How did India perform at the recent away games of the FIH Men's Hockey Pro League 2022-23?

India ended their 2022-23 FIH Men’s Pro League season with eight difficult matches in Europe. This was Craig Fulton's first match in charge of India in Europe.

The India men's hockey team in a file photo. (Image: Twitter)
By Soumya | Jun 14, 2023 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

India ended their 2022-23 FIH Men’s Pro League season with eight difficult matches in Europe. This was Craig Fulton’s first match in charge of India in Europe. The men in blue won three, lost four and won one penalty shootout after a draw. It was a tough test for Fulton as India played world No 1 Netherlands, world No 2 Belgium and a Great Britain team which had a strong core from world No 4 England.

Some Major Highlights of Team India

India began their European hockey tour with losses against Belgium and Team Great Britain. In the return fixtures, they bounced back with a superb 5-1 win over the Red Lions and a 4-2 penalty shootout win over Britain. In Eindhoven, Fulton’s side lost both their matches to a new-look Dutch side. However, the men in blue found the Argentinian challenge to be a cakewalk. India defeated Argentina in both fixtures.

India scored 20 goals and conceded 12 in this European leg to end their season on 30 points from 16 matches. Though they are still top of the points table, it will be a tough task to maintain that position as many teams are left with their fixtures.

Some major areas to improve

Fulton is a defend-to-win coach by his admission. Ahead of the Europe tour, the South African said he wants his team to be built on the foundation of a good defence. But it wasn’t the best of starts for him in that regard. In their first eight matches, India conceded 12 goals and managed to keep only one clean sheet. The matches against Great Britain and the Netherlands exposed India’s vulnerability to effective high presses.

The Dutch games saw a high turnover of possession from India as the hosts ran amok. Fulton continued David John’s experiment of playing Manpreet Singh in defence. Manpreet was superb in playing out of defence and pinging in some delightful passes to the forward line. “Right now he’s doing a really good job in helping us with defence,” Fulton said before the matches. While the former India captain performed well in London, the Netherlands posed a grave threat to his defensive abilities.

Another concern which has not yet improved is the misfiring forward line. This has already cost the team an early exit from the World Cup earlier. Those problems were present once again in Europe. Like at the World Cup, India managed to get inside the circle fairly regularly but was unable to take their chances. To win the games convincingly India has to utilise the full potential of some key players. People like Karthi Selvan, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay and Mandeep Singh along with Abhishek, Gurjant Singh and Sukhjeet Singh need to step up now. However, not everything was gloomy out there. India did register a massive win of 5-1 against the No. 1 team, Belgium.

Read more: Women’s Hockey World Cup: History, Old & New Formats, Past Winners

India’s League Matches in Hockey Pro League

India vs BelgiumBelgium1-2
India vs Great BritainGreat Britain2-4
India vs BelgiumIndia5-1
India vs Great BritainIndia4-4 (4-2 in penalties)
India vs NetherlandsNetherlands1-4
India vs ArgentinaIndia3-0
India vs NetherlandsNetherlands2-3
India vs ArgentinaIndia2-1

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