Without much knowledge about France, India needs to be at its best in its opening Pool B match of the men’s hockey Junior World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium here on Wednesday, said India coach Graham Reid.
Reid expected France, which will host the Paris Olympics in 2024, to play European style of hockey. “France is a very good team, I imagine. We saw footage of some matches. They are playing like a European team — holding the ball, moving quickly and attacking from the right. They have a couple of good strikers. We have to be at our best,” said Reid.
Reid was happy with the experience his ‘enthusiastic’ boys gathered from the practice matches against Netherlands, Germany and the USA.
India captain Vivek Sagar Prasad said his team would play positively against France. “It is the first match. We want to take three points.
“It’s a big stage. We have to keep the team together on and off the field. Keeping the team together off the field helps in keeping it together on the field,” said Vivek.
France coach Aymeric Bergamo said, “We know it’s a tough match. India is the (defending) world champion, playing at home. It’s a big nation in field hockey. We just have to be ready.”
France, which was a surprise runner-up in the 2013 edition in Delhi, qualified for the JWC on the basis of its sixth place finish in the 2019 Junior EuroHockey championship.