Monday, January 30, 2023

Hockey World Cup: Crores were spent on the team, yet the result is zero! Coach’s pain spilled after the World Cup

India’s disastrous FIH Men’s World Cup campaign: During India’s dismal campaign at the FIH Men’s World Cup, head coach Graham Reid repeatedly pointed to the team’s lack of consistency and failure to capitalize on opportunities. These words of this experienced coach and former Australian international player Reid point towards the struggle of his players in the current World Cup. Such is the situation when 12 members of this team were part of the team that created history by winning the bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics.

…who would have thought that the team would lose the crossover match

For a team that was aiming to finish on the podium for the first time since the gold medal in 1975, it was a poor performance to be knocked out of the tournament even before the quarter-finals. The team deserved to make at least the quarter-finals, if not the semi-finals, but who would have thought that the world number 6 team, despite having a two-goal lead on two occasions in the crossover match, won the match against world number 12 New Zealand on penalties. Will have to face defeat in the shoot out.

Crores of rupees were spent on the team, but the result was zero

Crores of rupees were spent on the training of the team, experience tours and salaries of the support staff and in view of this the team was expected to perform better. This is India’s fourth worst performance in World Cup history. The hosts can no longer achieve better than ninth place in the tournament. The team has to face Japan in the classification match on January 26 in Rourkela.

India is among the four teams that have participated in all 15 World Cups so far. The team has finished worse than ninth place on four occasions. India ranked 12th in 1986 and then 10th in 1990, 2002 and 2006. The team also achieved ninth place in 1998 and 2014. In the last tournament, the Indian team finished sixth after losing to the Netherlands in the quarter-finals.

Coach Reid agreed – two main reasons for being out

Reid himself said in the press conference on Sunday that there are many reasons for his early exit from the tournament. The two main reasons for this are the lack of success in converting penalty corners and the lack of finishing by the front line. Apart from this, there was a lack of consistency in the performance of the defense line.

India’s failure in penalty corner can be gauged from the fact that the team could score only five goals in 26 penalty corners in four matches. Not only this, only two of these goals were scored directly on drag flicks, which were scored by captain Harmanpreet Singh against Wales and Varun Kumar against New Zealand. Three other goals were scored by Amit Rohidas, Shamsher Singh and Sukhjit Singh on rebounds.

Harmanpreet made the most efforts on the penalty corner from India, but could only score two goals. Lack of variation on penalty corners and over-reliance on Harmanpreet cost India dearly. Apart from this, there was also a lack of consistency in both attack and defence, which was also pointed out by Reid.

Two goals lost against Wales playing for the first time

India’s defense line performed well in the opening two matches against Spain and England and no goals were scored in these two matches against the team. India, however, conceded two goals against tournament debutants World No. 14 Wales and then allowed New Zealand to score three goals.

India were leading 2-0 and then 3-1 against New Zealand, but the match was tied 3-3 after regular time. New Zealand then won 5-4 in sudden death. After Tokyo, Rupinder Pal Singh and Birender Lakra also retired and were replaced in the World Cup squad by the inexperienced Jarmanpreet Singh and Neelam Sanjeep Sess.

Former captain Manpreet Singh also did not appear in rhythm

Former captain Manpreet Singh, who turns 31 in June, also did not appear in rhythm. When Reid was asked whether this was the best team available, he refused to comment saying that he would not say anything about it as there are still two classification matches left.

Apart from this, India also had to bear the brunt of the lack of finishing. The team failed to convert good moves into goals many times. India dominated against New Zealand as well, but despite making many moves, the team failed to score many goals.

Midfielder Hardik Singh also missed the last two matches due to a hamstring strain, which cost the team. He was injured in the second pool match against England.

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