Bhubaneswar: Rankings hardly have any significance in professional field hockey and world no.22 Russia proved that by their performance against eight-time Olympic champions India despite ending on the losing side, believes chief hockey coach Graham Reid.
Despite a vast gap in world rankings, Russia dished out an impressive performance in their 2-4 loss to world no.5 India in the first leg of the two-match hockey Olympic Qualifier at the Kalinga Stadium here on Friday.
And India’s chief coach Reid was not at all astonished by their opponents’ show.
“I am not surprised with the Russian performance. They came out and played very well. Full credit to them. The world rankings systems hardly matters. It looks like they are 22 in the world but they are a really good team. That’s what I have been telling all along. They had no pressure,” Reid said after the match.
Reid, however, promised a much-improved performance from his boys in the second and final match on Saturday.
“I was disappointed with the way our boys played today. I have spoken to them about that. Hopefully, there will be a reaction tomorrow. We can show everyone tomorrow how well we can play,” he said.
Russia coach Vladimir Konkin promised another tough outing for India on Saturday and said with just two-goal difference they are still very much in the contest.
“We are still in the game. We will chase the Indian team, we promise you,” Konkin said.
“The reason why we played so good is that our guys did exactly what our coaching staff told them to do. That’s why we had some good result. Actually we had a lot of opportunities but we missed them.”