Olympic Men's Hockey: India to face defending champions Argentina in their fourth league match
New Delhi, July 28, 2021
Virtually assured of a place in the quarter-finals, a confident India will look for their third win when they take on defending champions Argentina in their fourth match of the Tokyo Olympics at the Oi Hockey Stadium in the Japanese capital on Thursday.
India opened their Olympics campaign with a 3-2 win over New Zealand, and then went down against Australia (1-7) in their second match. However, the Manpreet Singh-led side bounced back with an authentic 3-0 win over Spain to register their second win and climbed up to the 2nd spot in the Pool A table.
"I would say, this win is a confidence-booster at this stage. We earned three valuable points, but still a long way to go. We just kept things basic and played to our strengths. However, there are a few more things where I think we can focus and work on," Manpreet said about the team's win over Spain.
"You know, we didn't actually play that bad against Australia, but they played quite well, and most of the part, we just couldn't put the ball away from them. It's important that the Indian players kept calm and got the job done against Spain. Good result, but again, I think there are things to work on from an improvement perspective," opined coach Graham Reid.
Argentina has been tentative in this tournament so far but they can prove dangerous. They have nothing to lose and will go all out against India. Though India had beaten them in the league match at Rio, they went on to win the gold while India lost in the quarter-finals.
About the match against Argentina, the skipper said, "No doubt, we had a successful Argentina tour, but that was in the past, and this is a totally different occasion.
'So, we can't take any teams lightly on a platform like the Olympics. It's going to be a good game, and I think we will just have to stick to our skills and just repeat all the things we do in our practice sessions."
"We know each other pretty well; we played a lot of games with them in May. I am imagining that they will try different things, so we just need to make sure that we are ready for the unknown, which is always difficult," said Reid.
"We are looking forward to it, they are a tough team, so we need to be playing a lot better. We need to play all four quarters like we played the first quarter against Spain," he added.
Earlier this year, India had a successful outing during the Argentina tour as they beat the defending Olympic Champions 2-2 (3-2 SO) and 3-0 in the FIH Hockey Pro League double-header.
They also registered a 4-3 win, 4-4 draw, 0-1 loss and 4-2 win in the practice matches, which were held as part of their preparations for the Olympic Games.