London: National hockey coach Michael Nobbs is expecting a very challenging contest against New Zealand at the Riverbank Arena in the Olympic Park complex on Wednesday.
Both teams have lost their opening group B matches. While India lost to The Netherlands 3-2, the Kiwis were beaten 2-0 by the Koreans.
The Kiwis are aiming to finish second in the group and qualify for the knockout rounds. The fact that New Zealand are the defending Azlan Shah Cup champions give them some psychological advantage against India, who finished third in Kuala Lumpur in May-June.
Coach Shane McLeod, who has 20 international caps and coached New Zealand to gold at the 2009 Olympic Challenge, feels his team will adjust better to the blue turf at the Riverbank Arena.
"I don’t think there is not much to complain. The pace is much better now and the bounce is settling down," he said in an exclusive chat.
New Zealand have identified Sardar and Sandeep Singh as the men to watch out for.