Hockey Junior World Cup: India's simple plan against Spain in quarters

Updated: Dec 15, 2016, 09:17 IST | PTI

Having received a much-needed wake-up call in their final pool match, favourites India would look to iron out chinks in the armour and play "simple hockey" when they face Spain in the quarterfinals of the men's Junior Hockey World Cup here today

Indians celebrate a goal vs England in the Junior World Cup hockey tourney at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium in Lucknow recently. Pic/PTI
Indians celebrate a goal vs England in the Junior World Cup hockey tourney at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium in Lucknow recently. Pic/PTI

Lucknow: Having received a much-needed wake-up call in their final pool match, favourites India would look to iron out chinks in the armour and play "simple hockey" when they face Spain in the quarterfinals of the men's Junior Hockey World Cup here today.

India's 100 per cent record
Even though India maintained an all-win record in the pool stage, it was their performance in their last pool game against South Africa, which has raised some eyebrows. The Indians were clinical in their first two wins over Canada (4-0) and England (5-3) but against South Africa they had to slog hard to register a fighting 2-1 victory.

But it should come as a big lesson for the Indian colts ahead of the knockout stages as any slip from here on will dash their hopes of reclaiming the title after a hiatus of 15 years.

"I was surprised with our performance because we didn't play to our potential after the first 15 minutes (against South Africa). I always say that I don't think about opponents, I am always concerned about our own methods," India's head coach Harendra Singh had said after the South Africa game.

"We play simple one-touch hockey and that is what we should play. We just didn't play simple hockey (against South Africa) but the good thing is that it has happened before the knockout stages," he said.

Men in Blue go as favourites
Going by present form, India start as overwhelming favourites against Spain. The Indians have defeated the Spaniards twice in the recent past in a four-nation tournament in Valencia.

The Valencia outing, where India went on to win the title by beating six-time champions and current world junior champions Germany, should give the home team confidence going into today's all-important encounter at the Major Dhyan Chand Astroturf stadium here.

Although India are expected to win the game, Harendra warned his players against complacency. "We can't afford to take any team lightly. Every participating team wants to win the World Cup," Harendra said.

Excited and pumped up in front of home crowd, the Indians tried too many things against Proteas and this is something, which Harendra would like his wards to avoid.

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