Hockey World League Final: India coach rues missed chances after Germany loss
A lacklustre India slumped to their second defeat at the Hockey World League (HWL) Final against Germany and chief coach Sjoerd Marijne was livid with the execution skills of his boys.Updated: Dec 04, 2017 23:56 IST
The inability to convert penalty corners remains India’s biggest worry as the Hockey World League Final enters the knockout stage.
Chief coach Sjoerd Marijne told the boys to pull up their socks. “We need to improve our penalty corners and shots at goal. The German technique while taking penalty corners was really good,” said the Dutchman, adding that he was happy with the fighting spirit of his team.
Despite the draw in the first game and defeats to England and Germany in the pool games, the coach termed India’s showing as ‘good’.
“If you look at the match statistics, we have more circle entries. We had more penalty corners, we had more ball possession…but eventually it is all about scoring. The chances we get we have to make use of them,” he said, adding, “In the second half, we played well. We created opportunities but we didn’t execute them and they (Germany) knew how to execute their opportunities.”
He, however, conceded that the team was slow of the blocks in the last two matches. “I always like when players play freely but that’s not how we started in the last two matches. We didn’t get a fast start. At the start of the first half, we committed plenty of technical errors. Once that happens, it is really difficult to get into a rhythm.
“In the first half, technical skills were not good enough. We didn’t play stick-to-stick hockey. The Germans were very good in their technical skills. One team has more ball possession but what matters is execution. It’s all about who scores the most goals. It’s about winning the match,” he said.
He also said that Germany were quite strong in defence. “If you want to improve your rankings you have to win against the best. Belgium is a strong team. If we do our basics right we can win against them (India will most likely meet Belgium in the knockouts),” he said. “You have seen in this tournament everybody can beat everyone, so why can’t we win against Belgium.”
Captain Manpreet Singh accepted that India could not trap the ball cleanly while taking penalty corners and hoped to come back strongly in the next match. “The players still believe they can win. Without self-belief you can’t play a match,” he said.