The Indian men’s hockey staff will return to top-amount worldwide competition immediately after far more than a yr when it can take on Olympic champions Argentina in the initially match of the two-video game FIH Professional League tie Buenos Aires on Saturday. Just after remaining stuck at their base at Bengaluru’s Sporting activities Authority of India for the full last yr for the duration of the coronavirus outbreak, the Indians will at last get to engage in superior-depth worldwide matches. India performed their last FIH Hockey Professional League match versus Australia in February last yr in Bhubaneswar.
The upcoming Professional League matches versus some hard opponents will give them useful match apply in advance of the Tokyo Olympics, which is tiny far more than three months absent.
The Indian staff resumed worldwide hockey in February this yr when they embarked on a tour of Europe, where by they performed out two draws and registered two victories in their 4 games versus Germany and Great Britain.
People games have been prepared to assist the Indian men’s hockey staff get ready for the postponed Tokyo Olympics.
But it is the top-notch FIH Professional League matches that will assist India to choose where by they stand in advance of the Tokyo Video games, beginning July 23. They will facial area Argentina at the legendary Cernard Stadium on Saturday and Sunday.
The Indians experienced a superior establish up to the two-match tie possessing defeated Argentina 4-3 right before drawing 4-4 in the two apply games.
There have been a lot of encouraging symptoms for India’s main coach Graham Reid as skipper Manpreet Singh, Varun Kumar and Rupinder Pal Singh have been all on concentrate on despite remaining out of action for lengthy periods.
The forwards, in certain, impressed and established a ton of goalmouth chances. Mandeep Singh, Nilakanta Sharma and Dilpreet Singh experienced superior outings way too.
But, Reid pressured on the importance of the defence remaining frugal. In both the apply games, Argentina managed to make their way back again in the contest immediately after India’s immediate starts off.
Skipper Manpreet, however, is glad with efficiency of his side in the two apply games and feels they will need to utilise just about every prospect that come their way in advance of the Olympics.
“Each apply matches have been superior. They have been challenging-fought games and fairly powerful… Obtaining missed match apply for a lot of last yr, we have to income in on the chances we get. It is superior for us that we are examined versus a hard opponent like Argentina,” he claimed.
“In both the games, we confirmed a ton of battle and established loads of possibilities. But we could have scored even far more even though conceding much less aims. We are doing work challenging to be far more compact at the back again and remaining far more ruthless going ahead.
“Yes, last yr was a hard time for all of us. We experienced performed quite superior hockey in the first spherical of the FIH Professional League games versus hard opponents this kind of as Belgium, Netherlands and Australia… We worked challenging in our coaching camps and tried out our ideal to recreate the depth of a superior-stake worldwide match. That is why the upcoming matches are so significant to us.”
Manpreet also refused to go through a lot into Argentina’s modern slump in kind.
He claimed, “Argentina are a top quality side and we have experienced some superior matches versus them over the decades. We will need to concentrate on our video game. Like I claimed, each individual match we engage in is a studying experience.”
Obtaining suffered twin defeats versus Germany last week, the stress, even though, will be on the hosts.
The losses pushed the Argentines to the sixth put in the FIH Professional League desk underneath India. The Indian staff is currently fifth in the FIH Professional League standings with ten factors from 6 games, with two wins and as numerous loses and draws.
World champions Belgium are atop the standings with 32 factors from thirteen games, followed by Germany (19 factors from eight matches), Netherlands (18 from 11) and Australia (14 from eight).
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