HWL: Erratic India eye improved performance against Great Britain
India are yet to win a match in the tournament.
Raipur: A disappointing pool campaign fresh in their minds, an inconsistent India will have to raise their game by leaps and bounds as a dangerous Great Britain await the hosts in the quarterfinals of the ongoing Hockey World League (HWL) here tomorrow.
India are still searching for their first win in the tournament, having finished last in Pool B with a draw and two losses.
Great Britain, on the other hand, topped Pool A with two wins, which includes an upset victory over world champions Australia.
India finished last in Pool B but still progressed to the quarterfinals thanks to the format which allows all the eight participating teams to make it to the knock-out phase.
India's game has been erratic so far in the tournament. After a lacklustre showing against Argentina, the Sardar Singh-led side produced an inspired performance to hold Olympic champions Germany to a 1-1 draw before witnessing another off day in office, losing 1-3 to the Netherlands.
And India's chief Roelant Oltmans coach was candid enough to admit that inconsistency is an area which the team needs to address.
"It's not been consistent enough, that's clear. We have been good in certain faces. Against Germany we played really well. There's room for improvement," he had said.
"For me the most important thing is we need to be patient and take so more time when we execute our plans. Every attack from us has been 100 per cent. The boys are playing the way I want them to play. But too many times we lose possession somewhere on our way."
Midfield's performance has been steady in the three matches but it is the finishing from the strikers, which is an area of concern.
The Indian striking force of Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, SV Sunil, Talwinder Singh Mohd Amir turned out to big disappointment in this tournament, wasting numerous scoring opportunities. Out of the five, only Akashdeep scored a goal in the 1-1 draw against Olympic champions Germany.
The Indians scored just two goals in three games but Oltmans defended his misfiring strikers.
"It is disappointing but like I said before, you just can't blame the forwards. We also need to look at the kind of passes they receive. Sometimes it looks like the forward is not picking up the ball, but the pass itself is terrible. Sometimes it's a bumpy ball, the direction is not good, speed is not good and seems that the forward made the mistake," Oltmans said.
The backline too needs to pull up their socks as India have already conceded seven goals.
And come tomorrow, the Indians will have to produce their best in all departments of the game if they want to upstage the world ranked fourth Great Britain.
Great Britain has impressed all and sundry with their brilliant display in the pool stages.
Even though they are here without the services of some experienced players like Barry Middleton and Ashley Jackson, Great Britain looked threatening.
The Dan Fox-led British side did not have the best of outing in their 3-1 win over lowly Canada in their opening match but as the tournament progressed they got into their groove.
In their next pool match, Great Britain stunned world champions Australia 5-2 before playing out a 3-3 draw against Belgium in a high-intensity enthralling duel yesterday.
Besides the India-Great Britain match, Argentina will play Belgium in the last quarterfinal tomorrow.