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Aug 5

Written by: Sundeep Misra
Sunday, August 05, 2012 

India 1 Korea 4

After being thrashed 4-1 by Korea with two goals coming in the last couple of minutes, India are well on course to their worst ever finish in an Olympic Games. At this stage in Pool B, they have lost four consecutive matches. It was yet again a below par performance with the only stand out players being Sardar Singh, Ignace Tirkey, SV Sunil and Baljit Singh Chandi.

The Koreans were ahead in the 6th minute off a superb penalty corner conversion by Jong Hyun Jang. In the 10th minute, Baljit Singh Chandi received a picture perfect pass from Dharanvir and deflected it into goal for the equalizer. The match moves both ways with India having the edge in circle penetrations but the left flank played as if the goal post had shifted to the corner flag position. One lost count of the times, Shivendra Singh mistimed or didn’t trap the ball. If he had the ball, he invariably gave it away.

Mohammed Riaz, the assistant coach, who came in place of Michael Nobbs at the media conference, said, “It was down to missed chances and that is what is costing us dear.”

India kept missing with Sardar building up the moves. Once even Tushar Khandekar atoned for his sins by placing a perfect ball across the Korean goal but Sandeep Singh and Uthappa couldn’t bring down their stick in time.

Korea broke the deadlock in the 59th minute when they created a penalty corner by playing the ball onto an Indian defender’s leg. Hyun Woo’s flick was powerful enough for the Indian defender on the line to duck away. India had three penalty corners in the second half. Sandeep can consider himself unlucky as one his flicks hit the cross piece. But two flicks were dreadful, the third bouncing thrice before the goalkeeper padded it away. For a player who said ‘I will score in every match’ the Olympics have been a complete failure. When asked about his form, Nobbs didn’t have anything to say except, “I will have a chat with him.”

For India, it’s not the circle penetrations that have been the worry. It’s the finishing and the defence line that has caved under pressure. Nobbs believes the youngsters have played to their potential but the seniors have failed. “I think the senior players need to have a look at themselves. If they can’t perform, they need to move on.”

As India looked for a second equalizer, the gaps at the back were successfully exploited by the Koreans. Lee Seung had enough space on the top of the circle to shoot into the corner for Korea to bring India to their knees as they led 3-1.

With two minutes left, Korea earned a penalty corner which they converted through Hyun Woo to walk off with a 4-1 score line.
Indian captain Bharat Chettri was emotional at the conference, saying, “We missed too many chances and this is not what we have come for. I cannot explain this performance. We are missing chances, not passing well and not doing anything right. I don’t know what has happened to us.”

Under a barrage of questions from the media, Chettri pointed to Michael Nobbs who was sitting in the media room and asked him to take the question or rather the criticism.

Nobbs replied: “This team is a work in progress and I would like to apologise to the Indian people for this display. The seniors have to pull their weight in the team and if they can’t, they better move on.”


4 comment(s) so far...

Re: India miss, Korea score, win 4-1

I watched the match on TV. I think this team can go a long way. Take off the 3-4 players who I believe under-performed and you have a top four side ready in four years...India need to tour Europe and not Asia. Play Germany regularly. Come play in Holland. Play in Spain. But play top teams. And yes keep the coach.

By Arun Sahni on   Monday, August 06, 2012

Re: India miss, Korea score, win 4-1

The olympics have been a reality check for us. Yes, we did qualify for the olympics. That's one notch better than 2008. However this is where we stand.
We are creeping up slowly. Keep this bunch, add a few more players, retain Nobbs and co. for the next 4 years, lots of match practice against the Europeans and we will do well in 2016.
Long term planning HI, there are no knee jerk solutions in this world. And please disregard the inevitable disparaging comments of our past failed coaches and olympians.

By Nikhilesh Roy on   Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Re: India miss, Korea score, win 4-1

Could you please give us summary of our olympic performance. What we did well and where we failed. Who did well , their strengths and weaknesses. Who in your opinion should be included, from our youngsters, to form a nucleus of our 2016 campaign. Thanks.

By Nikhilesh Roy on   Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Re: India miss, Korea score, win 4-1

For the development of the game we need infrastructure like the European clubs league system, 4 to 5 teams per club with supporting staff for enhancement of budding players who later can represent the country at international level. Only league setup can save the game in the country. As the saying goes if you can't beat them, join them, by joining them I mean follow/learn the ways of winning countries/teams, i.e. play league hockey on weekly basis only then we are entitle to play against the like of Australia etc... if we are not prepared to do this, -take up knitting instead!!!
P.S I was at he stadium to watch us against the Dutch and the German, the only players worthy of their place in the team was Sardar, Ignace, Sardar truly the best I've seen in Indian teams. Sandeep well overrated.

By Charanjit Singh on   Tuesday, August 07, 2012

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