Jun 21, 2015

Five Things We Learnt from India-France Match in Hockey World League

Manpreet surprised everyone with a goal from penalty corner
Goals from penalty corner expert Manpreet Singh, Devindar Walmiki and Ramandeep Singh guided India to a 3-2 win over world no 18 France but it was not before all the drama as the French gave Indian hockey team a scare by scoring early goals. Here are give things we learnt from India-France match played yesterday.

             France is next big team to come out of Europe
In 2012 Olympics Qualifiers, India beat France 8-1 in the finals to qualify for the London Olympics, three years and since then France has
taken great strides in World Hockey though their ranking says otherwise. France performed consistently in Round 2 of the tournament where they came out as winners beating China 5-2. They continued to perform well post the Round 2 success and restricted India to a narrow 1-0 victory in the practice match. Yesterday, once again France gave India a scare and scored as early as in 3rd minute of the play. They continued to create problems for India during the entire match with man marking Indian attackers which forced India on a back foot despite result not going their way in the end. If they continue to take such strides in international hockey, they day is not far when they will be a force to reckon with in the entire hockey world.

      Manpreet Singh is India’s beast
One thing that Indian coach Paul Van Ass has been able to do in his early stint with the team is to get tap the skills of the players and get them to use for the benefit of the team. Manpreet Singh, a midfielder was shifted to defence at the start of the match but then he eventually moved to his favourable position in the midfield. After moving to midfield, he started receiving the ball and used it to win a penalty corner for India. The biggest surprise of the match was his drag-flick from which he scored to level the match. Manpreet Singh has scored goal for India prom penalty corners but it is the first time he has scored from a drag flick. Manpreet Singh, slowly and steadily is building himself up to be India’s best player and the penalty corner drag-flick is one more feather to his cop of great skills. And the trademark CR7 celebration, no doubt Manpreet is hockey’s Ronaldo.

      Jasjit Kular shows great potential
A lot has been said about Jasjit Kular and his ability to play in any position on the field and yesterday against France; he proved that he has the potential to play in any position. He started in the defence and went on to play in all the positions team needed to be. He was contributing in the midfield, he was good while defending and even got some moves while going forward. With him and Gurbaj on the right flank, India’s most attacking moves came from the ride hand side of the field. He was given a chance to score from penalty corner but his flick went wide. He had a good outing against France yesterday and if he continues to perform the same way, he will surely become a team regular. 
 India needs to work hard on its 10v11 strategy
Right before the tournament, Indian captain Sardar Singh talked about the strategy of attacking with 10 players and defending with 11 players but this strategy did not work against France who caught India’s every move. While attacking, the players did not work together as the forward line stayed near the attacking striking circle making midfield led by Sardar Singh to work their way out to create goal scoring chances. While defending also, the forward line was AWOL and India was usually outnumbered while defending. The 10v11 is surely a great strategy but Indian team needs to use the strategy to get favourable results.

      Walmiki brothers are here to stay
Yesterday was a great day for Walmiki family to see both their sons Yuvraj and Devindar play together for India and yesterday Devindar Walmiki made his debut for India and scored the second goal for India to give them advantage against France. Both Yuvraj and Devindar combined well during the match and did create couple of chances. Yuvraj was great with the ball, giving up his goal poacher instincts to try and force a move to create goal scoring chances. Devindar was underwhelming in the early stages of the match but the goal gave him good confidence and he finished well. Yuvraj and Devindar if continue to perform same way will surely be the heart of Indian attack and continue to play together for Indian team.

What do you think of India’s performance in yesterday’s game against France? Let us know by giving your valuable comments.

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