Kuala Lumpur, Dec 4 , The Indian Junior Men’s Hockey Team will look to kick off their FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup Malaysia 2023 campaign with a victory when they take on their Asian counterparts, Korea, in the first match in Pool C at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil, here on Tuesday.
The Indian team is going into this game with a lot of confidence as they have a better head-to-head record against Korea. Out of the six matches played between the two teams, India won three, Korea won two, and one match ended in a draw.
The last time both teams faced each other was during the semi-final of the Men’s Junior Asia Cup held earlier this year where India registered a massive 9-1 win over Korea.
Speaking ahead of the opening game, the skipper Uttam Singh said: “The wait is finally over for the World Cup, and we are very much confident of a good start. We recently played against Korea, so we are aware of the challenge, but the focus will be on us, on executing our plans, and playing good hockey.”
Meanwhile, Coach C R Kumar said: “The players have worked hard, and are fully prepared for the tournament. Korea are a quality side, you can’t take them lightly. We have to respect every opponent, it is a bigger stage, so we will have to be cautious and back our strengths to get a good start in the tournament.”
The two-time Junior World Champions India will then face Spain on the December 7 and Canada on the December 9, respectively in their Pool C matches. A top-two finish in the Pool stage will ensure a place in the quarterfinals.
Uttam, who was part of the Indian Team’s fourth-place finish at the Junior World Cup in 2021, stated that they will go match-by-match in the tournament. “As always, our focus has been to go match-by-match, and our priority is to get a winning start and then focus on the following matches to proceed to the next stage of the tournament,” he said.
The quarterfinals, semi-finals, and final of the tournament will take place on December 12, 14 and 16 respectively.