Every hockey defeat in a top competition evokes an outcry back home. The loss to Malaysia on Tuesday will not be taken lying down.
Coach Jose Brasa too knows it well. Even as he lambasted his boys for not making it to the title round, the Spaniard was more than certain about his future in India.
"Of course, it's a difficult path (to the 2012 Olympic Games), but I am not sure I would be there to guide them. I don't think the government would offer me a new deal, especially with this performance," said the coach, here for the last one-and-a-half years and whose term expires after the Asian Games.
If at the Doha Asian in 2006, India couldn't make it to the semifinals for the first time in the Games' history, Tuesday was an equally embarrassing situation, considering that they now face South Korea for bronze in the play-off. Knowing their prowess, India could well return home empty-handed. Not much to differentiate between a fourth position here and a fifth spot at Doha!
"I am feeling really bad. Right through, I kept telling the boys, my target was the Olympics," he said. "With the kind of emotions attached with hockey in India, it is worse for the players than from any other country. There are difficult times ahead.
"We had a really good chance of scoring the fourth goal in the second half but for the Malaysian goalkeeper, Subramaniam, who affected a goal-line save," said Brasa.
Captain Rajpal Singh too was all praise for the Malaysian goalkeeper and their indirect penalty corner conversion. "Three out of four goals through PCs is great conversion. They have worked on PC variations, which is good strategy. We do study the strategies of each team, but we missed their indirect PC conversion strategy. Of course, Sandeep's absence in the second half rankled," he said.