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Watch out for this side in future: India captain Harjeet

Lucknow: After leading the Indian side to a memorable World Cup winning victory, India’s captain Harjeet Singh said the current team will “give a lot of joy” to the countrymen in near future.

A clinical India today defeated Belgium 2-1 in the summit clash to reclaim the title after a long gap of 15 year.

Harjeet thanked his teammates for the superb show and complemented the packed Major Dyan Chand Astroturf stadium here for support throughout the tournament.

“I would like to thank all the players who aimed to win this trophy. Everybody has put in a lot of hardwork under discipline. We all had one aim and we thankfully managed to achieve that today,” an emotional Harjeet said at the post-match press conference.

“The crowd support gave us a lot of confidence but we played according to our structure which we have been implementing for the last two-and-a-half years. This team is going to give a lot of joy to you all in the future,” said.

Harjeet said they approached the match as any other game and just concentrated on performing their duties on the turf.

“We all knew what we have to do in the field, everyone knew their duties. We just concentrated on that and played simple hockey. We played the final like a final.”

“We were leading by two goals and our planning was to sit back and defend and rely on counters. We played according to our plan. Every player put in energy,” he said.

India’s coach Harendra Singh said he was assured of winning the trophy when he took over reigns of the team in 2014.

“In April 2014, I had said that we are going to win the trophy, you can ask these boys,” he said.

“Today’s heroes are the players and I won’t take the limelight. These are 18 golden gems of India and today is their day.”

Chief coach of the senior men’s team Roelant Oltmans, who was the manager of the junior side here, said the Indian colts played near perfect hockey today, which we desired from the boys in a big match.

“The first half was very close to perfect game. But in the second half we gave them a little bit too much initiative to be honest. But not one second in this game I was worried. The boys did a fantastic job and all the credit to these 18 players,” the Dutchman said.
Belgium coach Jeroen Baart said the crowd support did make a difference today.

“India started really well. Our boys didn’t handle the crowd and the atmosphere really well. They (India) were pretty fast. After the initial stages we became more patient and that gave us a little bit of momentum but they scored another goal,” he said.

Baart, however, was proud with the way his wards played in a big match.

“I am very proud of the boys they played in the second half. They adjusted to the crowd pretty well. They were patient and didn’t try to force themselves,” he said.

“But it was not very easy to play India in India at such a fantastic atmosphere. Today we weren’t good enough to beat India in India.”