Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games: Analytical Review by Tahir Zaman
Day 3, Men’s Belgium vs Germany: Belgium very rightly chose to play full press against the Germans, the main aim was not to let the Germans get settled during the game, and this is exactly what happened. The Belgian took the advantage of an unforced error from the German side and were able to take the lead and double it in time. From a defensive perspective, Germany was with the frame of mind that they can exploit Belgian defences by playing power passes through hotline and centre channels. But on the other hand, the Belgian defensive structure was prepared for this and turned them into interceptions that led to turnovers and counterattacks. The highlight of this the game was Belgian defence inside the circles, they were usually zonal or man-to-man frontal marking positions, and that’s why the German forwards were struggling to find openings. Whenever they found opportunities the quick response of the Belgian defenders disrupted them. On the other side, even in attack possession play, the mobility was very good by the midfielders and strikers of the Belgian team, they kept on changing their direction and pace knowing that the opponent would allow them to move into the corners, but rather than going into the corners from 23, they changed the pace and direction and that was quite useful to convert those opportunities into goal scoring situations as well.
Overall, the Belgians had better control on the game in possession and non-possession, they implemented defensive principles very well as well as the attacking principles. I have to mention one thing here, that the Belgian team were throughout the leading team, which is why they won the game. It will be very interesting to see how the Germans bounce back into this tournament, I believe still they have a lot of potential to go to the quarter-finals and ultimately the semi-finals.
Day 3, Women’s Germany vs India: Though Germans were a high ranked team in this Olympics, the Young Indian team went all out and did their best. The Germans played very composed with the game plan, they had good control on the ball and overall, in the match. Again, their finishing inside the circle was much better than that of the Indian players. The Indians were very hasty inside the circles, wrong decision making led to them not being able to score goals. They had very good chances to equalize, they missed a penalty stroke but missing it was the game-changing factor. Meanwhile, the Germans bounced back again to double their lead.
Overall, the German team was quite good in its defensive structure, they had quite good control over the ball and they were also able to exploit Indian defence on turnover counter-attack situations. Indian players are quite young, lacking in experience and maturity. Wrong selection of goal-scoring skills inside the circle or sometimes too hasty without having proper balance or control over the ball they were trying to go for executions and having a short-term goal and they were not able to make it. I would say again it’s because they were lacking in experience but they tried their best. The Germans here were the better side and had a well-deserved win against India.
About Tahir Zaman:
Tahir Zaman is an esteemed hockey coach. He represented Pakistan Hockey in Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games. He was a part of the winning squad of the 1994 Men’s Hockey World Cup. He is FIH Academy Trainer and FIH Senior Coach. He is currently serving as the head of Education and as the Executive Board Member of the Asian Hockey Federation