Hockey World Cup: India miss out on history, lose 1-2 to Netherlands
India miss out on great chance to create history after losing to the Netherlands 1-2 in a heartbreaking quarter-final; coach Harendra Singh blames poor umpiring
A young Indian team played their hearts out, but came up short against a more experienced and professional Netherlands outfit, losing 1-2 in a keenly contested quarter-final here yesterday. However, moments after the match, coach Harendra Singh and captain Manpreet Singh stained that effort by blaming the on-field umpires for their defeat.
India took the lead in the 12th minute when Akashdeep Singh reverse-flicked a penalty corner rebound. Three minutes later, the Netherlands caught the Indian defence napping when a long ball was deflected in by Thierry Brinkmann.
Coach Harendra Singh
The World No. 4 Dutch side then scored the winner off a low penalty corner drag flick by Mink van der Weerden (50th minute). India tried hard for the equaliser and even replaced their goalkeeper with flying goalie Harmanpreet Singh, but it couldn't stop their World cup dream from ending.
"I'd like to tender an apology as we have not given 1.3 billion people what they deserve," Harendra stated in the post-match presser, before going after the two umpires - David Tomlinson of New Zealand and Australian Adam Kearns. "My warriors can fight 11 v 11 but not 11 v 13," he said, referring to the two umpires being against them.
"Even in the Asian Games, when Manpreet took the first shot in the shootout [against Malaysia], he was pulled up for blocking when the TD [Tournament Director] later admitted that it was not blocking. Today too, Manpreet was pushed but no card was given to them. A penalty corner was wrongly awarded [for a tackle by Amit Rohidas] and they scored. The umpires just don't want to improve, but they cannot rob the World Cup from this team. We have lost two major tournaments this year because of this [poor umpiring]," said Harendra Singh.
Incidentally, Harendra was incorrect in his assessment because Rohidas was rightly penalised with a penalty corner for stick-checking a Netherlands' forward at the edge of the 'D'.
And when Manpreet was pushed, the umpire again rightly played the advantage due to which Manpreet proceeded with the ball into the Netherlands striking circle but his final pass was not met by an Indian forward.
Manpreet agreed with the coach. "Twice, we got cards when we didn't do anything. We are losing because of the umpires and then people ask us why Indian hockey not improving," he said. Meanwhile, Netherlands' coach Max Caldas and star player Jeroen Hertzberger couldn't understand what the fuss was all about. "The best team won. India should look in the mirror instead of getting angry at the umpires," said Hertzberger.
"At the end of the day, the team that had the most chances, the most penalty corners [India 2, Netherlands 5] and the most circle penetrations [India 14, Netherlands 20] won the game," said Caldas.
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