London Olympics Preview – Hockey




Pride is at skate not medals in London Olympics 2012 for Indian hockey team.

There is no use to continuously speak about our past glories and hunt down our current Indian team morale. Yes, we are the undisputed champions and king of hockey some 35 years ago. So, what? lets move on and look at the present. This Indian hockey team looks far skilled and united than any other team we had in the last decade. One of the major reasons for that is the coach Nobbs. Unlike the other foreign coach, he didn’t tried to inherit other national team successful tactics or system. Nobbs instead trying to re-create our old style to attacking play with some tweaks to suit the modern hockey needs. It will be a long process because attacking style of play requires the whole team to be cohesive in their movement during both defending and attacking.

His ability to convert penalty corners into goals will be the difference between win and lose for team India.

Sadly the present generation of any Indian sports team is not known for being fitter, stronger and quicker. That’s what Nobbs trying to eradicate first in the hockey team players. For the past 6 months, our players undergone rigorous training with strict diet to improve their speed and endurance. It is definitely reflected in the results as India thrashed all their team in Olympic qualification tournament where we scored more than 40 goals from 5 matches. Although thereafter, India produced mixed results in their international series in France and Spain but as coach Nobbs said that rather look at the process than results. Nobbs didn’t fielded his best team all the times.

India is drawn in the Pool B which has Netherlands, Korea, New Zealand, Belgium and Germany in it. Except Belgium, all other teams in Pool B are ranked higher than India. The results against medal favourites Netherlands and and Germany will be crucial for India’s semi-final chances. A draw will do against them surely with wins against Belgium and Korea on the cards. New Zealand are tough opponents where we need a win not just draw. Only top two teams will qualify for semi’s, so India need to win minimum 3 matches and earn draws in another two matches. India will began their Olympic battle on July 30th against tough Netherlands.

If we can defend well, then surely our chances of reaching semi-final is very good. Because we are playing attacking branded hockey which provides so much opportunity upfront and at same time, exposes our defense for counter-attacks to be made by opponents. Another worry is the blue turf at Riverbank Arena, London. Indian coach Nobbs and few other national team coaches raised their unhappiness about constant variable bounce which makes penalty corners as tough to convert into goals.

We are in the process of revival not domination. So, a good result is what required rather than medals.

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