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Despite 0-4 loss, Indians earn respect from Aussies

Doha: Despite losing 0-4 to Australia, India
earned respect for their doggedness from their formidable
opponents who said Bob Houghton`s wards deserved to be in the
Asian Cup football tournament, the continent`s biggest
football event.

Australia`s German coach Holger Osieck said though India
struggled to keep pace with his boys, they stuck to their game
to make it a contest in the opening Group C match and can held
their heads high.

"They (India) competed well. They had good discipline and
did not crumble under our incessant attack. It was not easy to
break down their defence. They knew what they were doing,"
Osieck, who was assistant to the legendary Franz Beckenbauer
when Germany won the 1990 World Cup, said.

"They were slow in reacting when we pushed ahead with
speed but I think they will improve with exeperience. They did
not disappoint me," said Osieck when asked if he would
re-assess his earlier view that India could be a surprise
pacakge.

Star striker Tim Cahill, who plays for English Premier
League side Everton, said India can hold their heads high as
the Australians found it difficult to break their defence.

"It was a tough match. The Indians played very well and
we knew that it could be a banana-skin match if we had taken
them lightly. We played at our top form and ensured that we
did not slip. They kept fighting throughout the match even
after we had taken the game out of their hands. They can hold
their heads high," Cahill who scored twice, said.

Captain Lucas Neill said India deserved to be in the
Asian Cup and they will improve with experience.

"Definitely, they deserved to be in the Asian cup. They
defended well and their goalkeeper was impressive. we knew
before the match it will not be easy against India and it
turned out to be that way only. They made us to be on our toes
all the time. We respect them," said the Galatasaray central
defender.

Brett Emerton, who plays for EPL side Blackburn Rovers
which was recently bought by Indian poultry firm Venky`s, said
it would be difficult for India to qualify for the knock-out
quarterfinals from Group C but they would be tough to beat.

"The way they performed against us I think India would do
well against South Korea and Bahrain. It will not be easy to
beat them. I wish them luck," said Emerton.

PTI

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