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Wasting half chances did us in, rues Bhaskaran

The profligate forward's inability to convert the half chances cost India their best opportunity to record a win in the hockey World Cup.

india Updated: Sep 09, 2006 22:22 IST
United News of India
United News of India

The profligate forward's inability to convert the half chances cost India their best opportunity to record a win in the hockey World Cup, rued coach Vasudevan Bhaskaran.

After India conceded yet another late goal and was held to a 1-1 draw by South Africa in their third match, a visibly dejected Bhaskaran said, "We dominated the first half but missed quite a few scoring chances.

"I am not trying to give any excuse but one must understand that it is a very young team and we admit making mistakes at crucial moments of all the three matches so far," he said.

"This draw has put us in a tough position where we have to win next two matches or at least one to hope for better finish on the leaderboard," he said, even though such chances are slim as the disjointed side meets South Korea and the formidable Holland in their next two matches and it would be nothing short of a miracle if they manage to beat them.

Bhaskaran had a word of praise for the South Africans who, he said, put up tremendous pressure on his side in the last 10 minutes.

The coach was also candid enough to admit that his players were unable to withstand the pressure.

"We have to get into the habit of playing under pressure at the last stage of the game," he said.

The coach also felt that his players were under a sort of depression after losing the first two games and that reflected in this match.

Asked how come the same team had played so well in Azlan Shah Cup two months ago and now their performance has slipped so dramatically, Bhaskaran said, "It is time to understand that there is a difference between the World Cup and other tournaments. Whenever the team goes to the World Cup, we should understand first whether the team is good enough to make to the semifinals or not.

"We had aimed to finish among the top four but that was not to be. But that does not mean that we have a bad team. I trust my team completely and I hope hockey fans back home will also believe in the side," he said.

"The players are also very disappointed. They never thought of playing like this. I hope that the youngsters in the team, around nine of them, will make this World Cup a learning experience," he said.

He also praised Raghunath, who made his World Cup debut in this match, and said the youngster played well.

The coach also said that people should not read much in Kanwalpreet Singh not playing this match. "We had to try out Raghunath, hence Kanwalpreet was benched," Bhaskaran reasoned.

First Published: Sep 09, 2006 22:21 IST