Indian hockey team faces Spain

Sant Cugat del Valles (Spain), Aug 9 (IANS) After winning the series against France 2-0, the Indian men’s hockey team will take on Spain in the first of their three-match series of their European Tour here on Monday.

The Roelant Oltmans-coached side defeated Spain 2-0 and 4-1 in the first two matches and would like to continue the good work against the Spanish team.

“The team is very confident post the recent win against France. I have seen a significant improvement in the boys and they have immensely worked on their strategies and tactics by rectifying their mistakes committed in the last matches,” Oltmans, who doubles up as the Hockey India (HI) high performance director, said in a release on Sunday.

“Our defence is a huge strength for us and I hope we start the campaign on a winning note tomorrow,” the Dutchman added.

In the last two matches between the two outfits, India have not had satisfactory results. Spain held India 1-1 in a league match of the 2014 World Cup. They also met in the 2013 Hockey World League (HWL) Semi-Finals where India lost 2-4 in the fifth place classification contest.

This time, Indian goalkeeper and vice-captain P.R. Sreejesh needs to be at his best, while Gurjinder Singh will be looked out for his drag-flicking skills.

Spain are known for their strong defensive structure and skipper Sardar Singh, S.K. Uthappa and Chinglensana Singh will have to win the midfield battle for India.

“The team is now more motivated after clinching the series against France. The aim will be to put pressure on Spain from the start and work on all departments beginning with defence, ball possession and attacking strategy,” centre-half Sardar elaborated on his strategy ahead of the game.

“I hope we continue the winning streak and confront the opponents confidently tomorrow to come out as winners.”

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