Though the same old frailty of conceding a goal in the dying moments of a game came to haunt India once again, there are a lot of positives to take from the crucial group game against Belgium for Team India.
Firstly, a draw against the higher ranked Belgium team all but assures a top spot finish for India, and a hence a direct entry into the quarter-final.
Though both India and Belgium have four points each after two games, with one remaining, India is at the top of this group thanks to a much superior goal difference.
India will, of course, have to do well against Canada in their last group game. But they have the advantage of knowing what exactly to do in their last game to top the group, as they will play their match after Belgium plays theirs against South Africa.
Secondly, this Indian team shows no signs of fear against other top sides and continues to play a very attacking brand of hockey.
This probably owes in no small measure to the infusion of young blood, as coach Harendra Singh has included many players from India’s under-19 side in the squad.
This is already starting to pay rich dividends, especially in India’s forward line. Even after going one goal down in this match, India continued to attack.
One could even argue that they were too eager to attack, and in the process failed to play according to set plans, something the Indian think tank should look to address in the remaining matches.
India’s attacking brand of hockey is most certainly the right template for team India going forward. In the last group game against Canada, they will need to continue in the same vein.
As they showed in today’s game against South Africa and in their first match against Belgium, Canada are no pushovers.
They too have a lot to play for in their last group game against India. A good show against India could help them to remain in contention for a quarter-final berth.
For India though, despite some weaknesses in their game, their performance so far has been quite impressive, if not spectacular. It seems they are still capable of another gear, which one hopes to see in the remaining matches.Published 02 Dec 2018, 23:00 IST