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Team needs to fine-tune: Harendra

July 01, 2005 17:52 IST

Defending champions India, with a clean slate so far, hope keep the momentum going with the 'one match at a time and the maximum points' mantra in the Rabobank Men's Junior World Cup hockey tournament in Rotterdam.

India defeated Egypt 4-1 on Wednesday and Poland 3-2 on Thursday in their Pool D campaign to qualify for the next phase of the tournament.

They are scheduled to take on the Netherlands on Saturday, when the preliminary league concludes.

"It does not matter at this stage whether you win by a dozen goals or one. The important thing is to come away with maximum three points and qualify for the next stage of the tournament," coach Harendra Singh said on Friday's rest day.

"My approach has been to take one match at a time. After all, July 10 (the final day) is still a long way off. Of course, our objective here is to win the World Cup, but to achieve that you have to win all your matches," he said.

Looking ahead to Saturday's game against the Dutch, Harendra felt that the Indians had a good chance to win.

"I will not be surprised if we win tomorrow. We need to fine tune a few things in our overall strategy. We will be having a video session today prior to some light practice at the ground in the evening.

"I feel that India has the individual skills to take on the Dutch, but we should display our dodges only inside the rival 25-yard area to enter the striking circle," he said.

Harendra admitted that, overall, the Indian team's showing against Poland was quite good though he felt that far too many scoring chances were missed.

"It is only proper that we acknowledge the fine performance of the Poland goalkeeper who had an outstanding game.

On the other hand, the fact that we created so many chances only means that we played attacking hockey and that will be our approach against the Dutch tomorrow," he said.

Harendra also confessed that the 2000 Sydney Olympics scenario did cross his mind. Poland had scored a last minute equaliser to deny India a semi-final spot.

"Hence, when we led 3-2 with four minutes left, I instructed the players to hold the ball, play out time and not attempt anything fancy. I am happy that my boys did precisely that and we won," he said.

Looking ahead, Harendra believes that the Indian team can play much better and there are definite indications to justify such sentiments.

Tomorrow's fixtures (all timings IST):

Chile vs Belgium (13.30 PM IST);
Germany vs Malaysia (14.30 PM IST);
Argentina vs South Africa (15.30 PM IST);
Pakistan vs Australia (16.30 PM IST);
Spain vs Mexico (17.30 PM IST);
India vs the Netherlands (18.30 PM IST);
Poland vs Egypt (19.30 PM IST);
England vs Korea (20.30 PM IST).


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