Belgium scrape past India in practice tie

Belgium scrape past India in practice tie

The Indian men’s hockey team lost 1-2 to hosts Belgium in their second practice match ahead of the Fintro FIH World League Semifinals which will get underway in Antwerp, Belgium, from June 20.

Belgium, ranked fourth in the world, opened their scoring in 12th minute of the match on Saturday. India equalised in the 32nd minute through striker Akashdeep Singh.

But the Belgians had the last laugh as they scored the winner in the 52nd minute through another field strike. India will play their third practice match against USA on June 16. India had earlier defeated France 1-0 in their first practice game.

‘Sunil will be missed’

Meanwhile, forward Yuvraj Walmiki said the services of ace striker S V Sunil would be missed. “I think we will miss him on the field as he is the speed demon of the team. The way he tears through the heart of the opponents defence is remarkable. But I think we need to learn on playing under situations where key players have to miss out because of reasons beyond anyone’s control,” Walmiki said.

Speaking on him and his brother being in the team, he said it was quite special for him. “I am fortunate to be part of this important tournament and it becomes more special as I will be playing along with my brother Devindar Walmiki. This is like a dream come true as we always spoke about representing the country together and this dream is soon to get realised.”

On the new attacking strategies, he said coach Paul van Ass has helped the team improvise according to the situation. “Under the new Chief Coach Paul van Ass, we are learning how to change our game from attack to defend in a matter of a few seconds. All the players are now part of the team’s defensive strategies and I am learning the skills and defending tactics,” he said.

"This I think will work in our favour as we change our game plan as per the situation now. The players have no set boundaries now and each one is responsible towards the going-on, on the field," he added.

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