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Need to beat Wales by big margin, responsibility on forwards: India hockey player Mandeep Singh
Bhubaneswar: The Indian hockey team is all set to take on Wales in their third Pool D match of the FIH Hockey World Cup 2023 on Thursday here at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. The Tokyo Olympic bronze medallists will have to beat Wales by a big margin especially if England beat Spain in the other Pool D match in order to finish on top.
"Definitely it is a very important match which we have to win by a big margin. We played well against Spain as well as against England but goals were not coming out. You can say that luck was not our way. Team was playing well but the ball was not going to the goal post. We have worked on it and seen our videos too where to create space and from where to hit. We have worked on it in the last few days and idea is to get a good outcome in next few games," said Indian hockey team forward Mandeep Singh.
Defender Nilam Sanjeep Xess too is focussed and is also aware of the fact that India will have to not only beat Wales but they will have to hand them a crushing defeat in order to top the Pool D.
"Our planning is to win against Wales by a margin of 8-10 goals," said Indian defender Nilam Sanjeep Xess while speaking to ANI.
Indian hockey team beat Spain 2-0 in their first match of the ongoing World Cup in Rourkela on Friday while their match against England on Sunday was a goalless draw.
"Definitely for forwards the responsibility is to score goals. It is not that we have to play individually to score goals. We have to play as a team and pass the ball where needed in order to score the goal. We have to get either PC or a goal going into the 'D'. If we get PC then we have one of the best drag flickers to score goals," explained Mandeep Singh.
Indian hockey team has not been at their best in terms of penalty corner conversion in this tournament so far but the experienced forward Mandeep feels that will change with the team from now onwards playing all their matches in Bhubaneswar.
"The ground in Rourkela was not conducive for our drag flickers. The ball was not coming onto the stick the way it should come. But this ground is different and faster and I think our drag flickers will score goals," explained Mandeep Singh.
Young Indian defender Nilam Sanjeep Xess is playing his first World Cup and to add to it he is playing it in his home state Odisha.
"I am very happy that my first World Cup is in my home state Odisha that is why I am very happy. It feels great to play with so much of crowd coming to support you. So, it is a great feeling," said Nilam Sanjeep Xess while speaking to ANI.
Fans have been coming huge numbers to support the Indian hockey team and here in Bhubaneswar also it will be no different.
"I would like to tell the fans to come and support us and we would like to give our best to win the match," said Mandeep.
If India top their pool then they will not have to play the cross over match and moreover they will face a relatively easier opponent in quarter-final.
India hockey squad: Abhishek, Surender Kumar, Manpreet Singh, Hardik Singh, Jarmanpreet Singh, Mandeep Singh, Harmanpreet Singh (captain), Lalit Upadhyay, Krishan Pathak (GK), Nilam Sanjeep Xess, PR Sreejesh (GK), Nilakanta Sharma, Shamsher Singh, Varun Kumar, Akashdeep Singh, Amit Rohidas (vice-captain), Vivek Sagar Prasad and Sukhjeet Singh.Reserve players: Jugraj Singh and Rajkumar Pal. (ANI)