India, who lost to Belgium in the semi-final of the Hockey World League Final, will face the Netherlands in the bronze medal match on Sunday in Raipur. The match promises to be interesting with the Netherlands who are the defending champions and are eager to sign off in style, while India will also want to please their home fans by clinching third place, which may act as a consolation.
India and the Netherlands are no strangers as they were included in the same group during the round robin matches. India met the Netherlands in their last match of the group stages and the home team put up a decent display, but were outplayed by the Oranje, who won the match 3-1.
India needs to come up with an improved performance in their last match of the competition as they have a chance of winning a medal. Though India might have been decent in their last two matches against Great Britain and Belgium, the Netherlands are going to be a different opponent altogether as the Europeans are known for playing some aggressive hockey with players like Roel Bovendeert in their ranks.
The Netherlands also have a thing or two to prove after their loss to Australia in the semi finals. The Oranje are expected to go all out against India, who are going to depend on their star players such as SV Sunil, Ramandeep Singh, Sardar Singh among others.
India have played some good hockey in the competition, but their game in the final third is yet to hit top gear. Hockey fans in Raipur are yet to witness the home team score more than two goals in the competition, which is a shame considering how the men in blue used to score goals in the past for fun.
With the Netherlands expected to play an aggressive game, India needs to be quick on the counter and move forward in numbers to score a goal. With players such as Sunil, who is extremely fast, India have the ammunition to score field goals as well. However India have been in decent form in penalty corners with VR Raghnunath's powerful drag-flick being a major weapon for India.
India can gain huge confidence for the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympics if they manage to defeat the Netherlands and win bronze in Raipur.
After the bronze medal match between India and the Netherlands all eyes will be on the gold medal match featuring Australia and Belgium on Sunday.
Where to watch live
Hockey World League bronze medal match: India vs Netherlands, is scheduled for a 6:30 pm local time (1 pm GMT, 8 am EST) start with live TV coverage in India on Star Sports 1/HD and starsports.com and Hotstar.
UK viewers can catch the game live on BT Sport, with live streaming option on Watch BT Sport.