5 takeaways for Indian hockey team from their final preparatory tournament at Valencia
As the suspense surrounding the announcement of the final 16-member squad for Rio heightens with the completion of the Six Nations Invitational Tournament at Valencia, players of the Indian Men’s hockey team are eager to learn what the fortunes have in store for them.
In a mere span of three weeks, the Blueshirts have scaled their highest summit of international hockey success in longer than three decades with a silver medal at the 2016 FIH Champions Trophy in London but soon after, slumped to a forgettable 5th-place finish among the six participating teams in the Spanish port city. All the scrutinization and brainstorming sessions that are now underway in order to patch up the Indian unit will have to address the takeaways arising from the latest outing.
Hence, we now take a look at the 5 takeaways for the Indian Men's hockey team from the recently concluded Six Nations Hockey Championship in Valencia:
#5 Conceding early goals
With the improved level of fitness and experience available within our ranks to guard the back line in the face of raging attacks, it was thoroughly disheartening to witness how we let in early goals almost every time we took the field during the course of the Valencia tournament. Granted, our opener was against a prolific German side who had done a fair amount of homework after their hard-fought 3-3 result in the previous meet of the two sides at the 2016 Champions Trophy – but there remains little excuse to justify the similar occurrences in games against Argentina and Ireland as well.
Once the Indian team falls behind within minutes of the starting whistle, they are left to play catch-up over the entire duration left on the clock. In a bid to ensure victory, the side tries out several approaches to find one that is effective enough to actually threaten the opponents’ woodwork – then arises the question of a crucial equaliser which, if they fail to squeeze out for some reason, the danger of the gap widening on the counter looms large on the proceedings.
Therefore, instead of going all guns blazing right from the outset, it would be preferred hereafter that the players settle down at first, hold their shape and then carry out risky exchanges if necessary while pushing forward with amplified intensity.