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Hockey World Cup 2023: England will be tougher than Spain, states Indian head coach Reid

Local hero Amit Rohidas and midfielder Hardik Singh scored in India's dominant win against Spain on Friday at the Hockey World Cup 2023. 

Hockey World Cup 2023: England will be tougher than Spain, states Indian head coach Graham Reid snt
First Published Jan 14, 2023, 4:37 PM IST

England will be more formidable opponents than Spain, whom India outclassed 2-0 in their opening World Cup match, and the home team cannot lower its guard in the second group match on Sunday, head coach Graham Reid said. 

India's resounding victory over Spain on Friday came courtesy of goals from midfielder Hardik Singh and local hero Amit Rohidas.

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India will advance to the quarterfinals with a victory over fifth-ranked England on Sunday because they will have a better chance of defeating Wales in their last Pool D game. Wales is ranked fifteenth in the world, whereas India is ranked sixth.

"We are up against England next and it will be tougher, they are ranked higher than us. We know how tough England are in the Commonwealth Games," Reid said. 

The two teams met each other three times last year, with their final match, which was played at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, concluding 4-4 in the group stage. The first leg of the Pro League match ended in a 3-3 draw, while India won the second leg 4-3. Both games were played in April.

"So, we will try to continue our good work (from the Spain match). We did really well defensively (against Spain), we have to continue it," Reid added. 

England will be a difficult opponent, and the host team would need to play their best hockey to defeat them, said captain Harmanpreet Singh.

"We are taking it match by match. Spain is done now, and our focus is on England, and we are planning for that," he said.

Also read: Hockey World Cup 2023: 'India did practice of playing with ten men' - Graham Reid after trumping Spain 2-0

"Winning penalty corners is very important and we can be better in PC conversion. We are hoping we will do better in that regard," said the drag-flicker, who was not at his best in the match against Spain. 

Singh could not find the target in the five penalty corners India got and also wasted a penalty stroke. "Once again, we need team effort. We have to make up for those who do not do that well on a particular day." 

Rohidas, who started learning his hockey from the Panposh Sports Hostel in Rourkela, said execution of team plans would be key to winning matches.

"I started from the Panposh sports hostel here and playing at home is a wonderful feeling. The support from such a large crowd motivated us but once we are on the pitch we try to focus on the game," he said. 

"It is a team effort and because of the team I got the chance to score in front of the home crowd which included my family members. We are not under pressure and the key to our success will be to execute the plans of the team." 

Also read: Hockey World Cup 2023: Social media jubilant as India outplays Spain 2-0 to kick off in style

Rohidas was in the perfect place to slam the ball home past a hapless Spain goalkeeper after Harmanpreet's drag flick rebounded from the stick of a defender. Hardik later made a solo run to score India's second goal.

(With inputs from PTI)

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