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'Hari's booking made the difference'

india Updated: Sep 08, 2006 02:47 IST
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Indian coach Vasudevan Baskaran reaffirmed his faith in the players despite his team suffering its second consecutive defeat in the 11th FIH men's hockey World Cup at Monchengladbach.

"I have full confidence in the team and I believe that this bunch can develop into a strong unit," he said after India's 3-2 loss to unfancied England.

"Obviously, it was a disappointing result, but then, we committed far too many mistakes today, we repeatedly gave away the ball in the midfield. Overall, we played soft hockey, especially in the defence where our tackling was not up to the mark," Baskaran said.

He felt that the crucial moment in the game was when Hari Prasad was booked with a yellow card that reduced India to 10 men in the 49th minute.

"England scored twice in the next 10 minutes and I feel, that made the difference," the coach said.

Baskaran asserted that the Indian team would now focus on the remaining three league matches.

"Yes, we have lost two matches, but still have three more to play, and I am confident that our players will put up a better show," he said. More

"Yesterday it was extremely hot and humid, but today, the weather was more conducive to our players."

Baskaran's counterpart Jason Lee said that England stuck to their game plan even after being down by a goal and wasting two penalty strokes in the first-half.

"Obviously, that was not part of our plan! But during the break, we told ourselves to stick to our game and keep attacking, and it worked," he said.

Lee, while congratulating his team on the victory, said the result was one of the best in the recent years. "We were not expected to beat a higher ranked team in the World Cup, but we did just that. I would rate today's win as the best in the last two years since this group of players came together. We have worked hard on our game and the result showed up today," he said.

England are placed 11th to India's sixth in the International Hockey Federations's latest World rankings.