Confident India look to continue fantastic form in FIH Hockey Pro League as they take on Belgium
Bhubaneswar, 07 February 2020: The Indian Men's Hockey Team got off to a stupendous start in the FIH Hockey Pro League after defeating the Netherlands in both their matches last month. The World No. 5 team will certainly look to continue their form when they face the World No.1 side Belgium in the FIH Hockey Pro League on 8 February 2020 and 9 February 2020 at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
Belgium are currently at the top of the league table with eleven points. They have won all of their four matches, defeating Australia and New Zealand (two matches each), away from home. However, India will gain confidence from the fact that they beat Belgium at their own backyard last year. India triumphed in all five matches (three against Belgium and two against Spain) during their tour of Belgium in September 2019.
Speaking ahead of the match, Indian Men's Hockey Team Captain Manpreet Singh said that the team looks at the FIH Hockey Pro League as a good opportunity to become a better side.
"All the teams which are playing in the FIH Hockey Pro League will play in the Olympics as well. So, we have a good opportunity to find out which areas we should work on during this tournament and get better as a team before the Olympics. The youngsters also have a good chance to showcase their skills in this competition," said Manpreet.
The Indian Men's Hockey Team Chief Coach Graham Reid expressed that the side has carried out excellent preparations for the matches against Belgium.
"We are ready to go. We have been training for the last two weeks. So it's been really good preparation for the matches against Belgium. What's important is for us is that we need to perform at our best. We will be going for the win. We are not going to focus much on our opponents but will focus on what we need to do. The players are very clear about what is required of them. We can't change the way our opponents play, but we can change the way we play," said Reid.
The Belgium Men's Hockey Team Captain Thomas Briels said that the two matches against India are very crucial for them.
"We want to win the FIH Hockey Pro League trophy and we have our eyes on the Olympic Games as well. We are the World No.1 side and every game counts. On the other hand, we want to develop as a team and try new tactics. We want to learn from other countries. But while doing it, we also want to win the matches. The FIH Hockey Pro League is a really nice tournament. We lost the Final last year so we are really keen to win it this year. The two games this weekend are going to be crucial," said Briels.
The Belgium Men's Hockey Team Chief Coach Shane McLeod expressed that the World Champions are looking forward to two top games against India.
"It's been a very nice build-up to the games against India. We have played four games and learned from each of those experiences. After those four games, we took a couple of days in Kuala Lumpur to refresh mentally and so on and now we are looking forward to two top games against India, who also have been doing really well so far. I think the Indian team is on the rise at the moment. They have got a talented group of young players," said McLeod.
India will take on Belgium on 08 and 09 January at 1700hrs IST at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar.Published 08 Feb 2020, 09:00 IST