In the months leading up to the 2023 FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup, a lot of focus was on India’s defensive fragility. But in contrast, after their opening two matches in Rourkela, the defence allayed some fears by keeping back-to-back clean sheets against quality opposition in Spain and England.
While the defence has gone from strength to strength, the attack has suddenly lost their edge. An attack which scored 32 goals in their nine matches before the World Cup has struggled in front of goal in Odisha.
Though they lead the tournament in the number of circle penetrations with 45, the final output has been missing, something which chief coach Graham Reid spoke about in the pre-match press conference on Wednesday.
“We are creating opportunities so I am not worried about that. We just need to focus on the execution of the skills,” Reid said.
“The most important thing is a little bit of calmness. ‘Aaram se, aaram se’. I think sometimes they are perhaps rushing a little bit, making not the right choices. Those are things that can happen in the heat of battle. Against England, we made a lot of chances and a lot better choices. I thought their keeper played very well. Our positioning is kinda ok…