India Opens Their Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Campaign Against Argentina

| March 3 , 2018 , 14:17 IST

India takes on World No. 2 Argentina in the opening game of 27th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey in Ipoh on Saturday.

Even though the team lost their warm-up match against Australia by 2-1, coach Sjoerd Marijne was optimistic. Vice-captain Ramandeep Singh scored the lone goal.

India last played against Argentina in the World League Final in Bhubaneswar where the hosts lost a place in the title-round after losing 0-1.

“Like I have said in the past, I don’t consider that result as the playing conditions were not normal. We played in incessant rain and the only thing we learnt from that match against Argentina is that they were better in such conditions,” stated Marijne.

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2016 Rio Olympics Champions Argentina will be without the services of celebrated coach Carlos Retegui who has resigned. It was under him Argentina won the only Sultan Azlan Cup in 2008 beating India 2-1 in the finals.

The Indian captain Sardar Singh has a record of always bringing a medal whenever he led the team in Sultan Azlan Cup and is positive before the start of the tournament.

“While a winning start is what we look for, it’s important for the team to execute the structure we want to play in. There is no room for error when you play a team like Argentina and we cannot let their ‘Olympic champions’ tag intimidate us. I am hopeful we will stitch together a good performance,” stated the 31-year-old skipper.

He makes a return to the team after being left out of the World Hockey League in Bhubaneshwar.

India's Starting XI:

Sardar Singh, Surendar Kumar, Gurjant Singh, Sannuvandha Uthappa, Sumit, Krishan Pathak (GK), Varun Kumar, Nilam Xess, Sumit Kumar, Amit Rohidas, Ramandeep Singh