Following India's 5-2 loss to Spain in the hockey World Cup, chief coach Jose Brasa on Thursday said the home team's chance of reaching the semifinals was nearly over.
“Our dream of making the semifinals is almost over. Now it is a lottery, if we win and other teams lose. But now we should concentrate and try to get the fifth position,” the Spaniard said.
Brasa, however, said the Indian team lacked experience and gave away easy goals to Spain. He said the margin of defeat did not reflect the level of contest in the match.
“Australia was too good for us. But today both the teams were equal. We made mistakes in the match. For me, Spain's second goal was crucial. We gifted the goal with just 10 seconds to go for the half-time. Rodrigo Garza is one of the best players and we allowed him,” he said, adding another key player of the opposition camp, Pol Amat, was left unmarked on a few occasions.
“But mistakes are normal and we are not going to punish the players. (After all) except five or six, this is the biggest tournament for most players,” Brasa said.
On India wasting a lot of penalty corners, the coach said, “Sandeep had done well against the same goalkeeper (Francisco Cortes) in Spain in August. But today the goalkeeper was good.”
Brasa said out of compulsion he was forced to give Deepak Thakur more chance even though the striker was not at his best. “We are asking Deepak to play more because of the penalty on Shivendra. Deepak not only scores goals, but he is an important leader in the team,” Brasa said.
He said England would not be too difficult a rival for India.
He backed the experienced forwards, who could not capitalise on a few chances. “May be they were too excited to score. It happens,” Brasa said.
Spanish captain Pol Amat said his side took advantage of the huge gap between Indian defence and midfield.
“We played much better today. The scoreline would have been higher had we converted all our chances. We made some good and quick moves,” he said.
Pakistan captain Zeeshan Ashraf agreed that defensive lapses let his team down against England in the hockey World Cup on Thursday.
“We made some mistakes in the defence. Besides, there were two yellow cards which made matters worse for us,” he said following his team's 5-2 loss.
“In the first half England played well. We tried to come back in the second half but conceded a few goals in our attempt to attack.”
On the rough exchange between England's Ian Mackay and Irfan, Zeeshan said, “he deliberately hit Irfan. The Tournament Director should ban him like Shivendra.”
The Pakistani skipper said his team still had a chance to make the semifinals.
Enjoying crowd support
Zeeshan's English counterpart Barry Middleton said his side enjoyed the crowd support. He said his team would miss the services of experienced striker Richard Mantell, who dislocated his right ankle during the match and was ruled out for the rest of the tournament.
Ric Charlesworth said before the match Australia was worried about the South Africans. “But I liked the way our team played well throughout, they were relentless. If we improve everyday, we will be at a place where we want to be at the end of the tournament,” said the Australian coach.
Charlesworth defended the rotation of captaincy. “We have a few players with leadership abilities. We are rotating them. All have something to offer, all have some positive qualities,” he said.
On the record margin of victory, the Aussie coach said he had no idea about it. “Is it? Nobody thinks about it.
“We had 25-30 shots at the goal today. Sometimes the scores are unfair. We have to make hay when the sun shines. The goals might make a difference at the end,” Charlesworth said.
South African captain Austin Smith was disappointed with his side's showing.
“We have the potential to compete against a team like Australia. However, 12-0 is certainly not the score. Our seniors were not up to the mark, no one stood up and took charge,” he said.