Hockey World Cup 2018: We Are Ready To Answer Call Of 1.3 Billion Indians, Says India Hockey Coach


“We want what 1.3 billion people want. Indian team is mentally and physically ready. We have done our homework on Dutch aggression. Whatever challenge they throw, we are ready to solve that, not just accept it,” he added.

India has never defeated Netherlands in the history of the World Cup, but Harendra refused to dwell on the past.

“History is only to read, not to understand,” he quipped.

“They (Netherlands) have come prepared, Every team comes to win. Indian team has made history in the last six months. You have to face every team, it is World cup. You are bound to play the top team,” he added.

Harendra said it will be an equal contest on Thursday and whoever takes their chances will come out winners.

“We won’t do anything different. There are some minor adjustments. They love to play attacking hockey, so do India. It is an equal contest. In tomorrow’s match, you can’t afford to miss even 25 per cent chances,” he said.

Harendra said penalty corner conversions is an area of concern for the Netherlands which they will try to explore.

“When we analyse a match, we study grey areas of the opponents. Penalty corners is their grey area. We don’t ignore Holland outright. From 1971 to 2018, their base of hockey is penalty corners. We can’t ignore that. India is ready to solve that challenge,” he said.

It is expected to be a full house on Thursday at the Kalinga Stadium like any other India match, and Harendra said “crowd support” will provide India extra motivation to go for the kill.

“I think they are forgetting that whenever the crowd is behind us, it becomes 12th man, extra energy. As a coach I like that,” he said.

“There is no chance that opponents can easily sit on their back. I think it’s not pressure, it’s your thought how you enjoy it. So far in any tournament, not just the World Cup, we have learnt how to go with the crowd. We are enjoying.”

Harendra said India cannot afford to drop their intensity at any point of time during the match.

“I agree that we have dropped our intensity during the course of a game, which we cannot afford against a team like Holland,” he said.

“I have told them to keep that intensity not just for 60 minutes but 74 minutes, including half-time and quarter-breaks. We have discussed and they have agreed.”

India captain Manpreet Singh said they are determined to create a history.

“If you talk about Olympics it was two years ago. The team has improved, especially since Harry sir (Harendra) has come. We are playing attacking hockey. We want to change history. The focus is that we don’t leave out even the 50:50 chances.”



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Hockey World Cup 2018: England Stun Argentina, Australia Outclass France To Enter Semi-Finals


In the first match of the day, England, who conceded the lead in the 17th minute, staged a superb come back to make their third successive semi-final appearance in the history of the tournament. 

England scored three field goals through Barry Middleton (27th minute), Will Calnan (45th) and Harry Martin (49th), while Gonzalo Peillat (17th, 48th) struck both the goals for the losers at the Kalinga Stadium. 

Argentina, the bronze medallist in 2014, had themselves to blame for the defeat as they missed chances galore and got into panic mode after conceding the third goal. 

Both Argentina and England were levelled 1-1 till 45th minutes but three goals in the last quarter changed the whole scenario. 

Will Calnan made it 2-1 for England before Peillat drew parity in the 48th minute. But a minute later Martin shocked the Los Leones with a field strike to hand England the decisive lead. 

Earlier, realising that slow pace is not helping them, England raised their tempo and that paid dividends as they earned their first penalty corner in the 11th minute. 

Luke Taylor’s effort from the resultant set piece earned them another penalty corner immediately but Argentina defended stoutly to keep their rivals at bay. 

Argentina secured its first penalty corner in the 17th minute and drag-flick expert Peillat scored with a powerful flick to take the lead. 

While Argentina players were celebrating, England almost equalised with a brisk counter-attack only for David Condon to miss a sitter. 

Thereafter, the Los Leones surprisingly adopted a defensive approach and that worked in England’s favour. Mark Gleghorne’s fine run down from the right flank and his subsequent cross was cleared by England defenders which laid in front of an unmarked Middleton, who slotted home with a powerful shot past goalkeeper Juan Vivaldi to level the scores. 

Buoyed by the equaliser, England went on the offensive but failed to get past Argentina’s crowded defence. 

Argentina, on the other hand, adopted a wait and watch policy to launch counter-attacks. But it was not to be as England striker Zachary Wallace made an impressive run into the Argentine circle and was brought down inside, which earned the Los Leones back-to-back penalty corners but they wasted both. 

In the last quarter, Argentina equalised through Peillat’s penalty corner conversion before Martin struck a minute later with a field strike to hand England the unexpected winner. 

England will take on the winner of the match between Germany and Belgium while Australia will face the winner of India-Netherlands match in the semi-finals on Saturday.

(With PTI Inputs)



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Hockey World Cup 2018: We Are Ready To Answer Call Of 1.3 Billion Indians, Says India Hockey Coach


“We want what 1.3 billion people want. Indian team is mentally and physically ready. We have done our homework on Dutch aggression. Whatever challenge they throw, we are ready to solve that, not just accept it,” he added.

India has never defeated Netherlands in the history of the World Cup, but Harendra refused to dwell on the past.

“History is only to read, not to understand,” he quipped.

“They (Netherlands) have come prepared, Every team comes to win. Indian team has made history in the last six months. You have to face every team, it is World cup. You are bound to play the top team,” he added.

Harendra said it will be an equal contest on Thursday and whoever takes their chances will come out winners.

“We won’t do anything different. There are some minor adjustments. They love to play attacking hockey, so do India. It is an equal contest. In tomorrow’s match, you can’t afford to miss even 25 per cent chances,” he said.

Harendra said penalty corner conversions is an area of concern for the Netherlands which they will try to explore.

“When we analyse a match, we study grey areas of the opponents. Penalty corners is their grey area. We don’t ignore Holland outright. From 1971 to 2018, their base of hockey is penalty corners. We can’t ignore that. India is ready to solve that challenge,” he said.

It is expected to be a full house on Thursday at the Kalinga Stadium like any other India match, and Harendra said “crowd support” will provide India extra motivation to go for the kill.

“I think they are forgetting that whenever the crowd is behind us, it becomes 12th man, extra energy. As a coach I like that,” he said.

“There is no chance that opponents can easily sit on their back. I think it’s not pressure, it’s your thought how you enjoy it. So far in any tournament, not just the World Cup, we have learnt how to go with the crowd. We are enjoying.”

Harendra said India cannot afford to drop their intensity at any point of time during the match.

“I agree that we have dropped our intensity during the course of a game, which we cannot afford against a team like Holland,” he said.

“I have told them to keep that intensity not just for 60 minutes but 74 minutes, including half-time and quarter-breaks. We have discussed and they have agreed.”

India captain Manpreet Singh said they are determined to create a history.

“If you talk about Olympics it was two years ago. The team has improved, especially since Harry sir (Harendra) has come. We are playing attacking hockey. We want to change history. The focus is that we don’t leave out even the 50:50 chances.”



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Men’s Hockey World Cup: India To Battle Netherlands For A Place In Last Four


While the Netherlands are placed fourth in the current world rankings, India are a rung below in fifth position. 

The last time India and the Netherlands faced each other was in the Champions Trophy earlier this year, where the match ended in a 1-1 draw.

The over all head-to-head record belongs to the Dutch. In the 105 games played between the two sides so far, India have won 33, lost 48 while the rest ended in draws.

However, the two sides have shared the spoils since 2013.

India and the Netherlands have faced each other nine times since 2013, winning four matches apiece while one game ended in a draw.

For India captain Manpreet Singh, past results hold significance.

“The past results matter a lot because the Netherlands have a better result against us. But, we have played well against them recently. We have also beaten them, drew against them at the Champions Trophy. Indian hockey has improved a lot. The match will be tough and whichever team plays better will win,” Manpreet said.

The India-Netherlands duel is expected to be a fast-paced, attacking encounter with both teams heavily relying on their goal scoring abilities to come out on top.

While India have scored 12 goals and conceded three in the pool stage, the Dutch have pumped in 18 goals and conceded five.

In the likes of Billy Bakker, Seve van Ass, Jeroen Hertzberger, Mirco Pruijser, Robbert Kemperman, Thiery Brinkman, the Dutch have got plenty of experience in the midfield and its strike force. It will be a real test for the Indian defence on Thursday.

The Indians, too, would be relying on their strikers – Mandeep Singh, Simranjeet Singh, Lalit Upadhyay and Akashdeep Singh – to continue their good work.

In the other quarterfinal of the Hockey World Cup 2018, Germany will take on Belgium.

(With PTI inputs)



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Hockey World Cup 2018: Netherlands, Belgium Win Cross-Over Matches To Enter Quarter-Finals


In the first match of the day, Belgium scored in each quarter with Alexander Hendrickx (10th minute), Thomas Briels (13th), Cedric Charlier (27th), Sebastien Dockier (35th) and Tom Boon (53rd) finding the target.

The second match between Netherlands and Canada saw some brilliant hockey from the Dutch side. Netherlands were a little sloppy with the penalty corner conversion but at the end registered a comfortable victory.

Thijs van Dam (40th minute and 48th) scored a brace while goals from Lars Balk (16th), Robbert Kemperman (20th) and Thierry Brinkman (41st) helped the Dutch team to enter the next round.

On Monday, England outclassed New Zealand 2-0 in the first cross-over match. England, who will now take on Olympic champions Argentina in the first quarterfinal on Wednesday, scored their first goal in the 25th minute as Will Calnan got on the score sheet with a field strike.

Luke Taylor converted a penalty corner in the 44th minute to help England score a comfortable win.

In the other game, France reached their first quarters by edging past stubborn China 1-0. They will take on Australia in the last-eight stage on Wednesday. Timothee Clement sounded the board in the 36th minute.

(With IANS inputs)



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Hockey World Cup 2018: Is Drag-flick a Dying Art in Field Hockey?


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Hockey World Cup 2018: France, England Win Cross-Over Matches To Reach Quarter-Finals


England outclassed New Zealand 2-0 in the first cross-over match of the men’s Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar at the Kalinga Stadium on Monday. England, who will now take on Olympic champions Argentina in the first quarterfinal on Wednesday, scored their first goal in the 25th minute as Will Calnan got on the scoresheet with a field strike. Luke Taylor converted a penalty corner in the 44th minute to help England score a comfortable win.

The English were the better team against Black Sticks in the opening two quarters, carving out more goal scoring opportunities than their ninth-ranked opponents.

In the opening exchanges, England could have taken the lead in the fifth minute from a penalty corner but failed to. After a barren first quarter, England drew first blood in the 25th minute when Calnan deflected in a high ball from skipper Phil Roper from the left flank.

Two minutes later, a Liam Ansell strike from close range went inches wide.

New Zealand came close to reducing the margin in the 49th minute but Stephen Jenness’ shot from inside the box was parried away by England goalie Pinner. In the final minute of the match, New Zealand secured another penalty corner but Pinner made a smart save to keep a clean slate and keep intact England’s record of never finishing below eighth in the World Cup.

In the other game, France reached their first quarters by edging past stubborn China 1-0. They will take on Australia in the last-eight stage on Wednesday. Timothee Clement sounded the board in the 36th minute.

Viktor Lockwood raced to the baseline with a daunting run down the left flank and cut back to Maximilien Branicki in the centre.

Branicki then unleashed a fierce reverse stick at the far post which was deflected by Clement into the net.

(With IANS inputs)



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Hockey World Cup: Germany beats Malaysia by 5-3, makes direct entry into quarterfinals


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Hockey World Cup: Netherlands beats Pakistan by 5-1, may meet India in Quarterfinals


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Hockey World Cup 2018: Germany Down Spirited Malaysia, Pakistan Sneak Into Cross-Overs


Christopher Ruhr (14th, 18th minutes) and Timm Herzbruch (2nd, 59th) struck twice each for the title contenders from Europe while Marco Miltkau (39th) scored a field goal with an excellent finish off a fast, superbly orchestrated counter-attack.

All the Malaysian goals came from penalty corners. The veteran Razie Rahim (26th, 42nd) bagged a brace while Nabil Noor (28th) scored with a deflection afer a clever penalty corner variation. The Germans thus earned a direct entry into the quarter-finals as they topped Pool D with the full nine points from their three matches. The Malaysians crashed out of the tournament as they finished at the bottom of the group with a mere one point.

While the Germans were through to the quarterfinals, the Netherlands and Pakistan managed to qualify for the cross-overs round, in spite of losing 1-5.

The Dutch were by far the better side as they made repeated forays into their rival citadel.    The Netherlands scored through Thierry Brinkman (7th minute), Valentin Verga (27th), Bob de Voogd (37th), Jorrit Croon (47th) and Mink van der Weerden (59th) en route to their comfortable win. Pakistan’s lone goal came from the stick of Umar Bhutta in the ninth minute.

Pakistan played catch-up hockey and looked a disjointed unit, having no idea what to do with the ball when it’s in their possession. They mostly relied on counter-attacks to surprise their higher ranked opponents but the vast gap of quality between the two sides was quiet evident on the turf. World number 4 Netherlands started on a bright note and secured their first penalty corner in the fourth minute but it was wasted.

(With agency inputs)



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