India will need to put their best performance of the tournament to oust Group A winners Belgium in the quarter-finals of the Rio Olympics in 2016. A win in this game would not only put India through to the next round but put them right amongst the medals at Rio 2016. So far India has have won two, lost two and drawn one of their five group stage games ensuring a fourth place finish.
India will be looking to put a somewhat disappointing performance against Canada behind them as they look to oust Belgium from the tournament and thus secure a place in the semi-finals. India might be without the services of SV Sunil who hurt his wrist in a fall during the game against Canada. India will need to make sure they do not concede cheap penalty corners or give stray passes away against a Belgium team that has looked very impressive throughout the tournament.
The Men in Blue will need to improve on the performance in the fourth quarter where they have constantly looked to retreat into their own half of the field to preserve a lead and hence conceded most goals during the second half of the game.
The green and yellow card concession rate has also been a worry for India, whose indiscipline on the pitch have cost them either directly or indirectly in several games so far in the tournament. Belgium will be no pushovers as they look to continue their impressive run having won four and lost just one game so far in the tournament.
India have lost their last two encounters against Belgium by narrow margins but coach Oltmans has expressed his confidence on the players ahead of the game claiming that they are very close to the top level and can realistically challenge the top guns of world hockey now.
It will be interesting to see what tactics he employs against the impressive Belgian side. But one thing is for certain, there are going to be a lot of goals in the game as both teams look to play open attractive hockey.
VR Raghunath and Rupinder Pal Singh will be important players for India as they look to secure a semi-final berth by defeating the European side. Penalty corners will be key and that is where these two expert drag flickers come into play.
Sardara Singh will need to be in form as he looks to dictate play from the back and create chances for Ramandeep and Akashdeep upfront. India will need to ensure they maintain discipline and not concede unnecessary cards to put the team under pressure. Coach Oltmans will no doubt be hoping that experienced striker SV Sunil is fit for the game as he has been a regular in the starting 11 so far.
For Belgium, Tanguy Cosyns will be an important man up front having impressed a lot so far in the tournament. Besides him, the captain John-John Dohmen will be a vital cog in the field and must be closed down as he looks to dictate play from the midfield. Besides him, the likes of Felix Denayer, Florent Van Aubel and Tom Boon will be key components to an impressive Belgian side that will be keen to win three out the last three games against India
Match Details: Rio 2016 Men’s Hockey Tournament Quarter-Finals Belgium vs India
TV Channel : Star Sports Network & Hotstar
Match Date : 14 August 2016
Match Time : 9:00 PM IST
Match Venue : Olympic Hockey Centre, Rio De Janeiro
P. R. Sreejesh (C), Harmanpreet Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Kothajit Singh, Surender Kumar, V. R., Raghunath, Manpreet Singh, Sardara Singh, S. K. Uthappa, Danish Mujtaba, Devinder Walmiki, S. V. Sunil (VC), Akashdeep Singh, Chinglensana Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Nikkin Thimmaiah
Arthur Van Doren, John-John Dohmen (C), Florent van Aubel, Sebastien Dockier, Cédric Charlier, Gauthier Boccard, Emmanuel Stockbroekx, Thomas Briels, Felix Denayer, Vincent Vanasch (GK), Simon Gougnard, Loïck Luypaert, Tom Boon, Jérôme Truyens, Elliot Van Strydonck, Tanguy Cosyns
A narrow 3-2 win for India in a closely fought encounter as India secure a historic semi-final berth in Rio 2016.Published 14 Aug 2016, 09:52 IST