Hockey World Cup | Team India has set a trademark of playing attacking hockey, says Harendra Singh

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Hockey World Cup | Team India has set a trademark of playing attacking hockey, says Harendra Singh

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SportsCafe Desk

12/02/2018

Harendra Singh has asserted that the Indian team has set a trademark of playing attacking hockey in the last four to five months. Singh has also mentioned that the pressure on the team during the ongoing Hockey World Cup and he is of the opinion that they have to enjoy playing under pressure.

The Indian team will take on Belgium in their second Pool C encounter of the ongoing Men’s Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar. This will be an important game for the hosts considering the fact that the winner of this clash will probably finish at the top of the table in Pool C and it will get a direct ticket to the quarter-finals. The Indian team has been unbeaten for last eight matches and a 5-0 drubbing of the South Africans must have given Harendra Singh’s boys a lot of confidence for the crucial game on Sunday evening. The coach wants the team to continue playing attacking hockey against the third-ranked team today. India hasn’t got a great record against the Red Lions in the past but Harendra and his team will go into the game having all the good things in mind.

“Belgium has been a good team since the last 4-5 years, with good circle penetration. But the Indian team has set a trademark of attacking hockey since last 4-5 months. We won’t compromise on that but have to take care of the midfield area. We have to make them run after the ball. They can’t score if we have the ball with us. Belgium hockey, after they trap is good and they play vertical hockey, don’t give parallel or back pass. Our players will take chances in the midfield. When a mistake happens, our team has to defend that,” Harendra said ahead of India’s second match, reported Scroll.

“We have to remember that we have also done good in the past. If we keep reminding ourselves of negative things, it’s not good. The match in Rotterdam, World League and the Champions Trophy, we did a lot of good things against them (Belgium). So that needs to be shown to the players, and the team is prepared accordingly. What bad has happened is history. Our problem is we talk about past a lot and not think about the present. We have taken this team out of that thought process. We are not relieved (after opening win against South Africa). We have to enjoy the pressure. If you have to go (straight) to the quarter-finals, then Sunday’s match is [like] a pre-quarterfinal. We have discussed accordingly, one match at a time.”

The Indian coach also praised the crowd in Bhubaneswar ahead of the second game and said it is the 12th man for the team and the noise made by the energetic crowd at the venue puts more pressure on the opponents. The team was practising under the coach for last two months at the venue and he also had his own opinion on the turf at the Kalinga Stadium. 

“Crowd is our 12th man. Many teams (opponents) can feel that pressure. We should take advantage of that. If you become defensive after conceding a goal, the crowd also goes silent. But if you keep attacking, the crowd remains energetic. To stay in the game, we have to play attacking hockey. If your shoulders drop, you lose crowd support and momentum.

“If this turf is slow, it is for every team. Every major tournament has change of turf, FIH is satisfied with it. The women’s World Cup turf was the same as this one,” Harendra concluded.

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