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Hockey World League Final: Inconsistency, defensive lapses cost India vs England

Defensive lapses and inconsistency saw India suffer heir first defeat in the Hockey World League Final in Bhubaneswar on Saturday, when they went down fighting to lower-ranked England 2-3 at the Kalinga Stadium

other sports Updated: Dec 03, 2017 16:51 IST
Sharad Deep
Sharad Deep
Bhubaneswar
India slumped to a 2-3 defeat at the hands of England in their Hockey World League Final group stage match on Saturday.
India slumped to a 2-3 defeat at the hands of England in their Hockey World League Final group stage match on Saturday.(Hockey India)

Inconsistency seems to be the biggest problem of the Indian men’s hockey team, and it hurts everyone who wants to see the eight-time Olympic champions winning at least on home turf.

This inconsistency caused India their first defeat in the Hockey World League Final in Bhubaneswar on Saturday, when they went down fighting to lower-ranked England 2-3 at the Kalinga Stadium.

The result didn’t go well to the chief coach Sjoerd Marijne.

“That’s part of the game and you want to avoid it of course. Players don’t do it with purpose but that cost us the game,” Sjoerd said in the post-match conference on Saturday while reacting to India’s costly defensive lapses.

“It’s now only about defence, but the pace of the game in the beginning was not good enough. We held the ball too long, we lost the ball too much. The pushing was not like we had against world no 2 Australia on Friday,” Sjoerd said.

READ | Hockey World League Final: Inconsistent India go down 2-3 to England

He, however, confessed that he had already told the boys about the inconsistency. “I told them even before the start of the tournament that we really need to work on our consistency. For me the big question is why we dropped from our Friday’s level. That’s what we need to talk about because if you have reasons you can improve,” he said.

The Dutchman said that the players first need to find out what went wrong and then address those loopholes. “We not only have to address individual mistakes but as a team. In the first two quarters, the level was not good enough like we had against Australia,” he said, adding, “We know we have to improve. I am happy with the end of the match. We fought back, we created opportunities and penalty corners.”

“I told the players it is easy to pinpoint mistakes but it is better we think what went wrong and why, so that it doesn’t happen next time. I don’t think about where we will (be) at the end in the pool stages, I am only busy with the performance of the team,” he added.

England coach Russell Garcia sounded happiness over team’s showing in Saturday’s game, especially after a poor show against Germany in their opening match on Friday.

“It was important to get our tournament going. Last evening we struggled a bit against Germany. So it was nice to get the result. Every team in the tournament will get better and learn as they go on,” he said.