An insipid India suffered its second straight defeat in the Hockey World League Final, going down 3-1 to New Zealand at the National Stadium on Saturday.
Stephen Jenness scored twice for the Black Sticks while Shea McCaleese added one to the tally as the Indians were outplayed yet again in every department of the game. Mandeep Singh scored the consolation goal for the host.
In the first match, India had only appeared disjointed. On Saturday, the team played like amateurs.
“We were very slow and far below the standards of top teams. There are no excuses for today’s loss,” admitted coach Terry Walsh
New Zealand went ahead in the very first minute through an unmarked Shea McCaleese. India had its chances soon after, but a couple of penalty corners in succession in the third minute were frittered away.
After this, India managed to enter the opposition circle only twice in the first half. New Zealand was unlucky to not get more goals as McCaleese hit the crossbar couple of times.
The second half was different, only in that the Indians managed to reach the opposition circle more often. But the goals eluded the Indians as the forward-line failed to trap, connect or deflect the ball properly.
A long pass from Phil Burrows was deflected in by Jenness in the 40th minute while another defensive lapse saw him add to the total. The Indian defence, which had performed decently on Friday, seemed to be afflicted by the toothless attack. Rupinderpal Singh and V.R. Raghunath kept losing the ball even as Amit Rohidas almost scored a couple of own goals!
“The team’s confidence is low and the losses have only accelerated its downward spiral and my main job now is to stop it. The team is not used to adapting to variations in tactics,” said Walsh.
Given the way the team played, it won’t be easy.England keeps winning
Earlier, England remained unbeaten with a 2-1 win over Olympic champion Germany in an ill-tempered match. England opened the scoring in the fourth minute through Tom Carson while Germany replied four minutes later.
England got its winner when Ashley Jackson’s penalty corner flick deflected in off a German defender’s stick in the 20th minute.
In Pool B, the Netherlands registered its first win in the competition with a 1-0 win against Australia. Billy Bakker scored the lone goal of the match in the 38th minute. Argentina continued its winning spree, beating Belgium 3-2.
The results: Pool A: New Zealand 3 (Stephen Jenness 2, Shea McCaleese) bt India 1 (Mandeep Singh); England 2 (Tom Carson, Ashley Jackson) bt Germany 1 (Marco Miltkau).
Pool B: Argentina 3 (Pedro Ibarra, Matias Parades, Facundo Callioni) bt Belgium 2 (Tom Boon 2); Netherlands 1 (Billy Bakker) beat Australia 0.