After registering India’s first victory since the 2004 Athens Olympics with a hard-fought 3-2 win over Ireland in the opening match, the PR Sreejesh-led team will take on the reigning Olympic Champions Germany in a match on Monday, which promises to be an exciting encounter.
Against Germany, India held their nerve at the FIH Champions Trophy where they had an early lead of 3-1 until the third quarter, but a few defensive errors in the last quarter had forced a draw. It was an inspired performance by the Indian team though Germany was not playing its full squad in London.
The Olympic Games is different, and India will have to go all-out, giving more than their 100 percent to get past Germany and stamp a victory. “I have studied them in Champions Trophy and they are a very strong team. But I do see some opportunities in the game for us and to execute it, we will have to give more than our 100 percent,” stated Chief Coach Roelant Oltmans post the opening match victory on Saturday.
He also insisted on going back and watching the video of the match against Ireland on Saturday to take learnings from the game and ensure the team is ready for the German side that beat Canada 6-2 in their opening game on Saturday. “A win is a win and I don’t wish to talk about the mistakes. We had tweaked the team’s structure a bit to counter the Irishmen. I am happy the boys stuck to the plan and executed it. Playing Germany will be different and we will need a different game plan,” Oltmans said.
However, India’s campaign against them did not go as planned in the recently held Six Nations Tournament in Valencia, Spain, where the team lost 0-4 to a full strength German squad.
India last won a match against Germany in the Olympics in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games where the Indian team beat them 3-0 in the opening match. In Sydney and Athens, India never played the Germans as they figured in different pools however in 2012 London Olympics, Germany beat India 5-2.
We are pumped up and we always enjoy taking on big teams like Germany.
Can India produce another historic win against Germans? Well, the Captain is optimistic. “Though we won narrowly against Ireland, the team is motivated as we have started on a winning note and have earned three points. We are pumped up and we always enjoy taking on big teams like Germany. I am sure we will put up a tough fight against them,” said Sreejesh.
The strong German squad comprises of five Olympic Gold medalists from London, and midfielder-turned-defender Moritz Fürste who is considered amongst the best players in the world. The 22-year-old attacker Christopher Rühr and striker Florian Fuchs are other players to watch out for in the German squad which is currently ranked No.3 in the world.
The match will be broadcast live on Star Sports, Star Sports HD and DD at 19.30 IST on August 8.