Practice matches helped us to identify grey areas: Nobbs

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Michael Nobbs
Bangalore, Jul 23: India'’s hockey coach Michael Nobbs said the team’'s far-from-impressive display during the pre-Olympic practice matches in Europe was just a learning curve and helped the squad to spot the weak points.

London Olympics Special

India played a series of matches in France and Spain over the last one month as preparations for the London Olympics. Though they did oust France convincingly, struggled against more formidable teams like Spain, South Africa and Great Britain. All these three teams are participating at the London Games.

The Australian coach and a former Olympian, Nobbs said one should not judge the tour matches by the results for it was more of a learning process. He said the team identified its grey areas and would fix them. The 16-member Indian squad along with the support staff reached the Olympics game Village on Friday. The team spent an hour in the gym after the official welcome.

Nobbs said all the players in the squad were played during the practice matches and it was a learning experience for all against top teams like Spain and Great Britain. India lost a two-match Test series to Spain 0-1 and also lost against Great Britain and Spain to end third in a tri-series. They drew a two-match series with South Africa, ranked a few spots lower than India, 1-1.

"“We played on blue turf and it is not only us but most of our oppositions who largely failed to convert the penalty corners. The same turf played differently at different places, depending on the climate conditions,"” Nobbes said, adding that India could convert only three of 33 penalty corners.”

The Indian coach said even though the team lacked good finishers, if the players can convert successfully in the key moments, the chances of winning will increase. “"We have a high-class attack but it is only the lack of good finishing which has been a problem,"” he said.

Nobbs said apart from Australia and Germany, there was not much of a gap among the other ten teams. He hoped India should finish in the middle and anything better is always appreciable. “"The players are eager to prove a point,"” he said.

Belgian hockey teams arrive:

The Belgian men's and women's teams have arrived in London by Eurostar train for the Games. Members of Australian, French, Brazilian, American and Japanese contingents have also used Eurostar to reach London.

Euostar, a high-speed rail company, which is a London 2012 sponsor and the official international rail services provider, is catering to those participating or are working at the Games at St Pancras International.

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