Hockey WC: This team can score at anytime, says Indian team coach Harendra Singh

Updated: Dec 09, 2018, 09:47 IST | Ashwin Ferro

Harendra Singh explains four-goal burst in final quarter as India hammer Canada 5-1 to top Pool C and qualify for quarter-finals

Hockey WC: This team can score at anytime, says Indian team coach Harendra Singh
India's Lalit Upadhyay (left) celebrates after scoring against Canada in a World Cup league match at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Saturday. Pic/PTI

India left it to the last quarter, but outplayed Canada nevertheless, winning 5-1 in their last league match of the World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium here to top Pool C and secure a direct quarter-final spot.

The first two quarters were almost a reminder of how India's 2-2 draw against Belgium began a few days ago. India's Harmanpreet Singh opened the scoring off a penalty corner drag flick (12th minute) but thereafter there seemed to be a sudden lack of coordination in this otherwise well-oiled host outfit. The poor period of play by the Indians saw Canada taking advantage and scoring the equaliser through a Floris van Son defence-splitting field goal (39th min) leading to a stunned silence in the 15,000-strong otherwise vociferous crowd.

Coach Harendra Singh put it down to a failure to deliver the final pass. "We were making our moves, but somehow the final pass was not going as per plan. We were hurrying into the move as a result of which the last ball was not going to the man. This team can score a goal anytime and must ease into their moves. There's no point rushing into things," Harendra said at the post-match press conference.

Harendra Singh
Harendra Singh

Upadhyay scores a brace
Vice-captain Chinglensana Singh gave India the lead in the 46th minute after which Lalit Upadhyay made it 3-1 a minute later. Amit Rohidas then sounded the boards with a rasping drive off India's fourth penalty corner to make to 4-1 (51st) following which Upadhyay sealed the Man of the Match award with his second field goal on the night (57th).
At the end of the league stage, India have two wins and a draw and will now play Netherlands or Germany in the third quarter-final on Thursday, December 13. It's time to forget about the last three matches now and begin a new tournament, said Harendra. "We must consider this to be the end of a four-nation tournament. Next up, it's the knockout stage. We have to approach it like a new tournament," he said.

Belgium beat South Africa 5-1
Earlier, Olympic silver medalists Belgium beat South Africa by a similar margin. SA's Nicholas Spooner scored this World Cup's fastest goal (36 seconds) to take a surprise lead. Belgium hit back with a brace from Alexander Hendricx (14th & 22nd mins) and a goal each from Simon Gougnard (18th), Loick Luypaert (30th) and Cedric Charlier (48th).

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