A brilliant win over the mighty Netherlands would have given India plenty of confidence going into the quarterfinals of the Champions Trophy 2014 hockey, where they will face Belgium.
India were staring down the barrel after two straight losses – to Germany and Argentina – but an inspired victory over the previously unbeaten Netherlands showed the men in blue just might have it in them after all to go all the way in this Champions Trophy in Bhubaneswar.
SV Sunil, Manpreet Singh and Rupinder Singh were the goalscorers for India, and coach Roelant Oltmans will hope for more of the same when they face the dangerous Belgium in the quarterfinals.
"We always have a game plan. Some days you execute it better than others," said Oltmans after the victory over Holland. "Apart from conceding too quickly after our third goal, I think our team really did a fantastic job.
"The boys found a good rhythm and it was really high quality hockey. Every team, you have to make a different approach and you always plans but I am not going to tell you my tactics because we might have to play them more often in the next few years! We can say it worked out well."
Oltmans will hope it works out well in the quarterfinals as well, with Belgium doing well to finish second in Pool A, after two draws and a win in their three matches.
Belgium have come leaps and bounds over the last few years, and India will know their sometimes-leaky defence will need to be at their best to keep the opposition strikers at bay.
"We are really excited to play in the quarterfinals and have been practicing hard to give good competition to India," Belgium captain John Dohmen said. "We feel encouraged to play even better after having attained the 2nd position in the Pool with a good understanding in the team.
"We have been working on the strategies to beat India, who played a beautiful and a high level game against the Netherlands. Looking forward to putting up a good show, our players are confident and focussed on winning."
Belgium have a real good defence, even if the goals did flow in the pool games, and the India forwards will have to be at their best to penetrate through, while the penalty-corner specialists will also need to be at the top of their game; because chances might be at a premium in this quarterfinal.
"Tomorrow's match is very crucial for us and it is definitely going to be a difficult game," India skipper Sardar Singh told Hockey India's official website on Wednesday. "Belgium, no doubt, is strong in defence.
"However, we know their structure and their style and have worked on our strategies accordingly. Yesterday's game has motivated the players, but they also know that there's a lot more to achieve. We will try our best to put forward an outstanding performance.
"The defence of the team is strong and we have to adopt different ways of approaching the circle of the opponent which are working on."
The first quarterfinal of the day will be humdinger of a clash between Netherlands and Pakistan, before the next two quarterfinals -- Argentina vs Australia and England vs Germany take centre-stage, with India and Belgium finishing the day off.
Schedule: Quarterfinals: Netherlands vs Pakistan (11.30 am IST, 6 am GMT).
Argentina vs Australia (1.45 pm IST, 8.15 am GMT).
England vs Germany (5.15 pm, 11.45 am GMT).
India vs Belgium (7.30 pm IST, 2 pm GMT).
Where to Watch Live
The quarterfinals of the Champions Trophy 2014 hockey will be shown live in India on Ten Sports. Viewers can also catch all the four matches via live streaming online on Ten Sports Live.
Viewers across the world can also live stream all the action on the Youtube channel of FIH.