The Indian men’s hockey team will look to put up a disciplined performance and stay away from unnecessary cards in their bid to return to winning ways against Canada at the Commonwealth Games here on Wednesday.
After an impressive 11-0 win over Ghana in their opener, India A three-goal advantage was held to a 4-4 draw by hosts England in their second Pool B match.
The Indians got off to a great start and dominated the first two quarters to take a 3-0 lead into halftime. But the British stunned the Indians in the final two quarters.
England were helped by three cards twice to India’s Varun Kumar, one for five minutes in the first half and 10 minutes in the second half, in addition to a 10-minute suspension for Gurjant Singh in the final quarter for dangerous play.
England took full advantage of those mistakes to put pressure on the Indian defense and they eventually crumbled under the pressure of sharing the spoils.
India vice-captain Harmanpreet Singh admitted that he needs to be more disciplined going forward.
“Our great win against Ghana was the perfect way to start our Commonwealth Games campaign. But we are a little disappointed with our performance against England.
“There are a lot of takeaways from that match for us, especially when it comes to discipline and not letting our guard down when we have a good lead on the board,” he said.
The Indians are second in the pool with four points from one win and one draw, while England lead with seven points from three matches.
A win against Canada would cement India’s place in the group and take them a step closer to a semi-final berth.
In terms of form and ranking, it should be a cakewalk for India. India is ranked fifth in the world, while Canada is ranked 13th.
The last time India played Canada, in the 2019 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, the Manpreet Singh-led team won 7-3.
Despite the draw against England, Indians will prefer to play to their strengths, which is attacking hockey. However, while doing so, they will need to guard against complacency.
Harmanpreet said, “Canada is a tough opponent, it’s been a while since we faced them in any official tournament, but our game plan is clear and the players are ready to execute it perfectly as our preparations for this game have been rigorous. Harmanpreet said.
After Canada, India will complete their pool engagement with a match against Wales on Thursday.