India face tough task against Britain in bronze play-off
Antwerp (Belgium): Laid low after suffering a 0-4 thrashing at the hands of Belgium, India face a tough task in their bid to finish on the podium when they take on a tenacious Great Britain in the bronze medal match of the men’s Hockey World League Semifinals here tomorrow.
India, who are four places below world number five Great Britain in FIH rankings, will need to produce a much improved show than they produced in their semifinal loss against hosts Belgium in which Sardar Singh’s team suffered a 0-4 drubbing last evening at the KHC Dragons Stadium.
Great Britain suffered a 1-3 loss to World champions Australia in the other semifinal, but not without giving the top-ranked Australian outfit a tough fight. It was just a few passes that went to the Australian strikers that let the British defence down.
The focus will be on the Indian ability to recover from the thrashing at the hands world number four Belgium, who the Indians have always given a good contest. Just one or two goals have separated the teams in their contests in recent years.
The Indian team has shown its mettle in recovering from a big loss to Australia and make the last-four round, and now the boys face a stiff task of doing so in the medal game.
“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 chief coach Paul van Ass.
Great Britain are formidable outfit, who defeated India 2-1 through a last-minute goal in the last encounter between the two nations, during the World Cup at The Hague last year.
Having missed the grade for the Champions Trophy last year, Great Britain are doubly determined to win a medal ahead of the Rio Olympic Games next year.
Van Ass wants his team to guard against conceding early goals, which turned out to be bane for the Indians in the semifinal against Belgium. After conceding two soft goals in the initial eight minutes, India faced a tough task against the Red Lions’ structured game.