Defending Champions India Face Japan In Semifinal

Story Highlights
  • Japan's motive will be to avenge the 6-0 loss.
  • 18 matches have been played between India and Japan.
  • India finished on top of the standing after garnering 10 points from four matches.

Dhaka: Defending champions India take on Japan in the semifinal of the Asian Champions Trophy men’s hockey tournament in Dhaka, on Tuesday. India, who also bagged bronze in this year’s Olympic men’s hockey tournament, will be eyeing to seal a berth in the finals. Both sides have already faced each other once in the tournament when India thrashed Japan 6-0 in their last round-robin fixture. India will be aiming to build on their fine run in this tournament after having ended the round-robin stage at the top of the standings with 10 points, ahead of Korea (6), Japan (5), Pakistan (5) and hosts Bangladesh (0).

India finished on top of the standing after garnering 10 points from four matches. India had three wins, including one against arch-rivals Pakistan. Japan managed to make the semifinals by ending fourth in the five-nation championship. Japan finished with five points with a win, two losses and a draw. On the form, India looks good to make Wednesday’s final but they must guard against complacency. After a 2-2 draw against Korea in their first match of the tournament, joint defending champions India scored convincing wins against Bangladesh (9-0), Pakistan (3-1) and then Japan.

Until the semifinals, India’s star drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh was the highest goal scorer with six. Dilpreet Singh (4) and Jarmanpreet Singh (3) have also been prolific in the Asian Champions Trophy hockey 2021. Japan, as hosts, had qualified for Tokyo Olympics but finished last in the group that also had India. In five matches, JPN lost four and drew one. In Tokyo 2020, India beat Japan 5-3 in their last group game to progress to the knockouts.

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