A couple of days in between and the two teams gear up once again for the second big clash. After all it’s India versus Pakistan and it doesn’t happen every alternate day.
The spring in the steps in the Practice Session stays unmistakable. National coach Wim Koevermans insists on ‘high-intensity’ sessions and his wards don’t disappoint him.
“I came to know later that there were six players who made their debut for India in the last match. It’s such a proud moment for them. I didn’t realize it but that’s never the way I select my team. If the six played, they played because they deserved it. I’m so happy for the boys,” he told AIFF Media yesterday. “It’s a match they will never forget. In fact, no player ever forgets his first International Match. And they played in such a wonderful atmosphere. It was a full Stadium, live on National Television and it was against Pakistan,” he adds.
“We look forward to having a full house on the morrow. And we are looking for a win.”
Ticket sales have been brisk especially with India’s victory in the first-match. The response online has also been very positive.
“I expect Pakistan to be competitive once again. And hopefully we get to play with 11 men for the full 90 minutes. We aim to carry on the momentum and expect for a good match,” he states.
“This will be our 7th Match in preparation to the Incheon Asian Games. In Czech Republic we played against strong Senior Club sides and this time we are playing an U-23 National side who are also preparing for the Asian Games. We hope for it to turn out good,” he pronounces.
For the record, Striker Robin Singh who was given marching orders for receiving his second Yellow Card in the previous match will be missing the match.
Pakistan Coach Muhammad Shamlan Al-Mubarak, in the Official post-match Interaction after the first match had categorically mentioned that “Pakistan are confident of beating India.”
“After the first match we have more idea about India and how they play. We feel we can script a positive result in the second match,” he maintained.
Keen to curve out a result in their favour, Pakistan had two Training Sessions in the day, one hour each both in the morning and the afternoon, while the Indian Team had an hour-long Session in the afternoon.
“We intend to improve in our style of play in the next game,” Koevermans further informed. “The manner in which we react and behave when we have the ball and when we don’t have the ball will be significant and help us develop for the future.”
“There has been a huge improvement in our game from day one when we all assembled in Bangalore. We had to bring the Team tactically to one platform. But at the same, there are a few things which we can do better from our first match against Pakistan. We need to make sure that we do it better,” he opined.
Referring to a question as to whether India are over dependent on Sunil Chhetri, Koevermans uttered: “There’s no denying he scores but at the same time there are others who gets into scoring opportunities. We are paying special attention to the aspect of finishing. That’s an area of improvement for sure. Games are the test which help us define ourselves,” he concluded.
The kickoff is at 15.30 IST (12.00 CET / 11.00 GMT) today, August 20. The India U-23 v Pakistan U-23 match will be telecast LIVE on DD Sports.
(Report & Picture courtesy AIFF Media)