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'Playing against Spain ahead of Hockey World Cup 2023 has helped the team,' says Harmanpreet Singh

New Delhi, Nov 8: Indian Men's Hockey Team had a solid showing at the FIH Men's Hockey Pro League 2022-23 last week as they defeated New Zealand 7-4 and then went past Spain with a 2-2 (3-1 SO) win at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.

But despite the results, Harmanpreet Singh, who led the Indian team in the tournament, insisted that there are still certain areas where the team can improve as they prepare for the upcoming FIH Odisha Hockey Men's Hockey World Cup Bhubaneswar-Rourkela 2023, beginning from January 13.

Speaking after the win against Spain, Harmanpreet Singh said that the team can avoid getting cards. "The team's efforts have been quite good in these matches but we can avoid getting cards. Because even if we lose one player on the field, then everyone has to run twice as much."

"We do train for how we have to create our formation and structure if we are a man short. Hence, despite getting the cards, we were able to defend well. But still, it is important for us to avoid getting cards," the Indian drag-flicker added.

Harmanpreet further said that despite the errors, the team can gain confidence from the fact that they were able to maintain their composure and not panic against strong opposition.

"It is good that we are making errors in these matches from which we can learn from and improve as we move on towards the World Cup. We are still able to settle down despite the errors and not lose our composure. It definitely helps us in building our confidence in each other, and improving the team," he said.

India and Spain are both placed in Pool D along with Wales and England at Men's Hockey World Cup 2023. The two teams will meet each other in their opening contest on January 13, 2023.

Harmanpreet believes that facing Spain in the FIH Men's Hockey Pro League 2022-23 games has helped the Indian team in analysing the opposition.

"When you look at the match, it was a high-intensity contest. Both teams were fighting till the end. Spain is in our World Cup pool match so playing against them will help us going into the tournament," he said.

"They are also reading us and we are also getting a chance to analyse them before the tournament and to keep a stock of their strengths. We will work on our shortcomings and improve upon making clean baseline tackles," he signed off.

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Story first published: Tuesday, November 8, 2022, 13:04 [IST]
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