Hockey World Cup: China bow out with their heads held high

Updated: Dec 11, 2018, 09:36 IST | Ashwin Ferro

Their South Korean coach Kim Sang-ryul had to give them a Shah Rukh Khan-style speech (from the Bollywood hit flick Chak De! India) to motivate them for this knockout clash

Hockey World Cup: China bow out with their heads held high
A French player (blue jersey, right) is challenged by Chinese players during a cross-over match at the Hockey World Cup yesterday

Around 48 hours before their cross-over clash against France at the Kalinga Stadium yesterday, the Chinese players were licking their wounds after a 0-11 hammering at the hands of defending champions Australia in their last league match.

Their South Korean coach Kim Sang-ryul had to give them a Shah Rukh Khan-style speech (from the Bollywood hit flick Chak De! India) to motivate them for this knockout clash. "That big loss was shocking and the boys were disappointed, but instead of telling them what went wrong, I asked them to tell me their experience. I told them that it's up to them to change things in the next match because they had done well to draw against England and Ireland. They understood," Kim, who did his coaching degree at the National Institute of Sport in Patiala, had told mid-day at the Fan Village on Sunday.

And yesterday, they played like an inspired bunch against France before going down by a solitary goal, but exiting the tournament with their heads held high nevertheless.

Had it not been for French goalkeeper Arthur Thieffry, who made at least a couple of crucial saves off penalty corners, the result could have easily gone China's way. Instead, a 36th-minute strike by France's Timothee Clement ensured the Europeans progressed to the quarter-finals where they meet Australia tomorrow. England will play the other quarter-final on the same day against Argentina. The Englishmen beat New Zealand 2-0 yesterday with Will Calnan (25th minute) and Luke Taylor (44th) being the scorers.

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