No chance of slip-up now

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 22 Jun 2017 13:06:18



JOLTED by a loss to the Netherlands, India would look to regrouping quickly when they take on Malaysia in the quarter-final of the Hockey World League Semi-Finals, here on Thursday.
After registering three convincing wins against Scotland, Canada and Pakistan, India wasted chances galore to slump to a 1-3 defeat against the Netherlands, their first in the tournament.

The loss meant India finished second in Pool B behind Netherlands, who kept a clean slate. The Indians only have themselves to blame for the defeat against the Dutch as besides conceding soft goals, they wasted numerous scoring chances.

And come tomorrow, Roelant Oltmans’ men cannot afford to repeat the same mistakes against Malaysia, who are capable of springing surprises on their day.
“This was our toughest match in the group and we had our chances, too. The good thing is that we came back after being 3-0 down but we didn’t do enough and got punished,” coach Oltmans had said after the defeat against Netherlands.

Going by form and ranking, world no. 6 India start overwhelming favourites against the 14th-placed Malaysians.
While striker Akashdeep Singh has been in superb form, scoring some scintillating goals in the tournament, he would look for support upfront from the likes of SV Sunil, Talwinder Singh and Mandeep Singh.

India’s midfield, led by the talismanic Sardar Singh and skipper Manpreet Singh, will have to take more responsibility while the inexperienced defence needs to pull up its socks as one bad day in office can now throw the team out of the tournament.

In the absence of Rupinderpal Singh, India were found wanting in penalty corner conversions with the young Harmanpreet Singh and Jasjit Singh Kular failing to live up to the expectations of Oltmans.
But the performances of reserve goalkeepers Vikas Dahiya and Akash Chikte in the absence of an injured PR Sreejesh have been heartening.

Meanwhile, in other quarterfinals of the day, reigning Olympic champions Argentina will play Pakistan, the Netherlands will take on China and hosts England will square off against Canada.

No room for complacency in knock-out stage, says Oltmans
INDIA’S chief coach Roelant Oltmans has warned his team to guard against complacency when they take on Malaysia in the quarter-final of the Hockey World League Semi-Finals, here on Thursday.

Ranked sixth in the world, India start as overwhelming favourites against the 14th placed Malaysia but the 0-1 defeat against the same opponents last month in the Azlan Shah Cup Oltmans’ men would be fresh in the minds of the Indians, going into tomorrow’s game.

“We need to play with caution and give no room for mistakes because even a little bit of complacency in the knockout stage will put us out of the tournament,” cautioned Oltmans.

“Malaysia is a good side and no opponent can be taken lightly.” He is pleased with the display of his strikers so far in the tournament, but the Dutchman said India need to improve with every game.

“This has been a good aspect for us with the team scoring some fantastic field goals and I am pleased with how the forwards have done so far.