A furious and fuming Indian coach Harendra Singh lashed out at the umpires, squarely blaming them for the hosts' defeat at the hands of The Netherlands in the Hockey World Cup on Thursday.
"We have been done in. We were pitted against 13 players, 11 players and two umpires,” Harendra, trembling with anger, told mediapersons.
"Can anyone define Amit Rohidas' 10-minute yellow card? What about this gentleman (Manpreet), when he was pushed from behind? Why not yellow card there? We have lost two major tournaments (Asian Games the other) this year (because of umpiring)," he said, raising his voice.
However, the Dutch coach Max Caldas who was also present at the briefing took a different position. “In the end, the umpires didn't play the game. The team with most chances wins the game. We won the game. That's the bottom line."
“We never discuss umpires. I think we always talk about it, playing as good as we can, to make sure that the ball goes the other way and can't cost us the game. In the end, the umpires didn't play the game."
Harendra, on the other hand, continued with umpire bashing. “Two times we got a card when we hadn't done anything. But when it happened against us, he (umpire) said nothing. They need to improve. We have lost two major tournaments. People ask, why Indian hockey is not improving."
He said he would like to tender his apologies, “We could not do what we had to. I am not going to stop today. If they (umpires) don't improve, we will face this type of results."
Talking about his team, he said, “In patches, I am satisfied (with the team's performance). Overall, I say that Holland played their game. If you are not there to score goals, it's another thing but we created the chances."
About the way his team played, the coach tried to explain saying, “When we don't have the ball, all players are defenders. We were there, tackling, not handing back and giving space.
"We have improved in one-to-one tackling. It's a mix of attack, midfield and defence . When your structure is good, you can do that and create pressure. So credit goes to the entire team."
Skipper Manpreet said, “We lost. We are out of the tournament" and added that the team put in all the effort. "I am happy that all boys gave their 100% and were not short on confidence."
Dutch coach Caldas explained that “in my team’s thinking, 'You might have', 'You should have', 'You could have' do not exit. We review games, not umpires. We review our own performance."
“It happened at the Champions Trophy when the call went against us and we had a draw against India. Umpires do their job. It's a very fast-paced game."
“I told my boys to just play the game. I knew it was going to be a battle. Sometimes we win, you lose, we are happy the way we could change things and keep our cool," he added.
Dutch skipper Billy Baker said, “I think we are pretty happy with the officials. In the end, India were asking for penalty corner. It doesn't matter if they had the referral. Sometimes in sports things don't go like you want. That's something you have to deal with."
“In my opinion, we are a really good team, also adapt to those situations. Of course, it is difficult. But we also have those moments sometimes. But I think the referees did a good job.
“Good positioning is one of the really important things to win games. India have a lot of young players, lot of potential but they are also vulnerable getting into good positions. In my opinion, we did that better. For us, the result only counts. That was the right decision for us to play this way."
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