India has improved a lot in sorting out the old malaise of conceding last-minute goals and it would help the home side in reaching the semifinals of the hockey World Cup starting on Sunday, captain Rajpal Singh said.
“It (conceding last-gasp goals) has to do with the mental aspect. We have worked on this aspect and I think we are improving,” he said.
“Instead of the opposition putting pressure on us at the closing stages of a match we have started scoring. We scored last-gasp goal at Salta (Argentina) during the Champions Challenge I late last year,” he added.
Rajpal said his side’s target would be to reach the semifinals and hoped from there they can win the title.
“Our target is to reach the semifinals and see from there what happens. Once you reach the semifinals it will be anybody’s game (to lift the title). We have prepared very well and we are focused,” he said.
Asked if the pressure of expectation would weigh down his side, Rajpal said, “It (pressure) is good. It will give us motivation to do well in front of home crowd. If we do well and at least reach the semifinals it will give a big boost to Indian hockey.”