Graham Reid
Graham Reid

Groupings in World Cup are always difficult: Indian hockey coach Graham Reid

New Delhi, September 10, 2022

Chief coach Graham Reid on Friday admitted that India is in a tough Group D of the Hockey World Cup to be played from January 13 to 29, 2023 in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela in Odisha.

The draw for the Hockey World Cup was unveiled at Bhubaneswar on Thursday and India were clubbed with England, Wales and Spain in Group D.

“The pools in the World Cup and the Olympics are always difficult. Every team is there to win. We just played England and Wales in the Birmingham CWG and the games were of the highest quality," Reid said.

"To top that off with Spain, who have been improving in the last 12 months, will make the first-round games very difficult. As is the case with the finals qualification system now in place you also have to keep one eye on the cross-over pool and it certainly doesn't get any easier there,” he said.

Asked if playing Spain in the Pro League would help in the preparatory journey ahead of the World Cup, Reid said, “It always swings and roundabouts when you play games against future opponents in the big tournaments. Do you try strategies that you may want to use in the World Cup or do you show nothing and miss that opportunity! They can learn as much about you as you can learn about them.”

In the last edition of the World Cup, India bowed out in the quarter-finals. And this time round, the chief coach is hoping that his team will improve their World Cup record.

“As I said before, England are a world-class team and they are playing a very good brand of hockey at the moment. But so are we and the important part about the World Cup is that we have to keep our minds in the moment and focus on each aspect of the game.

"It is a very different team than it was four years ago, with different experiences and some different personnel. We are looking forward to the World Cup and playing in front of our home crowd.”

Reid also congratulated his players and the Women’s Chief Coach Janneke Schopman for being nominated for various categories in the FIH Stars Awards.

Defender Harmanpreet Singh, who won the Player of the Year Award in the 2020-21 edition, has been nominated for the same award yet again. Along with the defender, P R Sreejesh (goalkeeper), Savita (women's team goalkeeper ), Sanjay (Rising Star of the Year Men), Mumtaz Khan (Rising Star Women), Graham Reid (Team Coach) and Janneke Schopman (Women’s Team Coach) have also been nominated for the Star Awards.

“One thing that I can say with some surety, is that each of them acknowledges that Individual awards are a result of hours of hard work put in by a lot of people. They become reflections of team performance,” he added.

NNN

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