The Indian males’s hockey staff captain Manpreet Singh on Sunday mentioned his gamers “nearly killed themselves” in their efforts to secure an Olympic semifinal berth after a gap of 49 years, heaping praise on their commitment during the 3-1 quarterfinal win over Great Britain here. The skipper said self-belief was key to success as India made the last four round of the Olympics for the first time after the 1972 Munich Games. “It was believing. Everyone believing in themselves and that was the key today, everyone gave their 100 per cent today and they were dying and almost killed themselves on the field,” Manpreet mentioned.
India’s final of the eight Olympic gold medals got here approach again in 1980 Moscow Games however there have been no semifinals in that version as solely six groups participated within the occasion.
For a rustic that gave the world stalwarts like Major Dhyan Chand and Balbir Singh Senior amongst others, it has been painful to observe the hockey groups’ Olympic debacles earlier than this version.
In the Munich Games semifinals, India had misplaced 0-2 to arch-rivals Pakistan.
Elated with the result of Sunday’s match, Manpreet cautioned his teammates towards early celebrations, saying the “enterprise hasn’t completed but.”
“We are so completely satisfied as a result of after a very long time we’re reaching a semifinal. Still, the enterprise hasn’t completed but. Still we’ve got two extra video games so we have to focus, we have to have our ft on the bottom and we have to concentrate on the following match,” he mentioned.
The eight-time former Olympic champions scored three discipline targets by means of Dilpreet Singh (seventh minute), Gurjant Singh (16th) and Hardik Singh (57th) to seal the win.
Great Britain’s lone purpose was scored by Sam Ward from a penalty nook within the 45th minute.
India will tackle world champions Belgium within the semifinal on Tuesday.
“Everyone performed very effectively. We scored three excellent targets, the strikers made a very good alternative and the entire staff performed rather well.”
Experienced India goalkeeper PR Sreejesh pulled off some high-quality saves on Monday to play his half within the win, and Manpreet was stuffed with reward for the stalwart.
“Unbelievable. You can see he (Sreejesh) at all times offers us life. That’s why we name him ‘The Wall’. It’s at all times excellent,” he mentioned.
Manpreet obtained a yellow card simply six minutes from the ultimate hooter for an pointless deal with, which not solely gave Great Britain a penalty nook however lowered India to 10 males for 5 minutes.
Asked what was occurring in his head after receiving the cardboard, he mentioned: “I used to be praying all of that point. I used to be closing my eyes and I consider in my staff.
“I knew that my staff would give me 100 per cent and they might save me at present as a result of I obtained the (yellow) card, however they gave their 100 per cent for me and I say thanks to all of my teammates.”
Sreejesh mentioned there’s loads of room for enhancements forward of their final two essential video games within the Olympics.
“We have to take this match, positively there’s room to enhance, however on the subject of semis, that’s new for me. It’s my third Olympics and that’s new for me. That’s an space the place you’ll be able to’t commit any errors,” he mentioned.
Asked about his robust efficiency in entrance of the Indian purpose, Sreejesh mentioned: “That is my obligation. I’m simply doing my obligation and being a senior-most participant I do know that each save offers these gamers extra vitality.
“You know that in these form of intense matches the final quarter goes to be actually powerful for them, their legs are heavy, they’re placing their 100 per cent, so one save gave them extra vitality to run tougher,” he mentioned.
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