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Hockey World Cup 2023: India won't be fixated on big margin win against Wales for direct QF qualification

India will need to beat Wales by a big margin to directly qualify for the quarterfinals of the Hockey World Cup but coach Graham Reid said the hosts will not be preoccupied by that thought.

Graham Reid

Graham Reid



Updated: 18 Jan 2023 2:50 PM GMT

India will need to beat Wales by a big margin to directly qualify for the quarterfinals of the FIH Men's Hockey World Cup but chief coach Graham Reid on Wednesday said the hosts will not be preoccupied by that thought from the start and will play a normal game.

With four points from two games India are placed second in Pool D and will take on Wales in their last league game here on Thursday. England are leading the pool on account of a better goal difference.

India and England are on four points each after two matches, with the latter ahead on goal difference -- plus five as against plus three of the home side. India, though, will have the advantage of knowing what to do before their final Pool D match as they play after England's game against Spain on Thursday.

"That (knowing what to do before a match) is fair enough but we will not be fixated on it in the beginning. Doing that will be dangerous," Ried said at the pre-match press conference.

"We will play our natural game, keep simple and remain patient. We can wake up from there," he added.

Asked about lack of goals as India have scored just two in as many matches, Reid said, "There is no specific reason for that. I would have been worried if we were not creating opportunities. But we have been creating opportunities. Only thing lacking is the finishing. We are hoping that will come soon."

The Australian refused to divulge much on the MRI report of midfielder Hardik Singh's injury. Hardik had suffered a hamstring injury towards the end of the goalless draw against England on Sunday and is likely to miss the game against Wales.

"His MRI report was much better than what we had thought of. We are hoping that he will be playing in the tournament," Reid said.

Asked if India would be naming just 17 players, instead of 18, in the squad on Thursday, Reid said, "We will decide tomorrow."

Captain Harmanpreet Singh was asked about FIH's thought of tweaking penalty corner hit rules to give more reaction time to defending players so that they are safe, from the high speed ball from drag-flicks, he replied: "I think it will be good if the PC defenders have more time. It will not affect conversion rate as it (PC conversion) is all about timing (of the drag-flicker). It will not be affected by PC defenders getting more time."

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