The India junior hockey team open their campaign in the men's four-nation tournament in Valencia, Spain, against Germany on Monday. The tournament, where the Indian colts will also play against Belgium and hosts Spain in the coming days, is a warm-up ahead of the Junior Hockey World Cup 2016 in Lucknow, scheduled for a December start.
Coached by Harendra Singh, the Indian young guns come into the tournament after a good display in the Australian Hockey League (AHL) where they lost the bronze medal by a whisker to NSW Waratahs. However, getting to ply their trade against the likes of Western Australia Thundersticks, Tassie Tigers and Canberra Lakers, was an experience in itself for them.
"I think we have made good progress in the build up to the World Cup," mentioned Harendra. "The Australian Hockey League was a great exposure for the team where we played some really strong teams and reached the semifinal stage. This has given the boys good confidence and the way we are moving forward, a podium finish at the World Cup is a realistic goal.
"[Now] Valencia is a crucial tournament for us in terms of improving our tactical skills and to rectify the mistakes we had committed in Australia during the AHL," he added.
Midfielder Harjeet Singh is named the skipper of the junior India hockey team participating in the tournament. The India squad also features goalkeeper Vikas Dahiya, who was a backup for PR Sreejesh during the Rio 2016 Olympics.
India's opponents Germany, are the 2013 junior hockey world cup champions.
India vs Germany hockey is scheduled for a 11:30 pm IST start on October 24.
Where to follow
The live scores of the match can be followed HERE.