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New ‘quarterfinal format’ should be a boon for Indian men hockey team says former international

The former midfielder also rues that such a format was not in place during the 1984 Olympics.

Indian Hockey team.jpg
The Indian Hockey team will look to win their first medal in the sport since 1980

There is a lot of talk that the new format for the Olympic men’s Hockey competition will do a ‘world of good’ to the Indian men hockey team. There is a line of thought that making it to the semifinals from a six-team pool is far more ‘challenging’ than finishing in the top four and securing a passage to the quarterfinal stage.

Clearly, the new format has triggered some excitement among Hockey fans about their zeal to see the national team make the last-four stage and beyond.  No wonder, former Indian Olympian midfielder Joaquim Carvalho believes it is a wonderful opportunity for the Blueshirts to set the record straight in the upcoming Rio Olympics.

“Let’s face it – this new format is a fantastic opportunity for the Indian team to make the most of it. India should back themselves to finish in the top four, and reach the quarterfinals and once they reach the knockout stage, anything can happen,” says Mumbai-based Carvalho, who had played his part in India’s fighting fifth place performance at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

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The former Indian midfielder has words of wisdom for the Rio-bound Indian Olympic team. “I think the Indian team must focus on taking one match at a time, and not think much about this new format. It will stand them in good stead for sure,” says the former medio, who regretted that such a format was not there during his playing days.

“We had perhaps one of the best teams that played in the 1984 Olympics. I can tell you if we had such a format in our heydays, we would have easily made a podium finish with the kind of talent we had in the team,” gushes the man, who owns a sports goods outlet called Legend Sports. “I remain busy with my sports good outlet – I have one outlet in Mumbai and another in Goa.”

The former international has no doubts that Indian hockey is coming up. “I was delighted to see India make their first-ever Champions Trophy semifinal. Things are looking up for Indian hockey,” he signs off.

Clearly, the new format should work to India’s advantage in Rio.

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