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Agony and ecstacy, tale of two coaches

"We are in a state of shock, we don't know how and why it happened to us," said an upset Australian coach Barry Dancer.

india Updated: Sep 18, 2006 14:29 IST

"We are in a state of shock, we don't know how and why it happened to us," said an upset Australian coach Barry Dancer after Germany wiped out a two-goal deficit and walked away with the hockey World Cup on Sunday.

"The feeling of defeat is yet to sink in. We led 3-1 and still lost. I don't know how many times it happened in the World Cup final," said the dejected coach.

His German counterpart Bernhard Peters, visibly thrilled, described his team's title win as the result of "emotional strength of the players" and said, "I always thought we had a chance of winning.

"It is a great win for the young team, they showed great mental strength. I always had belief in them. They came back from behind in the semifinals against Spain also," he pointed out.

"We did not give up even when we were 1-3 down because I knew the Australians had started committing mistakes and once we made it 2-3, I was confident that the score will change," he said.

A distraught Aussie coach, however, made no excuse for his team's defeat though their main striker and Player of the Tournament Jamie Dwyer did not play the final because of a hamstring injury.

"We missed him but I am happy that other players rose to the occasion and played a great game. But the fact is that we lost even after taking a big lead," he rued.

"This happened to us in 2002 also. We were close that time also but the Germans came down to win from a very tight situation," he said,

"There were couple of things that did not go well here. There was loose marking of rival players in the circle and also the Germans were given enough space to operate," he opined.

Australian captain Brant Livemore said he is unable to comprehend why they lost.

"There is this feeling of emptiness and shock because after taking a 3-1 lead, we thought the Cup was in our bag. But then we missed it by inches or rather by centimetres," he said.

Both the Aussie coach and captain, however, gave credit to the Germans for their fight back and said "Full credit to Germany. Even after trailing 1-3, they kept coming and attacking."

"Germany's three goal blitz came very fast and quick and gave us no time to think because we thought that three goals in the World cup were enough to win," Livemore explained.

German players Philipp Crone, Bjoern Emmerling and Christopher Zeller, who were also present at the media conference, said they were confident of winning the title as "After taking the 3-1 lead, Australia changed their tactics and committed mistakes. We were not afraid of losing because we were down and had no choice but to attack. The Aussies fell back and we took advantage of the situation.

"We started pretty strong and like in the semifinals, we came back and put pressure on Australia in the second half. Though they scored one more goal in this session, we believed in ourselves and were confident of getting back. Once we reduced the margin, we knew we had a chance and made full use of that."

The trio also praised the crowd for their unstinted support.

"It was just wonderful, they helped us a lot with their support throughout the tournament," they said.

First Published: Sep 18, 2006 14:29 IST