Hockey World Cup 2018: We are ready for the challenge, says Harendra Singh

Netherlands may start as favourite in the Hockey World Cup quarterfinal against India, but coach Harendra Singh is clear about what he expects from his team ahead of the face-off.

Too often, his statements might appear more bravado than fact but Harendra has insisted that his confidence stems from his faith in the players.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

Netherlands may start as favourite in the Hockey World Cup quarterfinal against India, but coach Harendra Singh is clear about what he expects from his team ahead of the face-off on Thursday.

Too often, his statements might appear more bravado than fact but Harendra has insisted that his confidence stems from his faith in the players.

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“What will happen is what we want and what we want is what 1.3 billion people want. The Indian team mentally and physically is ready, we have done our homework on Dutch aggression. We are ready to not only accept any challenge they throw at us but also solve it,” Harendra said.

“They love to play attacking hockey, so do we. It is an equal contest. You can’t afford to miss even 25 per cent chances. We have only three options — score, take a shot at goal or get a PC. Whatever we have prepared for years, we won’t do anything different but there will be minor adjustments,” he declared.

Acknowledging that PCs were the foundation for Netherlands’ success over the years, Harendra said,“From 1971 to 2018, base of their hockey is penalty corners. We can’t ignore that. But the best way to defend a PC is not to give any."

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Sustained intensity

Asked about India playing well in patches, Harendra noted, “I agree that we have dropped our intensity in the course of a game, which we cannot afford against a team like Holland. I have told them to keep that intensity not just for 74 minutes, including halftime and quarter-breaks."

There had been reports of a senior Hockey India official yelling at players on Tuesday night but Harendra was not concerned. “I know which country I am living in. I had given a chart on the very first day, showing what they have to concentrate on and what they have to ignore. If we focus on things not in our control, we waste our energies. Not worth it,” he quipped.