Salalah (Oman). After topping the Pool A table with an unbeaten campaign, the Indian junior men’s hockey team will take on Korea in the semi-finals of the Junior Asia Cup 2023 here on Wednesday.
The current Asian champion India has qualified for the FIH Junior Hockey Men’s World Cup by reaching the semi-finals. Their aim will now be to overcome the challenge of Korea and move towards their second consecutive Asian title. India captain Uttam Singh told reporters before the match, “There is a good atmosphere in our camp. One of our goals for the tournament was to qualify.” . FIH Junior Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023, which we have completed. We are one of the top teams in Asia, so it is important that we do well in the Junior Men’s Asia Cup as well. We have done well so far and will continue to do so. To do the same in the semi-finals.
He said, “When we prepare in the camp, we don’t know which team we have to face at which stage. So, we always keep our plans and goals in mind and any opponent. India opened the pool stage of the tournament with an 18-0 thrashing of Chinese Taipei, while in the second match they beat Japan 3-1. A thrilling 1-1 draw with arch-rivals Pakistan Later, the Indian youth thrashed Thailand 17–0 to top Pool A.
On the team’s performance so far, India coach CR Kumar said, “We have always had confidence in this team. We had a long camp and prepared well with the help of Hockey India and SAI. We have a good match against Korea.” We are looking forward to it. The team has done well in the tournament so far and we are sticking to our plans. We would like to maintain this momentum in the coming games,” he said. Enjoyed the tough game. The match and we proved what we are capable of.” Meanwhile, Korea is also in good form in this tournament.
They started their campaign with a 6-1 thrashing of Uzbekistan and followed it up with an 8-1 win over Oman. Korea lost 1-3 to Malaysia but bounced back to beat Bangladesh 3-1 to finish second in Pool B. The last time India’s junior men’s hockey team faced Korea was in the 2013 Hockey Junior World Cup. The match ended in a 3-3 draw. The two teams have met five times since 2005 and have won two each. On the pressure of playing in the semi-finals, Uttam said, “We did well in the Sultan Johor Cup last year and we are strong. Played well against teams. Won the title by defeating Australia. We have come here with experience that will help us in the upcoming matches.”