Indian hockey team aims for cleansweep against France 

Wattignies (France), Aug 4 (IANS) Following their 2-0 win in their first outing, the Indian hockey team is geared to take on France at the Wattignies Sports Centre here on Wednesday in their second and last match before they head to Spain.

In Monday’s game, India dominated the match and outplayed France in all departments. They will continue their attacking strategy and look for early goals to keep up the pressure on the hosts.

The forward line, led by the experienced S.V. Sunil, displayed a brilliant performance as they pushed the French defenders throughout the first match. Ramandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh and Mandeep Singh continuously attacked and played out most of the match in the opponents’ half.

The forwards were given good support from the midfield where captain Sardar Singh played a crucial role.

“The first win was very important for our team and our players who are motivated with the result. We played as per our coach’s game plan and got good results,” said Sardar.

“We are trying some new things and there are areas where we have to perform better in the next match and will again play for the win. France may come out stronger this time with better strategies but we are ready to face them.”

Chinglensana Singh, who scored the first goal, S.K. Uthappa, Danish Mujtaba, Devindar Walmiki and youngster Satbir Singh will continue with the strategy of controlling the midfield.

India successfully held its goal post with its strong defense line which includes Birendra Lakra, V.R. Raghunath, Kothajit Singh, Gurjinder Singh and Rupinder Pal Singh. The French attackers found it difficult to convert their opportunities. Though they managed to earn few penalty corners, but all were thwarted by India’s world-class goalie P.R. Sreejesh.

“The first match was very good and we played as per our strategies. The players displayed a good performance and controlled the match perfectly. We have tried some new strategies and team combinations which yielded us positive results,” India chief coach Roelant Oltmans said.

“Young players also successfully implemented the strategies on the field and helped the team to maintain ball possession. We will continue our attacking game plan in the next match also and try some new things. We are not taking France lightly at all and we will play with full force tomorrow.”


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