It’s India who will be under pressure against New Zealand: Graham Reid

India beat New Zealand twice just a few months ago at the Kalinga Stadium in the Pro League matches and Reid is hoping that the same result will continue.
India players during a training session
India players during a training session

Bhubaneswar: New Zealand has nothing to lose and it will be India who will be under pressure in its knock-out crossover match against the Black Sticks in the FIH Men’s World Cup, home side head coach Graham Reid said on Saturday.

India is coming into Sunday’s match after a below par 4-2 win over tournament debutant Wales, forcing it to play in the crossovers instead of direct quarterfinals, which it would have played had it topped Pool D.

“New Zealand have nothing to lose from their point of view and pressure will be on us. I hope our team will stand up and as I said earlier, if we play our best we can beat any team in the world,” Reid said.

“As an Australian myself, I know that New Zealand are always tough and we (India) have total respect for them. I am also confident that we will do our job (and win),” he added.

Playing at home in front of a packed stadium, India is seeking its first podium finish after the gold in the 1975 edition, but the home side is facing the pressure of expectations.

India beat New Zealand twice just a few months ago at the Kalinga Stadium in the Pro League matches and Reid is hoping that the same result will continue.

“We had beaten them twice then. Moreover, our defensive unit is more settled (and better) now than that time. So, we are looking forward to the match.”

Lack of finishing has been one of the main issues for India in the three pool matches.

Asked about that, Reid said, “I agree that we are lacking in finishing the opportunities we have created. But I would have been more worried had we not created opportunities. I am confident that we will be better in that aspect also.”

He said it was disappointing that injured midfielder Hardik Singh was ruled out of the remainder of the tournament as he could not recover.

“But it is exciting for Raj Kumar Pal (reserve player) to come in for Hardik. He (Pal) is one of our players for the future. He is in good form. He has silky skills and has worked a lot in defence.

“Fresh legs are always important in the middle of the tournament. So, disappointing for Hardik to miss out but we have enough talent to fill up.”

Captain Harmanpreet said his team will look to reduce the mistakes and work to even score from 50-50 chances.

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