In a bid to prepare for the Hockey World League semi-final in England, the Indian National Hockey Team traveled to Germany on Monday for a three country invitational tournament, which will begin on 1st June.
Hockey India announced the 18-member squad earlier in the month for the Germany tour and the Hockey World League semi-final in England, naming Manpreet Singh as the stand-in captain. The team left from the Kempegowda International Airport in the early hours of the morning after a 15-day national training camp at the Sports Authority of India campus in Bengaluru.
“Playing top teams like Germany and Belgium will help us a lot ahead of the Hero Hockey World League semi-final. If we play well against them, we will gain a lot of confidence and it will give us a little more time to make minor changes in our game and iron out any mistake. We will be able to assess our performance and get ready for the bigger challenge in London.” said skipper Manpreet Singh before the team’s departure yesterday. India will play in Dusseldorf in the trilateral series with two matches each against hosts Germany and Belgium.
After the conclusion of the invitational, the team will move to London, England on 9th June for the men’s Hero Hockey World League semi-final where they will play two practice games before the actual tournament, against the Olympic Champions Argentina and Great Britain.
“We always take practice matches seriously because doing well in a practice match means gaining the required momentum for the start of the tournament. We will also get the feel of the pitch to get a good sense of how to take penalty corners. We cannot single out any one team as a tough team to beat because every team will play their best considering this is a prestigious tournament and also a World Cup qualifier. We cannot take any team lightly and our aim will be to start on a winning note and earn those three points.” said the 24-year old halfback.
India have been drawn into the Pool B along with Scotland, Pakistan, Netherlands and Canada in the group stages. India will began in the competition with their opening contest against Scotland on 15th June followed by matches against Canada, Pakistan and Netherlands on 17th June, 18th June and 20th June respectively.