Hockey World Cup | Pool C is wide open, believes Harendra Singh

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Hockey World Cup | Pool C is wide open, believes Harendra Singh

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SportsCafe Desk

12/03/2018

After India ended its second match on a draw against Belgium, coach Harendra Singh has underlined the fact that Pool C is still wide open. The Indian coach also stated that there are no ifs and buts for the hosts and they want to have a target in mind in their last pool match on December 8.

The Pool C matches at the ongoing Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar saw a couple of draws yesterday as the India and Belgium game ended with a 2-2 draw, while Canada managed to hold South Africa to a 1-1 earlier in the Sunday evening. India are now at the top of the table in the pool ahead of the Belgians because of the better goal difference.

Both India and Belgium have won one game each so far in the competition. The pool toppers would be directly playing the quarter-finals while the teams at the second and third positions will have to play crossover matches. The winners of the four crossover games will earn a qualification in the top eight. 

"The pool is wide open, because Belgium is one up (+1) and we are five up (+5) on goal difference. Both of us have six-day rest. We will recover and regenerate," Harendra told after India’s second match on Sunday. 

"There are no ifs and buts for us. In the last game (on December 8), we will have a target what to do. That one match will decide if we play the quarters directly or go to crossovers."

India were seen struggling in the first two quarters before they came charged up after the halftime and till the last four minutes, the hosts had a one-goal lead. Harendra further delved into detail of the change in the pattern of India’s play in the last 30 minutes after the half-time during the press conference. 

"In the first half, we were running behind the ball, didn't have much possession. We changed the structure slightly (at half-time) and started shifting the ball vertically. That worked really well," the coach explained.

"They were trying to sweep us at the half-line and snatch balls. In the third quarter, we understood what's required.”

Speaking about the final few minutes of the match when Belgium equalized, Harendra said, "The ball was with us. We snatched the ball, we tried to run with it, should have passed. But don't call it misfortune.”

India will take on Canada while Belgium will face South Africa on December 8 to decide the final standings of the pool stage.

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