New Delhi, Feb 20: Their campaign well on track after massive wins in the opening two matches, the Indian men's hockey team faces its first big test of the tournament when it takes on an impressive but less-than-formidable France in the Olympic Qualification tournament here tomorrow.
Both India and France have made an impressive start to the tournament, winning their first two games but the hosts are ahead on goal difference even though both the teams have six points each.
After the 15-1 and 8-1 thrashing of minnows Singapore and Italy respectively, eight-time Olympic champions India will play their first tough match in the tournament when they square up against France at the floodlit Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium tomorrow.
From here on, there won't be any easy matches for the Indians as in Poland and Canada, tougher rivals await them in the competition.
In the opening two games, the Indians have toyed with Singapore and Italy's defence and scored at will and the home team would be hoping to continue the goal-scoring spree against France too.
If the Singapore match was all about India's forwards, the game against Italy yesterday belonged to their drag-flickers—Sandeep Singh and V R Raghunath.
Against Italy, India converted four out of five penalty corners with Sandeep striking thrice and Raghunath finding the target once.
India's forward line too was not to be left behind as it scored as many as four field goals against Italy.
After a timid show against Singapore, Sandeep stole the limelight against Italy with three powerful drag flicks and the lanky defender would be aiming to carry on his form in the remaining matches of the tournament to achieve his milestone of 12 goals in the event.