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Gritty India face stern Australia test in last-8 of Hero Hockey World League Final

Tuesday, 14 January 2014 - 4:57pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

The morale-boosting draw against Olympic champions Germany has done a world of good to their confidence as hosts India face a Herculean task when they square off with World Champions Australia in the quarterfinals of the Hero Hockey World League Final, here tomorrow.

After back-to-back defeats against higher-ranked England and New Zealand in their opening two Pool A games, a struggling India gave the home fans something to cheeer about and dished out a spirited performance to hold world number one Germany to a 3-3 draw at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium yesterday.

If India's opening two outings were horrible in terms of performance, they came up with much-improved performance in their last pool match to hold the mighty Germans.

Unlike their previous two games, the Indians looked far more organised and co-ordinated in both attack and defence against Germany. Sardar and Co were a better side on display throughout the match yesterday.

Had it not been for a late defensive lapse from skipper Sardar, India could have stunned Germany last night.

The Indian midfield and the forward line combined well to create a number of opportunities, which were missing in the first two games against England and New Zealand.

The defence, which is India's perennial problem, too lived upto the expectations to deny Germany any major inroads.

And come tomorrow, India would be hoping for a repeat performance, if not better, to give themselves a chance against the Kookaburras, coached by legendary Ric Charlesworth.

But one thing which will continue to haunt India's chief coach Terry Walsh is the ordinary showing of his dragflickers.

Insipite of having three specialist dragflickers in the team in VR Raghunath, Rupinderpal Singh and Amit Rohitdas, India have not been upto the mark with penalty corner conversions so far in the eight-nation event.

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