India take on reigning Olympic champions Argentina in the semi-final of Hockey World League Finals 2016/17 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Friday, December 8.
The hosts were completely outplayed in the group stages despite a spirited opening-day draw against defending champions Australia. The Manpreet Singh-led side were outplayed 3-2 by England and were crushed 2-0 by Germany as they finished on the bottom of Pool B.
Confidence-boosting show against Belgium
However, the sixth-ranked Asian champions came up with a resurgent performance in the quarter-final against world number three Belgium, stunning them 3-2 in the shootout. Buoyed by the home crowd, India switched to a fast-paced game, in which they were putting relentless pressure on the Belgian backline.
India were also able to convert chances better, which came as a big relief to coach Sjoerd Marine, who watched the team failing to fire consistently in the group stages. Rupinder Pal Singh was in top form on Wednesday as he not just dictated play but also scored a crucial third goal inside regular time.
On the other hand, Argentina have also been lacklustre so far in the ongoing tournament. The world number one side failed to win even a single game in the group stages and managed to survive a late threat from England in the quarter-final on Thursday, December 7.
India, who are heading into Friday's semi-final, with an extra day's rest will be looking to enter their maiden final of the tournament. The 2015 bronze medallists will be pumped up after their win over Belgium.
Argentina wary of India
Meanwhile, Argentina attacker Lucas Vila has said his team is wary of the threat India can pose on the big day. The veteran, who made his 200th senior international appearance on Thursday, stressed on the need to be alert to counter-attacks from the host nation.
"It is going to be tough. We watched India's match (against Belgium) yesterday and they go really direct to goal, they want to score every time. We need to be smart to their counters, and we have to use our penalty corner more, which could be the key," Vila said, as quoted by the tournament's official website.
When does the match start and how to watch it live
The HWL 2016/7 Finals semi-final between India and Argentina will start at 7:30 pm local time, 2 pm GMT.
Live streaming and TV coverage
India: TV: Star Sports 1/HD; Live streaming: Hotstar
Argentina: ESPN Sur, YouTube PPV
Netherlands: NOS and Ziggo
Belgium: Telenet, YouTube PPV
Spain: YouTube PPV
Australia: TV: Fox Sports; Live streaming: Foxtel Watch
England: BT Sport
Rest of World: YouTube PPV