Their shoulders are burdened with the weight of expectations but it won’t be easy for India to end a 43-year long wait when they take on the mighty Netherlands in the quarterfinal of the men’s hockey World cup, here on Thursday.
Boasting a rich hockey legacy, India last played in the semi-final of the World Cup way back in 1975 when they went on to lift their maiden title.
Of late, the game has witnessed an upward trend in the country but the history does not favor the hosts against the mighty Dutchmen, whom the Indians have never beaten in the World Cup. In the six earlier meetings at the quadrennial event, Netherlands deferred India five times while one ended in a draw. And if Manpreet Singh and his men get past the Dutch on Thursday, they will not only break a jinx but also rewrite history and ink their names in one of the golden chapters of the Indian hockey.
Going by present form and rankings, there is hardly anything to differentiate between the two sides. While the Netherlands is placed fourth in the current world rankings, India is a rung below in the fifth position.The last time India and the Netherlands faced each in the Champions Trophy earlier this, the match had ended 1-1. The overall head-to-head record belongs to the Netherlands. In the 105 games played between the two sides so far, India has won 33, lost 48 while the rest ended in draws.
However, the two sides have shared the spoils since 2013. India and Netherlands have faced each other nine times since 2013 four apiece while one game finished in a draw.
From Online Sources