Indian hockey team might have defeated France in the first practice match but chief coach Paul van Ass feels Saturday’s clash in the Hockey World League Semi-Final will be a real test for the side and they need to not only get the penalty corners but also convert them.
“The boys look in good form as they have showcased great play during the practice matches. But tomorrow (Saturday) will be the real test that they have to pass,” van Ass said ahead of their opening match.
“Our practice match against Great Britain helped the team to work on the initial pressure that we had planned. I am hoping they continue this tomorrow (Saturday).
“With France they have to be careful as they are a strong team and will not give in easily. The key will be to get the crucial penalty corners in our name and convert them.”
The India men’s hockey team will kick off their quest for the FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Final in Belgium with a clash against France on the opening day on Saturday.
Ranked ninth in the world, Sardar Singh’s side are in the same pool with Australia, Poland, France and arch-rivals Pakistan.
The Indian team had a good campaign against France by winning the match through a brilliant penalty corner conversion by Rupinder Pal Singh.
India has yet another advantage in the head-to-head meeting with France as they notched up a 6-2 win over them when they previously locked horns in the 2013 Rabobank Hockey World league Semi Finals in the Netherlands.
India Captain Sardar Singh said: “The tournament is important for us, as here we will be implementing new strategies and play which will help us gauge on where we stand as a team.
“We clashed against France during our practice session here and while we won the match we are still not over confident. The match against them got to the forefront that we had to capitalize on the initial chances and create pressure. For this we will strive to have maximum possession of the ball and keep attacking.”
Fintro Hockey World League Semi-Final 2015 is scheduled from June 20 to July 5.