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India aspire for good show against Australia

Their campaign passing along smoothly, India will now look to upstage fancied world champions Australia in their last preliminary match of the World League semifinals tomorrow.

India's show against Australia will go a long way in deciding the final pool positions, with Pakistan staying in the frame after the subcontinental encounter yesterday ended in a 2-2 draw.

India have managed two narrow victories ahead of the draw against Pakistan, while Australia have posted impressive victories in all their outings, including a 6-1 drubbing of Pakistan.

India's new coach Paul van Ass, the former Dutch national coach, is hopeful that his wards will showcase their skills against the best outfit in contemporary hockey.

Australia last year completed a hat-trick of World Cup victories at The Hague and became the first country to win title trice in a row -- at Monchengladbach, New Delhi and The Hague.

Fielding several young players here with the focus on testing the junior in top-level competitions and also a spate of injuries, India have the luxury of going into the contest with little at stake.

The Asian Games gold medal in Incheon has already secured India's passage to the 2016 Olympics, while for several teams the ongoing World League Semifinals are the last chance to qualify for Rio de Janeiro's Olympic Games.

"Let's be fair, Australia are No. 1 and India are ranked No. 9 in the world," said coach van Ass as he assessed India's chances against Australia.

Indian captain Sardar Singh says his players are improving with every outing.

"We are drawing inspiration from our win over Australia in the Azlan Shah Cup two months ago," said Sardar, referring to India's 4-2 win following which Australia have inducted all top players in the side.

"The young players are relishing the opportunity, and we're playing well as a unit," said Sardar, whose team is here without both seasoned penalty corner shooters.