India has not won a medal in the last 48 years. 36 years could not overcome the barrier of the group. However, the coach of the Indian team is optimistic about winning a medal this time. The performance of the last three years makes him optimistic.
The golden age is over. Indian hockey is now on the touch of Olympic bronze. Is it possible to win the World Cup? Harmanpreet Singha is confident. If the chance to play the World Cup at home is one of the reasons for the Indian hockey team’s confidence, the other reason is the team’s recent form.
A few days ago, the Indian hockey team defeated a strong team like Australia at their home ground. Manpreet Singh, Amit Ruidas, PR Sreejeshra are confident after winning medals in Tokyo Olympics. India is the most successful team in Olympic hockey but not in the World Cup. India has won the World Cup 15 times only once. 1975 Sonai World Cup was India’s last medal in hockey. India won bronze in 1971 and silver in 1973. The last medal at the Olympics before Tokyo came in 1972. So this time the members of the Indian team are hopeful about the medal of the World Cup.
India’s first opponent in the World Cup is Spain on Friday. Despite being a strong team, Spain does not have the sparkling success of India at the international level. Spain has not won a medal at the Olympics since silver in 2008. They do not have Olympic gold. The last medal at the World Cup was bronze in 2006. The Spanish have never been world champions. This is the first time they have qualified after exiting from the group stage of the World Cup in 2018. The Indian team is confident of starting their World Cup campaign with a win over Spain on Friday.
From 1978 to 2014, India could not clear the group stage in the Hockey World Cup. But that team is hoping to win the medal this time after 48 years. A few days ago, India played a bilateral rubber with Australia, the number one team in the world. Despite losing the rubber 1-4 on Australian soil, every match was a hard-fought affair. India is now at number six in the world ranking. The performance of the Indian team has improved significantly over the past three years under Graham Reid’s coaching. India has started playing aggressive hockey instead of attacking hockey. That changed the face of the team.
In the quarter-finals of the last World Cup, India lost to the Netherlands. However, Harmanpreeta finished third in the Hockey Pro League in the 2021-22 season after their success in Tokyo. After taking charge in 2019, Reid said there is no dearth of talent in the Indian team. Lack of confidence and courage. Playing aggressive hockey will change the face of this team. The team is made up of experienced and young players. Made few tactical changes in the team. That changed the face of the Indian hockey team.
The team’s rhythm is also giving Reid confidence ahead of the World Cup. He said, “In practice, we practiced different match situations. Suppose we are trailing 0-1 or playing with one man less or the opponent is playing with the goalkeeper out – we have practiced keeping in mind all possible situations.”