The Indian Men’s Hockey Team will return to FIH Hockey Pro League action when they take on the Olympic Champions Belgium in a crucial two-legged contest on June 11 and 12 at Sportcentrum Wilrijkse Plein in Antwerp.
Currently placed second in the pool table with 27 points in 12 matches, the Indian team are coming off a successful home leg. After starting their home leg with a 5-4 win and a 3-5 loss against Spain, the Indian team went on to secure match points against every team they played- Argentina (2-2 (1-3 SO) and 4-3), England (3-3 (3-2 SO) and 4-3) and Germany (3-0 and 3-1).
Speaking ahead of the two-legged tie against the hosts Belgium, Indian Men’s Hockey Team Captain Amit Rohidas said, “We’ve had a successful home leg, and I must say we have gone from strength to strength in the season so far. This will be the most important phase of the FIH Hockey Pro League. We will be facing two strong teams at their home, so it will be challenging.”
“We also got a good amount of time at the National Camp in SAI, Bengaluru to introspect on our performances. From structure to finishing, we’ve worked on all the aspects of the game. The plan will be to simply repeat what we’ve done in the training.”
Meanwhile, Vice-Captain Harmanpreet stated, “It’s been a great season so far. Many young players got a chance to play against top teams and they’ve grown with each match. We are in a good position, and our focus will be to carry forward the momentum we have gained from the home leg.”
The last time both teams faced each other was during the Tokyo Olympics 2020 Semi-Final where India lost 2-5 and Belgium went on to win the Olympic Gold medal.
“Look it was in the past, and this is a different stage. Of course, our aim will be to win both the matches and put ourselves in a strong position in the points table, but for that, we will have to play good hockey. Our focus will be on executing our skills,” Amit said.
Belgium are also tied at the same points (27 points in 12 matches) but are placed third in the pool table due to a lesser goal difference compared to India.
“The points table is getting intense, and we’ve got only four matches left that too against teams like Belgium and Netherlands. This is the challenge we were waiting for. We will go all out against them,” concluded Harmanpreet, who is currently the leading goalscorer in the league.
The double-header between Indian Men’s Hockey Team and Belgium will be played on June 11 and June 12 at 2000 hrs IST. The matches will be telecast live on Star Sports First and Disney+ Hotstar.