Oltmans all praise for India's fightback

Having staged one of their most brilliant fightbacks in recent memory, India team director Roelant Oltmans lauded his boys for showing great mental strength that will augur well on the road to Rio Olympics.

“We have beaten some of the top teams this year and I’m really proud of the way they played today,” said the Dutchman after India rallied from 0-2 down to crush the Belgians 4-2 in the final quarterfinal of the Champions Trophy on Thursday.

“The win against the Netherlands in the final group game give us plenty of confidence. Today’s performance will also have a great bearing on the team as we build a side for the Rio Olympics. We need such matches of high quality. The team was simply brilliant today. They showed great mental strength and proved through hard work and determination they can close the gap between top sides.”

Oltmans also said he prepared the team for this event with the quarterfinals in mind. “Even before the tournament could start, I had the quarterfinals in mind. This afternoon, I told the boys that today would be the D-Day. The first quarter didn’t go according to our plans but they showed great heart from the second onwards.”

“Once they got that one goal, it helped them believe they could win. They played their hearts out today. I am really happy with the defence especially.”

Belgian coach Jeroen Delmee praised the India team, saying their incisive finishing made the difference. “India became dangerous when they scored the first goal. We were playing a tight and disciplined game before they opened their account. Thereafter we lost the plot and we also missed a lot of opportunities.

“After we took 2-0 lead, I thought we had the game. But this is hockey where games change in a matter of seconds. Once they took the lead they never allowed us to settle down. They were doing everything right once they equalised.”

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