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 February 24, 2002 | 2115 IST
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D'Souza promises better showing in next matches

While admitting that the team did not play to potential in the opening match against Japan, coach Cedric D'Souza promised an improved showing in India's next matches in the 10th men's hockey World Cup.

"The opening match is over and we can only improve from here. There were mistakes and we will see that we rectify them in the next match," he said.

D'Souza said the inability to keep possession of the ball was the team's undoing.

"I think in their anxiousness to score, they didn't hold on to the ball to create spaces. It was a bad first half and if I look at it positively, we came back from being 0-2 down to hold out for a 2-2 draw."

How does it feel after dropping two points against an unfancied team?

"I wouldn't say one point is better than none, but at least we got one point," D'Souza said.

He added: 'I am not unhappy with today's result, though it would have been nice to have started off with a victory, but we came back from the dead.

"This being our first game, we had butterflies in the stomach. Every team has come here to prove a point, and I thought our boys were rather too anxious to score quickly. We were caught on the break by the Japanese.

"Of course, we should be criticised. Everybody wants a win to start with. We were the ones that had to start with a draw. So be it. But I will be positive and say that we came back and walked of the pitch with at least a point. We live to fight another day."

Asked about the substitutions he made in the second half of the match, D'Souza said: "I substituted Dhanraj Pillay and others because it was needed. The players were just not creating spaces and opportunities. So I had to do away with the play that we started with."

Match reports
Lacklustre India held by Japan
Pakistan too good for South Africa
Korea and England win opening World Cup ties

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