Sandeep Singh said India would prepare well for the matches against stronger opponents, in the Olympic hockey qualifier here.

Sandeep said India's real test lay ahead. “There is a lot to be done against better teams like France, Canada and Poland,” the ace drag-flicker said after the 8-1 win against Italy.

“We have been trying out a few things, but we do not want to try everything right now,” he said.

Sandeep, also a deep defender, showed his readiness for the challenges ahead. “Our defence is going to be tested more. We are planning for the big matches. We are confident of qualifying for the London Olympics.”

Chief coach Michael Nobbs appreciated the improved performance of the team. “It is good that a lot of players have been scoring,” he said, adding that the side would peak at the “right time.”

The Indian women's coach, C.R. Kumar, said he was satisfied with the side's 4-1 win over Canada. He, however, added that the team needed to work hard and tighten its defence.

Areas of concern

“Our defenders are unnecessarily losing possession. Some of the link players were also unable to trap the ball properly,” he said.

Kumar said India should continue to play attacking hockey. “We have to play aggressively. We cannot be slow starters and be nervous. A team commits mistakes when it is nervous. We have no room for errors.”

About the injury to forward Anuradha Devi, which forced her to leave the field midway through the match, Kumar said, “She had a muscle tear. She will be all right.”

Skipper Asunta Lakra said the side needed to be consistent in order to make the final. “The girls were determined not to commit mistakes and we did exactly that,” she said. — Principal Correspondent

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