Hockey World Cup: India working on penalties ahead of clash vs Spain

The Hague: Greenfield stadium, the second pitch of the World Cup hockey saw intense training from the Indian hockey team as they did their best to iron out the flaws before the crucial game against Spain today here at the Kyocera Hockey Arena.'

Penalty corner specialist Rupinder Pal Singh
Penalty corner specialist Rupinder Pal Singh

The areas of concern remain penalty corners and both Raghunath and Rupinder Pal Singh were pressed into training with Coach Terry Walsh and High-Performance Director Roelant Oltmans watching. India had three penalty corners against England in the first half and couldn't score of any while against Belgium, they had one but Raghunath shot over the bar.

Terry constantly broke the drill to explain to Raghunath and Rupinder, finer points knowing the match against Spain would require full concentration from both the convertors. "This is one area where we are known to be one of the world's best," Terry said, on the sidelines after the training had finished. "But we have been rather flat in the area. Against Spain we really cannot afford to do that."

India has been distinctly unlucky in losing both their opening matches – against Belgium and England – and Terry commended the team in picking themselves up. "It's very difficult to get going, especially after the game against England which the boys believed they should have won. It's tough and frustrating. But I think, the anger is out and they are looking to make amends," said Terry.

Spain is not the same side it was a few years back and India has a good chance of getting some momentum back. The Spanish have drawn with England and lost to Australia. "They are a good side," says Terry. "But we have seen them and I think if we play with discipline, we should pick up a few points."

Having rained throughout their training session, the sun came out as the Indians packed in their gears. It was good to see the boys smiling, laughing. The match against Spain augurs well.

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