After Indian men’s hockey team’s 4-3 win against New Zealand in a thrilling opening match in the FIH Hockey Pro League 2022-2023, Harmanpreet Singh-led will next face stiff competition from Spain on Sunday at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium.

In Friday’s season opener, India rallied back from 1-3 down in the third quarter with three crucial goals scored by Harmanpreet (42’) and Mandeep Singh (52’ and 57’). Mandeep Mor had scored India’s first goal in the 14th minute after which New Zealand struck thrice through Sam Lane (23’ and 36’), Jake Smith (36’).

“I like how we finished the game and the team’s self-belief coming to the fore. It’s never easy to bounce back from a situation that we were in against New Zealand but it shows the team’s fighting spirit. But it’s important we play all four quarters with that same intensity,” expressed chief coach Graham Reid without mincing his words.

In the previous season, India beat Spain 5-4 in the first match and lost to them 3-5 in the second encounter of the double header. Reflecting on Spain’s potential, Graham said, “Spain is a strong side and has the ability to bounce back from any situation. It’s important for us to keep up the tempo up in all quarters and not drop the momentum at any point in the match.”

Talking about facing India as an opponent, Max Caldas, head coach of Spain said, “India is a very good side, they have done well in the recent past including a medal at the Olympic Games. They display good skill and speed. Having said that, we are a motivated side and excited to be here to play these matches.”

“We have prepared well and our focus will be the processes we have in place and executing them well. Every match in the Pro League is important for us,” Caldas added.