Coach Harendra Singh could not have hoped for a better start in his latest assignment as the Head coach of the Indian National team. A big 4-0 win over archrivals Pakistan gave India a perfect start at the Champions Trophy in Breda.
Ramandeep Singh (in the second quarter) and then Dilpreet Singh, Mandeep Singh and Lalit Upadhyaya in the last five minutes made it a great start for India.
Some people might say that India got two of their goals when Pakistan had pulled their goalkeeper off while trying to get something back.
However, the Indian team was already dominating and leading 2-0 by that stage.
Also let us not forget that the removal of a goalkeeper to press one extra man into the attack is a strategy. In this case it backfired badly and the Indians did very well to take advantage of that. A match that seemed to be close for about 50-55 minutes gave the look of a one-sided affair at the end.
The third goal by Mandeep Singh and the final one by Lalit Upadhyaya, who got that final touch exactly as the hooter went off, were goals that were put into an empty net, but Pakistan have only themselves to blame for that. But even those two goals came off good moves. In any sport, what matters is the final result, and it was a great one for India.
What I did not understand was the desperation on part of the Pakistan coach, Roelant Oltmans, who pulled out his goalkeeper. This was only the first match and letting in more goals can prove costly in terms of goal difference in the latter stages of the tournament.
Earlier in the match, India seemed to be creating and getting numerous chances, but they were unable to convert them.
Sure, the Pakistan defence, and especially their goalkeeper did a good job, but India’s dominance was apparent.
In contrast, Pakistan did not create as many chances and their forwards gave away the possession too easily. And whatever few chances they did manage, were handled well by India’s captain and goalkeeper, PR Sreejesh, who had a good game, and denied Pakistan even a face-saving goal.
Ramandeep was set up nicely by Simanjeet Singh following a move started by Lalit gave India the lead after some initial misses. India held on to that lead till about 5-6 minutes were left in the match.
Then young Dilpreet picked an excellent long ball from the consistent Simranjeet once again and he beat them all and scored a lovely goal.
Mandeep Singh added one more and finally Lalit pushed home one more on the hooter.
This win coming after the draw at the Commonwealth Games should give the Indian boys a lot of confidence as they approach stronger teams like Belgium, Argentina, the Netherlands and Olympic champions Australia.