Upbeat Indians take on Belgium

Upbeat Indians take on Belgium

The last time they faced Belgium, India was humbled 4-0 at the Hockey World League Semifinal in Antwerp, Belgium. The Indians were left clueless as the Belgians dismantled their defence for Florent van Aubel to slot in a hat-trick.

But since then, the Indian team has shown steady improvement in their game. But if there’s one flaw that stands out about the national side is the ease with which they can slip back to their sloppy nature.

Inconsistency is a norm in Indian hockey than an exception. While this can prove costly on many occasions, it can also be a surprise weapon for the side. And the Indian coach Roelant Oltmans would hope that it’s the latter when they take on Belgium in the second semifinal of the Hockey World League Final on Saturday.

In their match against Great Britain, the Indians were all over their opponents dominating from the first hooter. While the defence held a tight line, not allowing the British forwards any room to exploit, the attack to joined the party with the likes of Amir Khan and Akashdeep Singh keeping Britain on their toes.

But can India repeat or even better the feat, is the big question. “If you ask me whether we will be able to give a performance like this (the one against Great Britain) again, then frankly speaking I am not sure about it,” said Oltmans highlighting India’s inconsistency.
While India has had to tackle their inconsistency, Belgium on the other hand has grown from strength to strength with every game.

They started their journey losing out to world champions Australia 1-0 in a closely fought game, only to come back strongly and pummel Canada 7-2 in their next tie. While, the Belgians displayed their quality to rally back from a deficit to draw against Great Britain, they were definitely the superior side in the quarters win over Argentina.

Belgium for long has been tipped as the dark horse of world hockey. While they have some big names in their ranks like Tom Boon and John-John Dohmen, their temperament in the crucial games has always come under scrutiny.

They lost out to India in the quarterfinals of the Champions Trophy in 2014 and then flopped against Australia in the final of the Hockey World League Semifinal in their own backyard. However, their choking abilities came to the forewhen they failed to get into the semifinal of the Euro Hockey Championships early this year.

While the Red Lions will be keen to get their act together and continue a fine run, the Indians will look to make the most of the home advantage and enter Sunday’s final.
DH News Service

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