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FIH Pro League 2023-24: In-Form India Looking To Continue Superb Run Against Netherlands - Preview

The India national hockey team have already beaten the Netherlands once before this season and will be eyeing a repeat of the same on Wednesday, February 21

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The Indian men's hockey team in action during their FIH Pro League 2023-24 match against Netherlands in Bhubaneswar. Photo: Hockey India
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The Indian men's hockey team would look to continue its recent domination over the Netherlands with an outright win when the two sides meet in the return leg match of the FIH Pro League here on Wednesday. (More Hockey News) 

India have had a good run in the Pro League so far with the team led by drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh winning two out of their five games in regulation time.

India's resilience saw them defeat the Dutch and Spain in shootouts, earning valuable bonus points

Their solitary defeat came at the hands of Australia but that too from a winning position.

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India are currently placed fourth in the Pro League standings with 10 points from five matches.

The Netherlands are leading the chart with 18 points from nine games ahead of Argentina (13 points from 8 matches) and Australia (12 points from 4 games).

But having said that the Indians, ranked third in the world, have had to face a tough time in their last two matches against world No.12 Ireland and world No.8 Spain.

India were made to toil to register a 1-0 win over Ireland through a last-minute goal from Gurjant Singh and then overcame a resilient Spain 8-7 in a marathon shoot-out after both sides were locked 2-2 at the end of the regulation 60 minutes.

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And come tomorrow, the Indians will need to raise their game a few notches to finish off the match in regulation time and secure full three points from the encounter.

The last three matches might not have gone the way they would have wanted, but vice-captain Hardik Singh said the confidence in the camp is high on the eve of the meeting against the world No.1 side.

Reflecting on the home team's performance against the Dutch in the previous outing in Bhubaneswar on February 11, Hardik felt India could have given a far better account of itself. India rallied to level the scores at 2-2 in regulation time before winning 4-2 in shootout.

"Our performance in the first half fell short of expectations, but we made a strong comeback in the second half, pushing the game to a shootout. We were confident about our chances from that point onwards, especially given that we have really good goalkeepers in our ranks," said the midfielder.

India had started their Pro League campaign in Bhubaneswar with a crushing 4-1 win against Spain, followed by a thrilling 2-2 (4-2) shootout win against the mightly Dutch, where Hardik scored the opening goal.

India suffered a setback, losing to Australia 4-6 but bounced back to conclude the Bhubaneswar leg on a high with win over Ireland.

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"The confidence in the camp is quite high with the way we have been performing in back-to-back events and I am sure we will carry this momentum forward in the tournament," he added.

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