Indian team celebrate after scoring during the men's Field Hockey World Cup match between India and Belgium at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, India. - EPA

BHUBANESWAR: India are enjoying their moment under the spotlight after topping Group C with an easy match against Canada to qualify for the quarter-finals.

They started with a 5-0 drubbing of South Africa and then held Belgium to a 2-2 draw, drawing energy from the crowd at the Kalinga Stadium.

More than 15,000 screaming fans cheered India when they held Belgium.

“My players tapped the energy from a cheering crowd to be in this position today.

“The fans are simply amazing and thanks to their undying support, the players gave back by playing good attacking hockey,” said Harendra.

The fitness of the India players was also at its best.

“We did double tackling (two players stopping an attack). Whether we are behind the ball or chasing it, we maintain pace.

“I feel proud about our fitness. Credit to Robin Arkell (fitness coach). I have never seen such a fit Indian team.

“Whether we have the ball or not, we can’t drop our energy. We need to make our opponents’ life miserable in every match,” said Harendra.

And on their last match against Canada: “Just a win, so that we do not get into the numbers game, comparing goals scored by Belgium. Both of us have six days to rest before deciding who goes into the quarter-finals automatically and who goes into the playoff.”

India have a five-goal advantage while Belgium only one goal. But the early indications are that India will again tap crowd energy and steamroll Canada for a direct entry into the quarter-finals.

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