Champions Trophy: India face physical encounter against Aussies

Dec 07 2012, 14:05 IST
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Captain Sardar Singh and midfielder Manpreet Singh have gamely carried on playing despite severe limitations caused by the injuries. Captain Sardar Singh and midfielder Manpreet Singh have gamely carried on playing despite severe limitations caused by the injuries.
SummaryTwo Indian players will carry their injuries into the match against the Australians.

Injuries are India's biggest headache as they prepare to take on four-time defending champions Australia in what promises to be a draining semifinal encounter of the Champions Trophy here on Saturday.

Two Indian players will carry their injuries into the match against the Australians.

Captain Sardar Singh and midfielder Manpreet Singh have gamely carried on playing as necessitated by the call of duty despite severe limitations caused by the injuries sustained during the ongoing tournament.

They will again be out in the field as India try to stop Australia's title-winning sequence in the Champions Trophy.

Australia have a phenomenal record, winning four successive titles since losing the 2007 final to Germany.

In the hunt for their fifth successive Champions Trophy, Australia have fielded a very strong outfit and are looking to get into the big-scoring act that they have so far failed to produce in this tournament.

Australia have been content with narrow victories in earlier games, and it was their defence that played a crucial role -- conceding just two goals in four matches.

But they enjoyed good domination against England on way to the 2-0 victory in the quarterfinals. India, seeking to add to their lone Champions Trophy bronze medal of 1982, also banked on their defence in the quarterfinal against Belgium.

The semifinal against Australia is expected to be a tough game physically, and coach Michael Nobbs today took the team for a training session to iron out the problems with the forwards in the 1-0 win over Belgium.

"Our defenders were simply brilliant, but the forwards did not handle the ball well in the quarterfinals. These forwards have not been doing this in earlier games, so it probably seems to be a question of being out of position.

We've worked on that today," said Nobbs.

Nobbs said he was pleased with the team's show in the Champions Trophy, which India entered by virtue of a wild-card despite finishing last in the 12-nation Olympic Games hockey competition.

"Making the Champions Trophy semifinals has been wonderful after some disappointing results recently," said coach Nobbs, bringing into context India's disappointing show in the Olympics.

Nobbs complimented the Indian defence for standing its ground to carry India into the semifinals.

India defenders VR Raghunath and Rupinder Pal Singh played a crucial role in keeping India afloat and held on to the early lead despite the strikers losing he ball easily and putting the defence under pressure.

These two defenders and goalkeeper

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