Hardik’s injury not serious, say teammates

Hardik, who scored a brilliant goal from a solo effort against Spain in India’s opening Pool D match in Rourkela, was seen kicking a football with his right foot during training on Tuesday. He had suffered the injury during the second group match against England in Rourkela
Action during the Belgium-Germany contest
Action during the Belgium-Germany contest

BHUBANESWAR: India midfielder Hardik Singh’s medical report does not show any serious injury to his hamstring and, though he is doubtful for the match against Wales here on Thursday, he should be available for selection if the host qualifies for the Hockey World Cup quarter-finals, his teammates said on Tuesday.

Hardik, who scored a brilliant goal from a solo effort against Spain in India’s opening Pool D match in Rourkela, was seen kicking a football with his right foot during training on Tuesday. He had suffered the injury during the second group match against England in Rourkela.

“He (Hardik) should be fine. His MRI was done and it is alright. It was a small injury, his muscle stress was not that bad. He should be fine for the quarter-finals,” young striker Abhishek told PTI. “Cannot say whether he will play against Wales or not. There are two days left and it depends on how well he recovers.”

Senior midfielder Manpreet Singh said that Hardik would need a “bit of rest” and should be back soon. “Hardik is alright now, not very serious. But, he needs a little bit of rest. Hopefully, he will come back soon,” said former captain Manpreet.

Earlier in the day, Hockey India said that the team management would take a decision on Hardik’s availability for the Wales match after assessing the extent of the injury.

Belgium plays out 2-2 draw against Germany

Defending champion Belgium found the equaliser with six minutes left in the match, playing out a thrilling 2-2 draw against Germany here on Tuesday and keeping itself in the hunt for direct quarter-final qualification.

Cedric Charlier gave Belgium the lead in the ninth minute with a field goal, but Germany came back strongly and struck through Wellen Niklas (22nd minute) and Tom Grambusch (52nd, penalty stroke). However, Victor Wegnez sounded the board in the 54th minute to save Belgium from defeat in the Pool B match.

Belgium and Germany are on four points each from two matches apiece, with the former ahead on goal difference (Belgium – 5, Germany – 3). Meanwhile, South Korea came back from a goal down to defeat Japan 2-1 in an earlier Pool B match.

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