India knew their task even before they took to the field at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. With England beating Spain 4-0 in their match, India needed to beat Wales by at least eight goals to pip England to the Pool D top spot on goal difference.
In the end they laboured to beat a spirited Welsh team 4-2 to finish second in Pool D and go into the crossovers of the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup.
Coach Graham Reid has often called himself a mentality coach wherein the mental preparation of his team is as important as the physical one. On Thursday, the Australian admitted that the pressure of scoring eight goals did get to his players even though there was no pressure put on them by the coaching staff.
“The quality of the skills needed to be increased. I think maybe we tried putting too much pressure on ourselves and that’s what happened,” Reid said after the match.
“No pressure came from me. The line today was ‘we just need to go out and play our normal game’. Of course you have scoreboard pressure. We needed to create opportunities and put them away when we did. That gives you the opportunity to press later in the game…