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Hardik Singh has not forgotten the crushing defeat of 2018, this time he will settle scores

On 13 December 2018, there was activity around Kalinga (stadium). India vs Netherlands quarter-final match was to be held. The whole stadium was packed. Spectators were standing outside gate number 3, 4, 8, 9 asking for tickets. There was a worldwide feeling that India had the potential to beat the Dutch. India topped Pool C with seven points after wins against South Africa 5–0 and Canada 5–1. On the other hand, the Dutch team was second in Pool D. There was a lot of enthusiasm in India. There was an eye on collecting three points. The team’s defense looked solid. The main concern came in the midfield where there were lapses in concentration. forward player Dilpreet SinghSimranjeet Singh, Lalit Upadhyay, Mandeep Singh and Akashdeep Singh showed speed in the opening game.

Kalinga was in the shadow of speculation that night. There was excitement inside the stadium. He wanted to see India play in the semi-finals after 1975. In the 12th minute of the match, Harmanpreet Singh took a shot at the penalty corner, Dutch goalkeeper Pirmin Block stopped the ball. Akashdeep’s reverse hit took the ball into the net. India took a 1-0 lead. The name of India started echoing in the entire stadium. Thierry Brinkmann scored three minutes later in the 15th minute.

That match was a nightmare for Hardik

The score became 1-1, there was peace in the stadium. The fans could not understand what to do. Especially when it comes to equalizing or taking an edge. They were uncomfortable. The Netherlands dominated the match. The reason for this was his captain Captain Billy Backer. Indian fans were demanding the goal. The match slowed down in the third quarter. Mid field Hardik Singh was playing. He could not understand the sudden change in the match. Hardik tried. However, the Netherlands proved to be better and won the match 2–1 in the fourth quarter.

Many changes in Hardik in four years

After four years, Hardik has matured. He has an Olympic bronze, a Commonwealth silver medal in his pocket. He believes that what happened four years ago in Kalinga has made him a better player. On being reminded of the quarter-final against Netherlands, Hardik admits that it was a big disappointment. Don’t try to avoid the heartfelt questions. For this reason, he was able to perform the best since the 2018 World Cup.

Hardik has not forgotten that match against Netherlands

He said, ‘I want to be the person the other team fears. He should keep an eye on me before every match that Hardik is an important part of the Indian team. I think I have improved a lot after the World Cup. We played the Netherlands which had Billy Backer and Sev Van Ass and all the big players. He dominated us. To be honest, after that match my life changed a lot. I made a lot of changes in my routine.

The lessons from the last World Cup have been invaluable, especially when it comes to creating momentum from midfield. Hardik believes that out of the tournaments India has played since the last World Cup, he thinks about the Netherlands match the most. He says, ‘Will I get another chance like this?’

Hardik wants to be the next Hawk

hearty german midfielder tobias A fan of K, who was a key player in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medal winning teams. Hardik saw him playing for the first time in a tour of Germany. He says, “I was stunned to see how someone could be so calm. Tokyo was the fourth Olympics for him. Germany has a structure where they use centre-forwards more. We Indians don’t play like this. I studied his game – what is his position? What does he do with the ball line of defenders? How are their angles? This helped me a lot. When asked where does he see himself now? So he says in response, “I do not want to be another Hawk. I want to be hearty. I want to be a role model for the coming generation.”

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Sandeep Misra

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