Indian men to face France for Olympic berth

New Delhi: Already assured of a place in the summit clash, favourites India had to sweat it out to keep their unbeaten run in the tournament defeating Poland 4-2 in the final round-robin match of the men`s hockey Olympic Qualification tournament, here on Friday.

With this victory, India not only maintained a clean slate in the tournament, but also dashed Poland`s London dreams as the European side needed atleast a draw or a win to secure their place in Sunday`s final.

Poland`s defeat means 18th ranked France will be India`s opponent in the title clash after the later held Canada to a 1-1 draw in an earlier game. Contrary to the final scoreline, the Indians were made to toil hard for the victory by the Polish team.

Even though India had the lions` share of possession in the match, they were far from impressive as they wasted numerous scoring chances, courtesy some poor finishing from the forwards.

The home team also cut a sorry figure during penalty corners as they converted just three out of the nine they earned in the match. On the other hand, Poland utilized two out of their three penalty corners.

Credit must also go to Polish custodian Mariusz Chyla, who was brilliant and denied the Indians on numerous occasions.

Sandeep Singh (26th and 70th minutes) once again starred for India, converting two penalty corners to take take his personal goal-tally in the tournament to 11.

Apart from Sandeep, experienced striker Shivendra Singh (59th) and V R Raghunath (65th) scored the other goals for India. For Poland Tomasz Dutkiewcz (13th) and Miroslaw Juszczak (63rd) sounded the board.