to make sure that no stone is unturned, taking the loss against Australia as an opportunity to learn from the mistakes that the newly formed team made.
‘There is no room for error when you play a team like Argentina and we cannot let their ‘Olympic champions’ tag intimidate us. We want to take it one match at a time and for now, our focus is on doing well against Argentina.’ said Singh.
After playing Argentina tomorrow, the Men in Blue will turn their attention to England, against who they play on Sunday.
India vs Argentina Match Timing
India will play Argentina in the opening match against Argentina on 3rd March 2018 at 1:30 pm and will be live on Star Sports 1/HD (India), Fox Sports (Australia), and Astro Arena (Malaysia).
India vs Argentina Live Stream Details
Live stream will be available on Hotstar, Fox Sports Play, and Astro Go.