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Hokey World Cup: India needs to carry momentum into quarters – Sardar Singh

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Former India coach Sardar Singh on Thursday said that the hosts must keep the momentum going and play as a collective unit ahead of their final Pool C match against Canada on Saturday.

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The start has been good. In the tournament, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Argentina and Australia are some of the best teams. We have started off well and need to keep the momentum going and continue with the same energy,” said Sardar, impressed by country’s start.

India began their World Cup campaign with the 5-0 marauding of South Africa before holding World no.3 Belgium to a 2-2 in their next fixture.

A win against Canada on Saturday will guarantee India a quarter-final place. They are on top of Group C.

The veteran player wants the team to play aggressively after reaching the quarters and not just depend on two-three players.

“Tournaments like World Cup or Olympics come once in four years, so we have been preparing for his for a long time. They (the players) know the value of such matters and how every second count. They will not come back,” he was quoted by news agency PTI as saying.

“Our main match will be the quarter-finals. And on that way, it will just not be about- (PR) Sreejesh, Manpreet (Singh), we need to play as a complete unit and play to the potential.”

“Only good performances from two-three players won’t help in the quarter-finals. The four quarters that we have, we have to fully concentrate (on it) in the quarters. If we play that well, we can make it count,” added Sardar.

The Indian great also rubbished claims that goalkeeper PR Sreejesh, who is vastly experienced and India’s no.1 custodian, had become a bit slow in his reflexes.

Calling him one of the best in the world, Sardar said: “If we see the Champions Trophy, Srejesh got the player of the tournament. Experience matters a lot.”

Considered among the best half backs in World hockey at his peak, Sardar wants to open a hockey academy in Haryana but at the moment is setting himself up for two more years in professional hockey leagues in Europe.

Also read: Hockey World Cup: New Zealand rally back from two goals down to hold Spain to 2-2 draw

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