India is expected to make their way into the quarterfinals of the ongoing Hockey World Cup. The home team is currently in second place with four points from two matches and only trail group toppers England on the basis of goal difference.
India will take on Wales, who lost both of their matches against England and Spain, on Thursday. England and Spain will face each other on Thursday at 5:00 PM IST and after that game, India will have a clear picture of what is required for them to go through.
However, the team’s head coach Graham Reid’s message to his players is simple – play your normal game – and book your berth for the last eight of the tournament.
Reid said in the pre-match press conference, “It’s probably an advantage knowing what your objective is but I don’t think we will be getting transfixed on it, it’s dangerous. You play your normal game, move the ball around, play simple. If you continuously worry about the result the adrenaline becomes too much. The message will be to keep it simple and stay patient.
“Wales is a very good team, they will hurt you if you give too much space. Like in cricket, if you are batting second, you know what you need to score. But as far as preparations are concerned, there is no difference, the focus is on winning, not playing differently,” Reid explained on the eve of the game.
The team’s captain Harmanpreet Singh was also on the same page and agreed with his coach.
The skipper said, “When we get that update (of what we need to do), it is better. But our focus is to play our best. Even if we know we need only one or two goals, it’s not like we are going to go in with that mindset.”
Meanwhile, Reid is also not worried about the fact that India has found the back of the net on two occasions in two matches. However, at the same time, their defense has been top class as they have maintained two clean sheets.
“I am not sure there is any specific reason. We have created enough opportunities, I would be worried if we were not doing that. We just need to focus on the execution of skills. To be honest I am very proud of the way my team has played.
“I think the most important thing is adding a bit of calmness, sometimes they are rushing a little bit and not making the right choices. But those things can happen to anyone in the heat of the moment. Against England we made better choices, our position is okay – we just need to execute it,” he said.