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World Cup: Coaches trying to lift sagging morale of beleagured Indians

PTI 03 Jun 2014, 19:02:08 PM IST
The Hague (The Netherlands):  India's hockey team today went about working on the mistakes that led their narrow losses in the first two group league matches of the men's hockey World Cup.

India conceded match-winners to Belgium and England in the dying stages of the preliminary league matches, leaving captain Sardar Singh disappointed not to have secured any point from two competitive games.
"We're put up a very competitive challenge against both Belgium and England, but we fumbled and gave away late goals to suffere defeats," Sardar said after the team's intensive training session today.
"Both Belgium and England are ranked much higher than us in world rankings, and yet we gave them a good competition," said Sardar, dejected like the rest of the team to have conceded goals in the final stages.
Belgium, who won 3-2, got the match-winner against India with just 15 seconds on the board on the opening day, while England's 2-1 victory was sealed with a penalty corner conversion just 85 seconds before the hooter.
In the game against Belgium, India were at the receiving end for long periods and tried to pack their defence to defend the goal. In the encounter with England, the Indians had a clear advantage in the run of play.
However, they repeatedly gave away the ball after working hard to bring it to the rival circle. There was a time in the last stages of the match that India went out looking for the lead, only to concede the critical penalty corner at the other end and England got the match-winner on a penalty corner rebound shot from Simon Mantell.