The Indian Men’s Hockey team is very confident that they are strong enough to challenge the Olympic Champions Argentina in their backyard. The Indian team along with head coach Graham Reid and the support staff have arrived at Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina.
Reid selected a 22-man squad for the two FIH Hockey Pro League matches against Argentina. The tour will also have two friendlies. The Pro League matches are scheduled on April 11 and 12.
Ahead of the tough challenge against the South American side, India’s vice-captain feels that the team morale is very high as they see this as a challenge to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics which will be held later this year. He also added how the Men in Blue need to adapt to the style of the Olympic Champions.
“Argentina’s style of play is slightly different compared to the teams we played in Europe,” said Harmanpreet in a release issued by Hockey India.
“We will certainly be using this tour as an opportunity to gather momentum ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. Teams around the world are trying to get as much match practice before the Olympics and we are no different.
“We are grateful to be getting more games under our belt and need to make the most of it. To play the Olympic champions will be challenging but I believe we have the experience and the talent in our ranks to come out victorious,” he added.
Harmanpreet has been one of the star performers for the Indian side in recent times. He was in great touch at the European tour which was the team’s first action since the pandemic enforced break.
“We are very happy with the way the Europe tour shaped up for us. Whether in quarantine or back home, the past year we worked hard on our fitness with high-intensity body-weight training in our rooms and I’m glad it paid off,” said the 25-year-old.
“We have also worked on the tactical side of the game as well as our finishing. Hopefully, we can produce more good performances here in Argentina as well.”
When last time both sides met it was Graham Reid’s men who had the last laugh with a 2-1 win over Argentina at the Champions Trophy in Breda in 2018. Harmanpreet feels that the team will take motivation from that performance when they step on the field. The return of experienced players will also boost India’s chances.
“I would say we are evenly matched in terms of quality. It is great to have the likes of Manpreet Singh and Rupinder Pal Singh back in the side.
“The presence of senior experienced players like them, who have seen many highs and lows in their careers, has only boosted the morale of the side,” Harmanpreet concluded.