Hockey World Cup 2018, Quarterfinal 4: 3 reasons why India lost to Netherlands
In front of a packed arena at the Kalinga Stadium, a determined Netherlands side broke Indian hearts by scraping through to the semifinals of the 2018 Hockey World Cup. The Dutch controlled their nerves better and prevailed over the hosts by a narrow margin of 2-1 in the high-octane quarterfinal.
After a riveting start to the game, India took the lead in the 12th minute when Akashdeep Singh scored off a rebound from a penalty corner. Their advantage lasted only three minutes as the Dutch came roaring back with a deft deflection from Thierry Brinkman.
The second and third quarters produced a keen tussle for the ball. With plenty at stake, sparks flew between the two sets of players. During the final quarter, Netherlands' penchant for relentless attacking made the difference.
A defensive error from India resulted in a costly penalty corner in the 50th minute. Mink van der Weerden's powerful drag-flick managed to evade the clutches of PR Sreejesh and the Dutch consequently pipped the hosts to the post.
Let us take a look at three crucial reasons as to why India lost their quarterfinal clash against Netherlands.
#3 Failure to build on their opening goal
In such a high-pressure knockout match, India's hopes received an early fillip when Akashdeep pounced on a loose ball to score the first goal of the match. They had a platform to build on and put pressure on the Dutch defence. However, their acclaimed attackers failed to capitalise on scoring opportunities through a combination of shoddy trapping and inadequate finishing.
With the Dutch embarking on an aggressive route from the second quarter onwards, India had ample chances to pierce their inner circle and challenge goalkeeper Pirmin Blaak. Although they created quite a few promising set-plays, the trio of Akashdeep, Simranjeet Singh and Lalit Upadhyay could not strike when the iron was hot. Credit should also be given to the Netherlands defenders for anticipating the hosts' movements.