India coach urges fans not to lose faith ahead of crucial game against England today
The Hague: Slightly hung over, if not entirely, Indian hockey coach Terry Walsh urged the nation to look beyond first match defeats here at the World Cup being played at The Hague. India lost an extremely close match 2-3 to Belgium; a last second goal eclipsing the good work done in the second half by the Indians.
“Historically, India has always believed in winning first round matches at the World Cup but if you don’t, it’s not the end of the World Cup,” explained Terry on the sidelines of the team’s training session at the KleinZwitserland club grounds. “We are playing a World Cup and it’s not a knock-out competition.”
Belgium's Simon Gougnard (right) fights for the ball with India's Sardar Singh during their game on Saturday. Pic/AFP.
Charlesworth looks on
India came in to training even while Australia practiced their penalty corners on the first pitch and complained to the club officials of allowing two teams from the same pool to train at the same time. Still the two Aussies who looked onto the Indians’ train were Ric Charlesworth and his assistant coach, former Australian captain Paul Gaudoin.
Looking ahead to the contest with England, Terry didn’t have to underline its importance to India’s campaign. “The boys know they are up against a tough side,” said Terry. “But they know what they have to do. England is a top side and a semi-finalist at the last World Cup. But we will play a good game tomorrow and hope to win and take full points.”
England had drawn their first game against Spain 1-1 and would be expected to pull their weight as they are 4th in the world rankings. Upsets are not uncommon in world championships and Terry said, “It’s not about the ranking. It’s about the play in the match.” As a parting word, the former Aussie Olympian said, “Things are evolving in the team and changes are happening. Those who can’t change with the times should step aside.”
8: The position that India finished in at the last World Cup held in New Delhi