Junior Hockey World Cup quarterfinals: Tirkey's tips for Indian team - tighter defence, careful approach

Former captain Dilip Tirkey prescribes a tighter defence and a careful approach for the Indian colts in their crucial quarterfinal match against a formidable Belgium.

File picture of Dilip Tirkey.   -  M. Vedhan

Former captain Dilip Tirkey prescribes a tighter defence and a careful approach for the Indian colts in their crucial quarterfinal match against a formidable Belgium in the men’s hockey Junior World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium here on Wednesday.

Tirkey, a well-known defender of his times, said the Indian juniors should not give Belgium chances to counterattack. “We needed to be more organised in defence. Belgium is one of the top teams and the runner-up of the last edition. We cannot afford to have a loose defence against it,” Tirkey told Sportstar on Monday.

“We must avoid wrong passing and should not give Belgium chances to counterattack. We need to be alert about the long passes and the aerial ball. We have to intercept those in time to deny the opponent any advantage.” 

READ: India defeats Poland to qualify for quarterfinals

Looking back at India’s pool matches, Tirkey said, “France played better hockey than us and showed that it is a fit team with a process in place. France played well for three quarters, while we played well in one. Canada and Poland did not put much pressure, even though these matches were good practice opportunities.

“Our confidence must be up after two wins. We have some good quality players with fine skills. Our penalty corner conversion has been good and we need to focus more on getting field goals.”

Tirkey, who was rarely booked in his long career, had a word of caution for the host. “In the last match, we got a few cards. We have to be careful as suspension of a player affects the structure on the field. Such mistakes may prove very costly against stronger sides,” said Tirkey.

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