Hockey

India seeks to fix the chinks in its armour

Talking tough: Coach Sjoerd Marijne tells Mandeep Singh to get his act together.   | Photo Credit: Biswaranjan Rout

An entire hour of practice in blistering sun was spent trying to get the ball into the goal through every possible combination and from every angle. Some of the shots went out, several made it to the backboard but a majority were saved by the two goalkeepers, highlighting the biggest concern for coach Sjoerd Marijne ahead of the India’s final league match against Germany.

Two years ago, The Hindu had carried a report, about the Indian team in the previous edition of this very tournament, citing how the team ‘needed to be more consistent’.

The team might have achieved several highs and lows in the intervening period but the issue of consistency remains unresolved.

India was aggressive yet sublime in its first match against Australia but was lethargic and tried to roughshod its way past England. Neither helped the team win but Marijne would have preferred the former any day, sticking to the gameplan and holding the structure firm.

He would also prefer the first to turn up for every game India plays.

“We have seen our videos from the England match and are aware of the errors and weaknesses. “We are working on working out the chinks in our game and looking to build consistency,” the Dutchman said after the strenuous training on Sunday.

Gurjant Singh and Mandeep Singh have failed to get the final touch in and, worse, mis-trapped often inside the striking circle.

The penalty corners haven’t produced enough returns either despite the presence of a triple-battery of drag-flick experts and a couple of hitters.

But pointing out individuals to blame in a team effort that left a lot to be desired wouldn’t be fair.

Belgium swamps Spain

Three goals in as many minutes saw Spain go from simply losing a game to being thrashed comprehensively by World No. 2 Belgium, suffering a 5-0 loss here on Sunday.

The other match saw Argentina fight back thrice to draw 3-3 with Netherlands.

The results (Pool A):

Belgium 5 (Loick Luypaert 3, Cedric Charlier, Florent van Aubel) bt Spain 0; Argentina 3 (Lucas Vila, Matias Rey, Gonzalo Peillat) drew with Netherlands 3 (Thierry Brinkman, Valentin Verga, Mirco Pruijser).

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 7:28:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/hockey/india-seeks-to-fix-the-chinks-in-its-armour/article21255146.ece

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