India are now up against New Zealand in the must-win crossover match.© Twitter
A below-par show against debutants Wales denying them a direct quarterfinal berth, hosts India would look to address their attacking woes against a plucky New Zealand for a place in the last-eight stage of the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup on Sunday. India needed to beat Wales — eight places below them in world rankings — by a margin of eight goals to top Pool D and qualify directly for the quarterfinals but the home side could only notch up a 4-2 win on Thursday, as the forwards lacked in finishing.
India are now up against New Zealand in the must-win crossover match. The Black Sticks finished third in Pool C with a win and two losses.
Currently ranked 12th in the world as against India’s sixth position, New Zealand — who have never reached the semifinals — have also not done anything extraordinary in the tournament and the home side definitely would start as favourites in front of an expected jampacked Kalinga Stadium.
India’s key midfielder Hardik Singh has been ruled out of the remainder of the tournament after he failed to recover from his hamstring injury sustained in the match against England on January 15.