Thu. Dec 9th, 2021


One permits the ball to fly into the web. The opposite generates a lot tempo that the ball zooms previous the goalkeeper in mid-flight. And the third lets it kiss the floor and thud into the board.

Three set-piece specialists, three completely different types, similar end result.

If the Junior World Cup is a glimpse into the long run, then India’s penalty nook routines appear to be in protected arms going ahead. In Araijeet Singh Hundal, Sanjay Kumar and Sharda Nand Tiwari, the junior staff has three cracking penalty nook takers, with Abhishek Lakra being the fourth possibility.

Seven out of the 13 targets India scored in opposition to a hapless Canada within the second group sport got here from corners. The facile 13-1 win introduced the defending champions’ marketing campaign again on monitor after dropping to France on Wednesday. But it surely was the efficiency of the penalty nook consultants that stood out.

Chief coach Graham Reid would have been taking notes, on condition that the retirements of Rupinder Pal Singh and Birendra Lakra have opened up two positions within the senior staff.

On Thursday, Hundal and Sharda Nand stepped up when Sanjay – who has been India’s go-to man within the first two video games – wasn’t on the pitch. And he’s been remarkably constant.

Decade-old routine

He’s scored a hat-trick on consecutive days and in each video games, he’s adopted the identical routine: a go will get injected from the baseline, Maninder Singh stops on the highest of the ‘D’ and Sanjay flicks it powerfully, however by no means larger than knee-length, into the purpose.

Sanjay and Maninder, who additionally had his title on the rating sheet on Thursday, have been pulling off this drill for nearly 10 years. Sanjay moved from Hisar to the Chandigarh Hockey and Soccer Academy in 2010, the place Maninder joined him a 12 months later.

“We have now been enjoying collectively for 10 years now, so among the strikes we make on the sector are purely based mostly on intuition,” Maninder says.

The duo has been collectively from their academy days to sub-junior groups and now the Junior World Cup facet. In opposition to France and Canada, they didn’t have to even look as much as discover one another, and in penalty corners, they had been seamless. “It helps, enjoying collectively for such a very long time. It’s not like we completely observe quick nook routines however since we all know one another’s habits, it turns into simpler,” Sanjay provides.

Sanjay’s calm defending together with sturdy drag-flicks, which he attributes to the guidelines acquired from nationwide staff star Harmanpreet Singh, and Maninder’s potential to hustle defences have been among the many highlights of India’s first two matches.

However from the staff perspective, India can be relieved simply to return to profitable methods, given how little the margin of error is.

Crew gelling collectively

For all of the discuss pace and ability, dribbles and drag-flicks, it’s outstanding how one thing as fundamental, and significant, as communication is taken as a right.

In opposition to France of their opening sport, it felt like 11 strangers sporting an India jersey had taken the sector. Their silence was deafening, and mysterious. Most of those gamers have been collectively for at the least three-four years. Some, like Sanjay and Maninder, have performed collectively for nearly half their life. So have the trio from Tej Bahadur Singh’s Academy in Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh – Rahul Rajbhar, Vishnu Kant Singh and Uttam Singh, the latter scoring two targets in two matches.

On Thursday, the decibel stage from the Indian staff was a giant noticeable change. Goalkeepers Prashant Chauhan and Pawan, who performed alternate quarters, made certain the staff saved the construction and barked out directions to the defenders whether or not to go lengthy or play the ball quick. The defenders had been continually speaking to the midfielders, warning them if there was a man-on or in the event that they had been venturing out of place. And the midfielders would let the forwards know when to time the ahead run and when to trace again.

When somebody erred, they weren’t shy to present them a mouthful. And there have been just a few such moments, particularly when somebody would miss-trap or concede possession cheaply.

Canada weren’t skillful and sharp sufficient to punish India, who will nonetheless have to beat Poland to qualify for the quarterfinals. The defeat to France means the perfect India can do within the group stage is end second, which can imply a doable quarterfinal in opposition to Belgium.

The European staff, whose senior compatriots just lately received gold on the Tokyo Olympics, received’t be as type as Canada and can pounce on the slightest of errors the hosts make. And India received’t get a dozen alternatives, as they did in opposition to Canada.

However the few possibilities that’ll fall in India’s manner, the drag-flickers can be anticipated to rise to the event.





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