Tokyo, July 24 | India’s chief hockey coach Graham Reid conceded that his side struggled in the first and fourth quarter of the match against New Zealand in Pool A, and added that it was on account of the team not having played competitive hockey in the last 3-4 months due to travel restrictions.
The Indian men’s team came back from a goal down to defeat New Zealand 3-2 in their opening match on Saturday.
“Winning three points in a competition like the Olympic Games is really important. I think we had a good second and third quarter but the first and fourth we struggled a little bit. When we watch the video later today, we will be able to find out what we need to get better at and surely there are going to be things we learn from today too,” said Reid.
“But at the end of the day, we haven’t played for 3-4 months in an international competition, that’s the reality. As far as the weather was concerned, the players handled it really well.”
Reid added that India missed a few scoring opportunities.
“We probably could have put away the first few opportunities we created. It may have made the game a little less close. I think that is what we need to focus on. We did well in converting the PCs (penalty corners), but we need to look at reducing the numbers (of PCs) we were giving away.”
India conceded 10 penalty corners against New Zealand. And, had the Black Sticks converted a few, it could have changed the complexion of the game.
India take on world No. 1 side Australia on July 25.
“About playing Australia tomorrow, they are always a tough competitor. I believe they had a shaky start today against Japan, is what I was told by third-party sources. We have half a day today to have a look at both the games. We have already prepared for Australia back in Bangalore but watching the video will always help us see what new tactics they have now. It will be a tough game tomorrow and our players are up for the challenge. It’s always good to win the first game at the Olympics and get the three points on board.”