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Hockey World Cup 2018: Our Target Is To Top The Pool, Says India Coach


07 December 2018

Bikash Das


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Bhubaneswar: On Saturday, the final matches in Pool C will take place, with Belgium (WR:3) facing South Africa (WR:15) at 1700 IST (UTS+5:30) before home favourites India (WR:5) take on Canada (WR:11) at 1900.

India are currently top of Pool C thanks to a marginally superior goal difference over second placed Belgium, with Canada holding onto third place ahead of South Africa, again on goal difference. The pool winner will earn a direct ticket to the quarter finals, while the teams that finish second and third will go into the cross-over play-offs. The team that finishes fourth will be eliminated from the competition.

“We interpret a picture as we see it. Our target is to top the pool irrespective of the result of Belgium versus South Africa game. Our fate is in our own hands,” Harendra said on the eve of the game.

“We are still on the second floor, they (Canada) are in the basement (in terms of position in the pool and goal difference). Let them come up to our level, then we will see. Our goal average is a lot better.

“We expect two things. One, I need to finish on top. The other, I want a clean sheet and no goals scored against India,” he added.

Harendra said India have devised a different style of play for Canada and they will try to adopt that in Saturday’s game. “As a coach, I analyse. Most the players that have come here, Chris (Ciriello) has faced most of them. So, the inputs he gives are important having already been there,” he said about India’s analytical coach from Australia.

“We will play some different kind of hockey tomorrow and try variations depending on the game and situation.”

Looking ahead to his team’s match against host nation India, Canada Head Coach Paul Bundy said: “We have yet to show our true potential in the first two pool games. It’s important for us to remain positive and competitive as we enter our final pool match against India. Over the last couple years we have been in a similar crossroads with India [Rio 2016 Olympic Games / Hockey World League Semi-Final] and come away with results. We will draw on those experiences, as we know that all the pressure is on India as the host country and team looking to top the pool.”

While South Africa captain Tim Drummond expects a strong challenge from the Belgians, he feels his team are improving and will be determined to show their own qualities. "We were disappointed did not get the win against Canada after a much-improved overall team performance”, said Drummond.

“We created many good scoring opportunities but unfortunately we were not clinical with our chances. Our game against Belgium is one which we will be coming out all guns blazing to get a result. We respect the Belgians but we are going to play with complete belief in our abilities to make sure we do our country proud! Overall I feel we have played some high quality hockey in patches but have not been consistent enough and taken our chances. Against Belgium we will be looking to improve in both aspects. I am confident that if we execute our game plan then we will give us every chance of achieving our goals for the game.”

Also Read: Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup 2018: England Knocks Ireland Out With 4-2 Win

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Harendra Singh , Indian Hockey Coach