Despite taking an early lead in their quarter-final match against Belgium, India crumbled to a 1-3 defeat as they fell apart once Belgium equalized in the second half. Disappointed with the performance, skipper PR Sreejesh blamed the team’s lack of unity after Belgium's goal for their exit.
Indian men’s hockey team’s hopes of securing a medal in hockey for the first time since 1980, ended on Sunday after Belgium defeated them. Akashdeep Singh put India in front in the first quarter, but three second-half goals ended India’s run at the Rio Games.
"We needed to show more team unity and energy after the first goal. We need to improve that and we need to see these matches as do or die matches,” PR Sreejesh said.
We needed to show more team unity and energy after the first goal."
"The game can change till the last moment in hockey, so it's more important till the end how we concentrate and try to get a lead. In the second half, they took away the initiative and they got enough penalty corners. We could have put more pressure and availed more chances, but our energy was not up to the mark," the ace goalkeeper added.
"When it comes to quarter-finals, it's a do or
"The energy level of Belgium was very high. We didn't bring in the quality that we brought in London (at the Champions Trophy in June). For the boys there's was a lot of stress and pressure. Belgium took away the initiative and they deserved to win," Oltmans told, reported IANS.
Coach Roelant Oltmans felt that the lack of experience in the Indian team played a part in the loss.
We have the youngest team in the competition and for most of them, this is their first kind of experience."
"You have to see where we come from. We have the youngest team in the competition and for most of them, this is their first kind of experience. You do need
"We played with full pressure, but full pressure, I always say, is a kind of bluff. There are always gaps. Later in the game, we tried to put full pressure and even took out the goalkeeper," the Dutchman said.
After conceding the third goal in the 49th minute, Oltmans replaced Indian goalkeeper PR Sreejesh with Harmanpreet Singh in order to throw more bodies forward in attack. However, India failed to create too many chances in the last 10 minutes of the match.
"We tried to close the gaps and tried a number of attacks, but in the third quarter, we hardly saw any attacks at all. That's where we have been lacking.
"After taking out the goalkeeper, in the end, we didn't concede a goal but neither did we get goal scoring opportunities. We had only one or two opportunities and a break from the corner, but we didn't succeed," said Oltmans.