Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], December 2 (ANI): After a solid 1-0 win against Belgium in the quarter-final match of FIH Odisha Hockey Men's Junior World Cup Bhubaneswar 2021, defending champions India will take on Germany in the semi-finals on Friday at the iconic Kalinga Stadium.
Speaking ahead of the match, India Chief Coach Graham Reid highlighted Germany's strengths.
"Germany have won this tournament more than any other team in the world. You saw Masi Pfandt scoring a late goal in their quarter-final match against Spain. Germany are known for scoring late goals. They have done it historically with the senior group. It is in their DNA. They never give up, they keep moving the ball and they keep playing with the same intensity," said Reid as per an official Hockey India release.
The Indian coach, though, added that he is confident India can win the match and reach the final.
"It will be a challenging game for us but I am confident if we play our best, then we will win," he added.
Speaking on the win against Belgium, Reid said that he was impressed by the fight and grit shown by his players. "Our performance against Belgium was, perhaps, not very attractive to watch. But I feel happy to see the boys showed a lot of grit, determination, and guts. As a coach, it was very important for me and exactly what we needed," he said.
He further added that the team will look to be more attacking against Germany on Friday. "I hope to play with a little bit more energy and tone tomorrow. We got a little bit defensive against Belgium and it was not our objective. So, we will try to play attacking hockey tomorrow, try to penetrate and score. That's the name of the game," he said.
Meanwhile, Germany Coach Valentin Altenburg revealed that he, along with his team, watched India's quarter-final match against Belgium from the stands to make an assessment of what to expect on Friday.
"The boys got the first impression of what to expect from India and also from the spectators at Kalinga Stadium. We really enjoyed the noise. I had goosebumps when I saw see big stars like Harmanpreet Singh and Manpreet Singh cheering for the young stars. It was quite an emotional moment for me," he said.
"We have huge respect for India because of their attacking quality. Against Belgium, we also saw tremendous defensive skills from India against a very strong and structured Belgian team," he added. (ANI)