Hockey World Cup 2018: Team India deserves our wholehearted support despite the QF loss
India suffered a heart-breaking loss to Netherlands in the quarterfinals of the 2018 Hockey World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. But there are enough signs that Indian hockey is on the rise and better results are sure to come if it continues on the right path.
Though India missed out on a chance to reach the semi-final stage of the world cup after four decades, this time it came very close and the team can surely hold its head high despite the defeat.
They played an attractive brand of attacking hockey all through the tournament. They managed to top their group ahead of the higher ranked Belgium. The infusion of young blood in the team by coach Harendra Singh is a welcome departure from solely focusing on experienced hands in the past.
It has paid some dividends. Though there have been some occasional lapses as was the case in the quarter final, at no point in this tournament, did this team seem like being outplayed by any team.
In the match against Belgium, they came from behind to draw the match and in the match against the Dutch, they actually took the lead and kept the terrific Dutch attack at bay for much of the match.
They even created a lot of chances of their own, and were unfortunate not to capitalise on some of them. However, India’s defence looked patchy at times, and needs to ensure that they don’t continue to concede goals at the last moments of a match or even a quarter, as it happened in the dying moments of the first quarter today.
It will be wrong to pillory the Indian team for their inability to reach the semi-final at the 2018 world cup. The team needs all the support it can from not just the administration, but also from the fans.
This team may have just missed out on a chance to have a podium finish at the world cup, but it is certainly on the right track. The Indian fans need to show faith in this team. And the selectors need not make any wholesale change in the team. This team has it in him to win the really big tournaments, including the 2020 Olympic Games.