HomeSportsHockey5 Reflections from the India vs Netherlands Hockey World Cup Quarterfinal
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5 Reflections from the India vs Netherlands Hockey World Cup Quarterfinal

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With the aim of repeating 1975 historical win, the Indian Hockey team was playing with a great momentum registering a win after win at this Hockey World Cup 2018. Unfortunately, India lost in a close encounter with Dutch in the Hockey World Cup quarter-final match on Thursday, thus shattering World Cup dreams for their countrymen.

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India’s chief coach Harendra Singh criticized poor umpiring for his team’s defeat in the quarter-finals in the Men’s Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar.

5 Reflections on what happened in India vs Netherland Quarterfinal

  1.  Capitalizing on Penalty Corner opportunities

Image Source: Odisha World Cup Hockey Official Page

India’s analytical coach Chris Ciriello had clearly highlighted that the true test for a player is to convert the penalty corners when a team is behind opponents and is in dying need of a goal.

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Indians scored early with a penalty corner against the Netherlands but India missed a golden chance presented to them yet again with five minutes left in the game.

  1. Ability to handle big match pressure

India needs to handle big-matches pressure in a better way.  Amit Rohidas made a couple of crucial errors in the quarterfinals, but the Sundargarh lad never hesitated to put his body on the line for team and country, and it was largely due to his efforts that the Indians have successfully defended several Penalty Corners at Bhubaneswar.

Amit was penalized as he charged down before he should have after the Dutch were about to take a Penalty Corner, and Mink van der Weeden found the back of the net as the Indians had to defend with one runner less.

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Image Source: Jan Satta

A disastrous yellow card for an obstruction followed soon, and the Indian defender had to leave the pitch for ten minutes with his team trailing by a goal at the end of the last quarter. That cost India a serious blow. Incidents, such as these, have now become an integral routine part for the Indians, especially in the knockouts. India is vulnerable under pressure and the loss against the Netherlands has highlighted that India needs to develop the traits to handle the big match pressure in an effective way.

If Indians could have been able to hold their nerves well in the last few dying moments of the game by showing proper temperament, results could have been different.

  1. Utilizing the Home crowd support  

Playing in front of a home crowd can be a boon or a bane, depending on the manner in which the hosts utilize the support. Sticking to the game plan, however, can be pretty tough for a young team being spurred on from the stands – especially when the loudest cheers emanate when a player displays his spectacular skills. The reactions of the partisan crowd at the Kalinga Stadium fluctuated between deafening roars when the Indians chose to sprint ahead and then descended into a sudden pin drop silence whenever the opposition scored a goal.

The team should be unaffected by the mood of the spectators. International Hockey Federation master-coach Siegfried Aikman was in the stands at Bhubaneswar and told that the Indians, who had hitherto remained unaffected by the noise of the crowds in the pool matches, seemed to be playing to the galleries in the quarterfinal.

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The crowd can hardly be blamed for doing all they could to inspire the team they love. The team should capitalize on the favourable environment and opportunities instead of succumbing to expectations of the audience.

4.  One can say that the Netherlands partially outplayed India

The Indians got a lot of their moves wrong. Coach of the Indian Junior Hockey, Jude Felix has consistently said that in spite of the positive results in the pool stages, the Indians were underperforming on the pitch.

India’s former captain highlighted the same after the quarterfinals, stressing that the Indians have not been playing constructive hockey.

Former India goalkeeper Ashish Ballal said both teams played a scrappy game but the Indian strikers – and Akasheep, failed to click on the day.

Dutch coach Max Caldas after the match said that his boys played consistently in a close match, “Close game – very intense. I think, we played a very consistent game throughout.” 

Image Source: India Today

It was best to hear from Billy Bakker; the captain of the Netherlands team. He was gracious in his response after the match and said something most sensible thing that can be said by anyone.

He quoted, “We had more possession, we applied more pressure, and we had more chances. The best team won on the night. I believe a good team needs to adapt their game to all external factors including referring.”

The Netherlands certainly showed better temperament. They have been quite more strategic. They applied more pressure on the Indian team. They also received some umpiring favours. But the Indian team should also learn to deal with external factors like referees also, as Billy said.

  1. Unfair umpiring is the major reason behind India’s defeat

Indian chief coach Harendra Singh said after the match that bad and unfair umpiring contributed to a great extent in India’s quarterfinal loss just as it did in the Asian Games.

Harendra was of the opinion that the cards handed out to the Indians – including a ten-minute yellow to Amit Rohidas in the final quarter, was extremely unfair considering that the Dutch players were not penalized for similar mistakes.

Harendra Singh recalled, Manpreet had been pulled up for a body obstruction in the highly tense shootout of the Asian Games semifinal which the Indians lost. He lashed out at the poor standard of umpiring that he says has affected the Indian team in this major quarterfinal as well.

In a nutshell, we can say that India may have technically lost the quarterfinal game but we should also realize that the team faced the toughest opponent as compared to other teams. 

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