India captain Manpreet Singh
India captain Manpreet Singh

FIH Hockey Pro League: India confident ahead of Belgium clash

ANI | Updated: Feb 07, 2020 21:27 IST

Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], Feb 7 (ANI): The Indian Men's Hockey team got off to a stupendous start in the FIH Hockey Pro League after defeating the Netherlands in both their matches last month.
The world number five team will certainly look to continue their form when they face the world number one side Belgium in the FIH Hockey Pro League on February 8 and February 9 at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
Belgium are currently at the top of the league table with eleven points. They have won all of their four matches, defeating Australia and New Zealand (two matches each), away from home. However, India will gain confidence from the fact that they beat Belgium at their own backyard last year. India triumphed in all five matches (three against Belgium and two against Spain) during their tour of Belgium in September 2019.
Speaking ahead of the match, India captain Manpreet Singh said that the team looks at the FIH Hockey Pro League as a good opportunity to become a better side.
"All the teams which are playing in the FIH Hockey Pro League will play in the Olympics as well. So, we have a good opportunity to find out which areas we should work on during this tournament and get better as a team before the Olympics. The youngsters also have a good chance to showcase their skills in this competition," said Manpreet.
The Indian chief coach Graham Reid expressed that the side has carried out excellent preparations for the matches against Belgium.
"We are ready to go. We have been training for the last two weeks. So it's been really good preparation for the matches against Belgium. What's important is for us is that we need to perform at our best. We will be going for the win. We are not going to focus much on our opponents but will focus on what we need to do. The players are very clear about what is required of them. We can't change the way our opponents play, but we can change the way we play," said Reid.
The Belgium captain Thomas Briels said that the two matches against India are very crucial for them.
"We want to win the FIH Hockey Pro League trophy and we have our eyes on the Olympic Games as well. We are the World No.1 side and every game counts. On the other hand, we want to develop as a team and try new tactics. We want to learn from other countries. But while doing it, we also want to win the matches. The FIH Hockey Pro League is a really nice tournament. We lost the Final last year so we are really keen to win it this year. The two games this weekend are going to be crucial," said Briels.
Belgium chief Coach Shane McLeod expressed that the World Champions are looking forward to two top games against India.
India will take on Belgium on February 8 and 9 at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar. (ANI)