Hockey Pro League: Spain not taking India lightly despite the ranking advantage

FIH Pro League first-timers Spain started their campaign in the 2022 edition of the premier hockey league with a narrow loss and draw against World, Olympic and Pro League Champions The Netherlands.

Now for the second set of matches against the home team, Spain will not be taking India lightly and will be hoping to put up their best in the two matches at the Kalinga Stadium here on Saturday and Sunday.

Spain coach Adrian Lock said that though India are ranked lower them — Spain are ranked 6th in the world, while India are 9th — and they had a good result against World No. 1 Holland, they will not be taking the home team lightly in the two matches.

“It would be precarious to consider India as less dangerous than the Netherlands because of the amazing skills, the technical and individual talent that is spread throughout the country. I think India will really put our defence to a test, maybe even more so than the Dutch. We hope we can compete to the best of our abilities in the two games,” Lock said, addressing the media at the virtual pre-match conference.

Spain which had finished third in the World Cup in 2018 but lost to Great Britain in the quarter-finals in the Tokyo Olympics last year are rebuilding their squad, trying out new players and formation.

“We have changed our team and are looking at a new structure. So, we are still learning. When we play India, we would be looking to improve,” Lock said.

Spain captain Georgina Oliva echoed her coach’s sentiments and said that her team has to keep a tight defence to get a positive result against India.

“We expect India to be really strong. They have already had an excellent tournament so far. They have been really improving over the years. We have to really focus on defensive strategies. It’s going to be a really exciting match,” Oliva said.

The Spanish head coach also went on to express his delight regarding playing at the iconic Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar.

“To be able to come to India in Bhubaneswar to experience hockey is a fantastic opportunity. To travel, and to be together and see such a beautiful country and to play against a fantastic team such as India in this great Kalinga Stadium will be a memorable experience,” Lock said.




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