After a humiliating defeat at the hands of Belgium at the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Hockey World League semi-finals, India will face Great Britain on Sunday. The two teams will fight for the the bronze medal.
On Friday, India suffered a 0-4 loss at the KHC Dragons Stadium in Antwerp, Belgium.
India will find it difficult to tackle Britain who currently holds the number five spot in FIH world rankings. India is ranked 9th, four places below Britain.
India will definitely need to produce a much improved show. The key will be to recover from Friday’s thrashing. Earlier in the league, the Indian team did manage to recover from a big loss to Australia and make it to the last-four.
“We have to play smart against Great Britain. We need to hang in longer and must not lose possession without fighting for it,” says India’s chief coach Paul Van Ass.
Van Ass also wants the Indian team to guard against conceding early goals, which did not happen in the last semi-final against hosts Belgium. India ended up conceding two soft goals in the first eight minutes of the match. After that, it was extremely difficult to break into the aggressive Red Lions’ structured gameplan. Belgium striker Florent van Aubel scored three out of four goals for his country.
In the second semi-final, Britain lost 1-3 to Australia, who are currently the world champions. But the English did manage to give the champions a tough fight. Just a few wrong passes let them down.
In the last encounter between the two nations, Britain defeated India 2-1 with a last-minute goal during the World Cup at The Hague last year.
Britain also missed the grade for the Champions Trophy last year, and now they seem to be more desperate to win a medal ahead of the much awaited Rio Olympic Games next year.
All four semi-finalists India, Great Britain, Australia and Belgium have secured a spot in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. India ensured its qualification by winning a gold medal at the Asian Games in Incheon.