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|October 15, 2001||
Rajinder blames forwards for defeatOur Correspondent
India's coach Rajinder Singh was a dejected man after his team's loss to Australia in the men's junior World Cup hockey tournament on Monday.
The 1-2 defeat virtually put the silver medallists of the last edition of the tournament out of the running for a berth in the semi-finals.
"We missed the chances; they took theirs," was his summation of India's defeat at the Tasmanian Hockey Centre.
India, who drew 2-2 with Argentina, needed to win against Australia to stay in with a chance. Now they must beat the Netherlands in their concluding match of Pool F and hope that the Netherlands beat Argentina on Tuesday and then Argentina beats Australia on Wednesday to entertain any hopes they have of making it to the last four stage.
"We started off pretty well and were in control for the first 15 minutes," said Rajinder, adding he failed to understand why his forwardline got disjointed thereafter.
He blamed his main forwards, particularly those from the senior team, for the defeat.
"We missed four or five easy chances. Deepak Thakur and Gagan Ajit Singh, and also Tejbir [Singh] had easy chances to score but failed. That's why we lost," he said bluntly.
Reflecting on the high qualify of play by both teams, the soft-spoken Rajinder, who was India's full back at the 1982 World Cup, said: "The game was like a final, because both teams needed to win to qualify. Their goalkeeper [Australia's] played well. He and the rushers did not allow us to take our penalty-corners successfully." successfully."
He said his boys "will now have to go all out and take whatever chances we get against the Netherlands ".
Australia's coach Colin Batch lauded his players for the fine "comeback" after the thrashing they received against Holland on Sunday.
"The players were lacking in confidence but they showed character to come back from the big loss of yesterday," he said.
He added: "Today was a test of character. They had to look at their own performance… and they came out firing."
Mail Sports Editor
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