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Where did India go wrong against Belgium?

Simon Gougnard

No team wants to lose the game in the last minute. For India, the match ended on this disappointing note yet again. On paper, the match looks like a tight one, but those who witessed the game must have every reason to feel otherwise.

Here are the 5 reasons for India’s defeat in the first match.

5. Weak Defence

It has long been argued that defence is an area where Indians falter. This match was no exception. Defence looked shabby. Had Sreejesh Ravindran not been under the bar, scoreline could have been much worse. The belgian forwards had plenty of time in the world to score their goals. The situation worsens when we dig deeper.

At the time of first Belgian goal, all the team was around ‘D’, yet Van Abuel found the ball to net in. Same was the story with the third goal. 9 Indian players were inside their half and still Belgium manages to score. It shows poor marking and no lesson learnt from Europen tour.

4. Lack of co-ordination between midfield and strikers

Hockey pundits had opined that midfield is the strongest Indian asset. Well, they seemed playing without any sort of plan in passsing the ball to talented Mandeep Singh and Akashdeep Singh upfront. They continued to pass the ball within themselves which cost the team dearly.

3. Wasted first half

Since the first minute, it was clear that Belgium is going to have lion’s share in possession of ball. Indians didn’t manage a single shot on goal. Most of the time, the team remained inside their half.

2. Goals conceded at wrong times-

Despiteall this, the Indian team must consider themselves lucky that score line remained 0-0 till 34th minute. Both the decisive goals came in penultimate and last minute of either half. In today’s professional hockey, this is the worst time to concede a goal. Team could have adopted a better strategy to arrest this perennial problem.

1. Muted attack

Indian attacking line was virtually silent.  They upped the ante in second half. In recent years, penalty conversion rate has been a forte in India’s victory. In today’s entire game, team managed to get only one penalty corner. To be fair to Rupinder, he shouldn’t have gone for an aerial shot to test Belgian goalkeeper Jeremy Gucassof , who otherwise had an easy game.

India will rue their missed opportunities. Chinglensana Singh missed Sardara Singh’s pass in the 14th minute. Akashdeep  missed a scoop on counter attack in the 24th minute of the first half. All he had to do was to pass the ball to Mandeep , who rarely misses such opportunities. He missed another aerial shot in the second half.

All is well that ends well.  Sreejesh’s effort behind the goal was commendable & some outstanding dribbling skills of Sardara was a treat to watch. Mandeep showed that he is lethal, whenever he gets the ball inside D.

A draw against Europen silver medallist could have been a tonic for the rest of the tournament. It could have opened India’s chances for a Semifinal berth. All is not lost yet. Remember, new dawn always brings a new day.



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