Dhaka (Bangladesh), 20 October, 2017: Even as hockey fans around the world gear up for yet another exciting India Vs Pakistan encounter on Saturday here at the Hero Asia Cup 2017 Super 4s stage, Indian team Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne stated that his team will be focused on improving their performance from their previous outing where they beat them 3-1 in the Pool stage. “We were happy with the win against Pakistan in our previous match but we know we can perform better. On Saturday, we will go into the match focusing on our structure and stick to the game plan we have against Pakistan,” expressed the 43-year-old Dutchman.
Though India are on top of the table with four points from one draw and one win, Malaysia are close second with three points from their win against Pakistan, while Korea have two points from two draws and Pakistan are at No.4 with one point. Yet, the Pool is open for any of these teams to make the final spot. “Because the stage is open for anybody to make the final, it is exciting to the last moment. As a coach I want my players to perform under pressure and this is the best way to create that scenario. For us, at this moment, it is a lot important to play top international matches because we can raise our level,” he added.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Coach Farhat Khan expressed that his team, especially their forward line, needs to go all-out against India if they want to be in the final. “We not just need to win against India but we need to win with a big margin (at least 3 goals) so we make the final by the virtue of goal difference. But it is going to be easier said than done because I am not happy with how our forwards have performed in this tournament. We have missed many opportunities in the circle and against India we cannot misfire,” asserted the Coach.
Malaysian Coach Stephen van Huizen, on the other hand, stated that his team must look at winning against Korea instead of settling for a draw. “We must win the match against Korea and there’s no other option for us. We can’t afford a draw because then we will have to depend on the match between India and Pakistan and I don’t want to rely on another team to see us through the final,” expressed Huizen.
Korea meanwhile must muster a win if they want to make the final and attempt to seal their Odisha Men’s World Cup 2018 spot. With two draws in the Super 4s against India and Pakistan respectively, Korea have shown spirited performance by testing their opponents with top-level defence. Should they pull off a win tomorrow, then they stand a great chance to make the final. “We don’t want to get distracted with our previous matches results. I am happy with the team’s spirit as they played two back-to-back matches in difficult conditions. We hope to play the world cup but for now want to do well against Malaysia,” said Korean Coach Shin Seok Kyo.