~ Hardik missing out not a setback, affirms Chief Coach Graham Reid ~
Bhubaneswar, 21st January 2023: India will take on New Zealand in a do-or-die crossover tie at the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela on Sunday, 22nd January.
Having finished second in pool D, behind England basis goal difference, an unbeaten India are optimistic ahead of the crucial match, which yet again promises to be a house-full affair with tickets for the match being sold out.
"We have played them earlier (during the FIH Hockey Pro League), we need to tighten our defence but it's more set now compared to Pro League. I expect a stronger defensive performance tomorrow," expressed Chief Coach Graham Reid.
"They (New Zealand) have nothing to lose. The pressure is on us but I've said this before that if we play well and execute our chances we can beat any team," he added.
On the team missing Hardik Singh's services who has now been ruled out of the tournament, Graham emphasized that there is enough talent in the group and any player can step up when given a chance. He said, "While it is disappointing for Hardik and he was in good form, we have enough talent in the group and Raj Kumar Pal who comes in has done well for the team earlier this year and we are quite confident of a good show."
Skipper Harmanpreet Singh on the other hand addressed the team's PC conversion rate. He said, "I agree we haven't converted the chances, but we can't let that pressure us. We need to look at executing in every opportunity we create. We can't let that frustrate us and we just need to work on getting it right."
At 1900 hours IST on 22nd January 2023, India will take on New Zealand in the crossover match at the FIH Odisha Hockey Men's World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela.
Matches will be live on Star Sports Select, Star Sports First, Star Sports2.