Millennium Post

Hockey: India keep close tabs on upcoming opponents

Packing up after a convincing 4-1 win over Scotland, which required just one big quarter, the Indian team kept close tabs on the other teams they are going to face off against in the next few days at the Hero Hockey World League semi-finals.

The Indians had a good look at the Dutch who outplayed Pakistan 4-0 and England, who had a good 2-0 win over China. Earlier, Argentina showed their penalty corner prowess as they beat Korea 2-1 in a closer-than-expected clash.

For India, just getting past teams like Scotland or against Canada should not be the only aim. Later in this tournament, as also other events this and next year, India will be up against the bigger teams at the Hero Hockey World League Finals in India, Commonwealth Games in Australia, Asian Games in Indonesia and World Cup in India. 2018 will be a very big one and India needs to have a good solid group of not just 18, but maybe 25-30 players.

India must guard against the kind of two quarters they had played in their match with Scotland. Indian coach Roelant Oltmans admitted that his team did not measure up to their expected play in first two quarters. "I asked them to change a few things and they did. They did a good job in the third quarter. We could have gone for five or six or more goals, but I wanted to give Jasjit (Kular) and Sumit a chance to play and shake of their jetlag. We will also give goalkeepers, Dahiya and Chitke chances to play throughout the tournament. We need them to gain experience."
He added, "The key is to improve as we keep moving forward."

There is a fair amount at stake in London as the top four finishers will qualify for eight-nation Odisha Hockey World League Final in Bhubaneswar, India.
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