HWL 2017: Laughter and games in India camp ahead of crunch German meeting

Manpreet Singh, the India skipper, was in the midst of his pre-match TV obligations when his teammates decided to play a joke on him.

Published: 04th December 2017 01:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th December 2017 09:45 AM   |  A+A-

Indian hockey players during a training session at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Sunday ahead of their match against Germany. | PTI

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: Manpreet Singh, the India skipper, was in the midst of his pre-match TV obligations when his teammates decided to play a joke on him. The anchor, Anna Flanagan — an Australian women’s hockey player who is here as a commentator — is taller than Manpreet, so a few Indian players dropped a stool next to where he was speaking with Flanagan.

The group burst out laughing, even as the 25-year-old went on a small walkabout, head buried in his shirt. Flanagan also managed a chuckle. It’s safe to say that the atmosphere is sound in the Indian camp ahead of their last clash of the pool stages against Germany on Monday.

While it may have no effect on qualification, India need at least a point to avoid the possible prospect of facing Belgium in the quarterfinals. The Red Lions, who humbled Spain 5-0 in the opening encounter on Sunday, top Pool A and are one of the favourites.

While coach Sjoerd Marijne did not want to look that far ahead, he opined that the Germany match will a perfect chance for the team to improve. “We saw the match against England and know there is a lot of scope for improvement. Germany is an opportunity to improve ourselves. We are here to win matches and want to win the final pool game.”

The Dutchman said they will have to create more spaces if they are to be successful against Germany, who are second in the Pool. “For us, it’s important to create spaces and for that to happen we have to stay outside the physical space of the opponents. We didn’t do that in the opening two quarters but changed that in the last two (quarters). One way to make those spaces is to adopt India’s new bible, the give and go brand of hockey which Marijne has been advocating ever since he stepped into his new role.

That part of the hosts’ game malfunctioned against England, something which Marijne claimed will improve gradually. “It’s all in the head (not being consistent with a new brand of hockey),” he said when asked why players weren’t able to do that consistently. “They have to do that day in, day out, not just for a couple of matches.”

Sunday’s results:

Pool A: Belgium 5 beat Spain 0.

Netherlands 3 drew with Argentina 3.

Monday’s matches:

Pool B:

England vs Australia (5.30 pm).

India vs Germany (7.30 pm).

Pakistan matters in Men's World Cup 2018

Various teams from Pakistan have increasingly found it difficult to participate in sporting activities in India over the last 18 months or so. The Pakistan junior men’s hockey team too suffered the same fate.

FIH CEO McCracken assured that FIH had already begun talking to Pakistan about the completion of documents for next year’s men’s World Cup.

“We have already begun talking to Pakistan,” he said. “We have to make sure that they get their visas on time, and they have to do all the correct things.”


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