World Cups : India need to convert opportunities, minimise errors when they face tricky Canada VR Raghunath played two World Cups (2006, 2014) for India as a fullback. An acclaimed drag-flicker, Raghunath is a Champions Trophy silver medallist (2016), Commonwealth Games silver medallist (2016), and an Asian Games gold medallist (2014). He spoke to Shantanu Srivastava. I think India’s 2-2 result against Belgium is a fair reflection of the match, though we could have utilised our chances better. As I said last time, penalty corners (PCs) and goalkeeping were crucial in this match. We had some PCs in this match and we couldn’t convert them.
In the last four-five minutes, Belgium had taken off their goalkeeper and at that time we should have taken advantage. World Cups We should have gone for a short-corner then and at least enforce one PC and Harmanpreet Singh would have finished the match by flicking the goal at an empty post. We should be smart in these kind of situations. I think the first half was a bit fuzzy for India because we were too deep inside our half. That created pressure. If you ask me, we had good two-three chances in the first half which we could have converted. These kind of matches are always going to be tough, but we should utilise whatever comes our way.
Belgium’s attack in the opening quarter was expected. They are among the top teams in the world and we can’t take them easy. It’s never easy playing them, and it was the same on Sunday. Our defence did a very good job in the second half. The team is on the right track and a two-all draw is not a bad result and they are still topping the pool.There are a few lessons from this match. For starters, the way we played in the first half, we will do well not to play like that in coming matches. Every match is different ball-game and it is better to forget the lapses of the past two matches, identify the mistakes and improve for the next match. It’s important to start afresh.
PR Sreejesh, Manpreet Singh, Kothajit Singh, Birendra Lakra, and Chinglensana Singh are assuming leadership roles. It’s nice to see these players taking onus. Lakra had a good match on Sunday and he played a very crucial role. The second goal that India conceded could have been averted, I think. We should have cleared the ball instead of keeping it in the circle, but these kind of stray balls will always come inside. We should be mentally prepared for these kind of situations as we can’t afford such lapses in quarter-final or semi-final. The game against Canada will be another tough one, but we have to make sure we win it convincingly. They will be playing half courts. I feel they will pack their defence and try to irritate the Indians. They have a compact defence and they will try to attack us on the counter, so we need to be smart and take our chances. It will not be an easy game. They drew against us in the Olympics, and I can tell from experience that they are not an easy team to beat.
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UPDATED DATE : Dec 3, 2018 3:45 PM