Hockey World Cup: India determined to conquer Belgium

Dec 02, 2018, 10:20 IST | Ashwin Ferro

Skipper Thomas Briels knows this only too well, but says World No. 5 India have nothing to worry this time round. "It's always better to win all your pool games and make it as early as possible to the quarter-finals rather than go through the crossovers

Hockey World Cup: India determined to conquer Belgium
India hockey coach Harendra Singh

The last time India played against Belgium in a top competition, they came away dejected, losing 1-3 to the Red Lions in the quarter-finals of the 2016 Rio Olympics. Since then, India have played Belgium 10 times, winning thrice, losing five times and two draws. It's clear that the World No. 3 Belgians enjoy spoiling India's party.

Skipper Thomas Briels knows this only too well, but says World No. 5 India have nothing to worry this time round. "It's always better to win all your pool games and make it as early as possible to the quarter-finals rather than go through the crossovers.

But this is a World Cup and there are no bad teams. Canada is ranked low [No. 11] but we just managed to beat them 2-1 in our first match here, so anything is possible. We don't like to ruin India's party and the good thing is that this time, we are in the same pool so we can't. I think we will enjoy a nice battle with India and hopefully maybe see each other in the final," Briels said after a training session at the Kalinga Stadium on Saturday.

The Indians, meanwhile are on a high after their 5-0 opening win against South Africa and coach Harendra Singh refuses to let his boys recall the past against the brilliant Belgians. If we keep reminding ourselves of negative things [past defeats], it's not good. In the past, like in the World League final and the Champions Trophy, we did a lot of good things against them [Belgium].

So that needs to be shown to the players, and the team is prepared accordingly. Whatever bad has happened is history. Our problem is we talk about the past a lot and forget the present. We have taken this team out of that thought process," said Harendra.

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