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Champions Trophy: Conceding easy penalty corners a worry for India

London: A win and a draw, both against teams ranked higher than them in world hockey should have given the Indians a sweet Sunday rest in the Hero Champions Trophy.

India's Mandeep Singh (right) celebrates a goal with teammates during the 3-3 Champions Trophy draw with Germany at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London on Friday. Pic/Getty Images
India's Mandeep Singh (right) celebrates a goal with teammates during the 3-3 Champions Trophy draw with Germany at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London on Friday. Pic/Getty Images

The draw came against Germany and the win was against Great Britain, who had vociferous home support at the Lee Valley Hockey Centre. The net result – India is tied with Australia at the top, but has more goals than the Australians.

India's next game is against Belgium. They were without Tom Boon and Loick Luyapert and their penalty corner conversions showed that. Now the question is can India take advantage of that today?

Current form and morale suggests the Indians can do that. Indians have showed great improvement in virtually all departments of the game – they are more energised, maybe the scent of a good win or a result does that; they are looking fitter and they have youth on their side.

They have shown an urgency that has often been missing in the past, but what probably needs to be tightened is the ability to reduce errors in the closing stages and not give away penalty corners.

On Saturday, Indian coach Roelant Oltmans said, "I've been in India three years now and I hope that people see that we are improving. The most important thing for me is that the team is getting better and in the end they showed a good performance.

We didn't start well, and in the first quarter we were struggling but we took control of the game. Overall, we saw some great performances from some young players. The players are surprising me."

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