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Home > Sports > Hockey > PTI > Report

Carvalho surprised by big win over Belgium

June 27, 2007 16:09 IST

While conceding that India could have won by a bigger margin against Belgium in the Champions Challenge hockey tournament, coach Joaquim Carvalho said he was a bit surprised with the 4-1 score line.

"After all, Belgium had beaten Argentina earlier in the tournament, and I was expecting a really tough game today. In that context, the 4-1 margin was indeed a pleasant surprise, though I thought we could have won by a far bigger margin," he said at the post-match media conference on Tuesday.

Carvalho pointed out that by scoring more goals than they did, the Indians would have been on firmer footing should goal difference come into play at the end of the league on Saturday in the event of a tie for placings.

"Keeping that in mind, it would have been far more satisfying had we scored a few more goals today. But, then, I must thank the weather gods for giving us dry weather and a firm pitch that suited our style of play. The ball rolled better than it did in our previous matches that were played in the rain," he said.

Regarding the team's strategy against Belgium, Carvalho said, "We knew that we would be getting more space in the midfield, Also, the Belgian defence was rather weak against a counter-attack. So, our strategy was to keep them under pressure from the start," he added.

He agreed that the midfield and forwardline did not perform up to the expectations in the second-half during which Belgium forced more moves.

"Yes, we did not combine as well in the front as we did initially, and I thought that our midfield players were a bit tired towards close. As such, we made far too many mistakes.

"Further, the yellow card to Sunil Yadav was a big blow and we had to play the last eight minutes or so with 10 men which is pretty difficult in modern hockey. So, we had to play a bit defensive in the final minutes," he said.

Belgian coach Giles Bonnet said it was difficult to play a team like India.

"They are very skillful and we gave away too much space in the middle which they fully capitalised. And once we were down 3-1, our task was even more difficult. We did have a few scoring opportunities, but wasted them. On the day, India was the better team," he said.

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