Punjab Gold Cup unfolds surprises

February 5th, 2009 - 10:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Feb 5 (IANS) Names and past records do not matter much on the field. At least that is what holds true for the ongoing four-nation Punjab Gold Cup Hockey tournament here.While Olympic champions Germany are at the bottom of the standings, still looking for a win, underdogs and 11th ranked India have fared well.

Taking full advantage of home soil, India have already stunned Germany 2-0 in one of the league matches. To prove that the win was no fluke, India twice managed to hold European champions Holland to well fought draws.

With two wins and two draws, India and the Netherlands have managed eight points. In terms of goals scored, the Dutch are ahead of India with 12 against India’s 10.

Germany is at the bottom of the points table along with New Zealand, the 7th ranked team in the world. Germany and New Zealand have managed only two points from two defeats and two draws each in the series.

Germany, however, is fielding an experimental side in the tournament with only four players of the Beijing Olympics side.

With Germany and New Zealand faring poorly, spectators are expecting India and the Netherlands to go through to the final Monday.

India play Germany while the Netherlands face New Zealand Friday.

“We have some strategies for our opponents in the next league matches. Prabhjot Singh is my trump card as he possesses the talent to change the game at any point,” said India’s coach in-charge Harender Singh.

“We are taking the remaining league matches very seriously as the series is still open and anything can happen.”

The Netherlands coach Michel Heuvel said the team has emerged as India’s main opponent in the series. “My boys took time to adjust to Indian conditions. Both the drawn ties with India were hard-fought and a learning experience for us.”

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