Team India players celebrate a goal during their Hockey World League Semi-Finals encounter against Scotland at London recently
With the Hero Hockey World League entering the final stretch, the Indian team is well aware that slip-ups can prove very costly at this stage. Even if the opponents are Malaysia, who are way below the in World Rankings — India are sixth to Malaysia's 14th.
Just as India are still smarting following their 0-1 loss to Malaysia at the Azlan Shah Cup semi-finals earlier this year.
The Indians will need to be wary about allowing the opposition to get penalty corners against them. If India beat Malaysia, they could be up against Argentina, whose penalty corner conversions have been phenomenal. Argentina should easily get past Pakistan in quarters, unless there is a severe reversal of form. So India cannot afford defence lapses or give too many penalty corners.
Malaysia have been less than impressive except in their final clash against China.
Calling Malaysia as 'tricky opponents', coach Roelant Oltmans, said, "Malaysia is a good side and no opponent can be taken lightly." Clearly the loss in Ipoh at the Azlan Shah was fresh in his mind.
For India Akashdeep Singh has been the top scorer with five goals.
"This (scoring field goals) has been a good aspect for us. However, we must get better with each match and still there are some areas of concern such as starting well.
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.
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