I believe India could have won, had the forwardline not committed so many errors. We scored first and early but squandered the lead. We began well and fast but failed to maintain that pace throughout the 70 minutes.
A host of missed opportunities from the forwards meant that the pressure fell on the defence and the skipper and custodian Bharat Chetri, and he eventually caved in.
Unfortunately forwards Shivendra Singh, Tushar Khandker, and SV Sunil were unable to combine well. Also, we should be playing at our pace and not according to the pace of the opponent. Coach Michael Nobbs keeps insisting that the forwards have to be aggressive, but that was somehow missing soon after Sandeep Singh scored the opening goal off a drag-flick early in the first half.
Even if we were unable to score, I felt that we should have had at least created more chances. With a star drag-flicker like Sandeep in our ranks, we should have been working towards earning more penalty corners so that he can covert them.
But there is no need to lose heart. The next match is against Germany today. They are currently ranked No 2 in the world, but are certainly not invincible. India is No 10 and go into the match as underdogs anyway. So, given the two back-to-back defeats the Indian team will be hungry to taste success now. Sardar Singh will once again have a key role to play in midfield and the forwards should work overtime to try and give Sandeep the opportunity to execute his lethal flicks. I have a feeling India will play its heart out today.