India’s dream of winning Hockey World Cup after 43 years shattered again. There are different analyses by different experts. But if we go by the performance of the players, we find that after very long time we had very balanced and young side. The way Indian youngsters took Belgium head on in the second half is the testimony of Indian brilliance on the field.
Half line led by Captain Manpreet Singh played like a well oiled machine. They were coordinating with forwards and helping the deep defenders as well. After so many years we saw our defence playing excellent game. They did not concede many short corners and their over head clearances always gave Indian forward line to built good attack.
Now the question is, if everything was up to the mark then why we lost in quarterfinals. It was due to our goalkeeping. In this world cup India played four matches in all. There were three pool matches and one quarter final. In all these matches India scored 13 goals and conceded five. 13 goals in four matches is good score. But the problem lies in those five goals we conceded. If we go by each goal scored against us, three of them went through the legs of our goalkeeper. The equalizer which was scored by Thierry Brinkman of Netherlands just four seconds before the end of first quarter also should have been stopped by goalkeeper because it was on the right side of goalkeeper and on a convenient height. Any world class goalkeeper would have stopped these four goals. The only goal which was really tough for any goalkeeper was the goal which scored by Floris van Son of Canada.
No goalkeeper playing at this level will ever allow three balls passing through his pads. The three goals India conceded include two against Belgium in pool match and one against Netherlands when our goalkeeper let the Mink van der Weerden’s hit on penalty corner let in the goal. This proved fatal in the end. Indian Hockey needs a world class goalkeeper.