The Indian men’s hockey team will take on Begium in the quarterfinals of the Rio 2016 Olympics on Sunday, starting 21:00 hrs IST. India are coming to the round of 8 stage with am inconsistent run of performances. On Sunday, the team will play one of their biggest matches, if they are to qualify for the semis. The feat will ensure a chance to Roelant Oltmans’ team to enter the semifinals of the Olympics for the first time since the 1980 Moscow Games.
The Belgians are in affluent form as they have scored 21 goals in the five group matches at the Rio Games, while conceding just two. They have showed their class against strong teams like Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand, as well as the home team Brazil.
India might have won the Gold medal in the Asian Games, but their recent matches against Holland and Canada have dented some hopes in the camp. They will need to be on top of their game if they are to qualify in the final stages of the tournament and ensure a medal for the country.
“Now, the real Olympics starts, because there is no chance for any losses. It is now all about winning the matches. So, it is more important to concentrate on the positive side and sharpen your weak points because you cannot afford any mistake from over there. So, it is always important to perform well in the quarter-finals,” said captain PR Sreejesh.
Sreejesh has led the squad well in the group matches. India’s defensive measures are key to holding the Red Lions in the knockout stage on Sunday.
“As a team, I think we are performing really well. We are showing improvement. I think we have gained a lot of confidence from the past matches. And I think that is going to help us in the quarterfinals. I think winning a match is more important for us now a days and gaining some points in the lay ground that makes the difference in the quarterfinals,” added Sreejesh.