Antwerp (Belgium): After suffering a 1-5 loss to Great Britain, India captain Sardar Singh on Sunday said his team needs to organise its defence better if it has to be ranked among the top international sides.
India conceded five goals as their defence crumbled in the bronze medal fixture of the World League Semifinals at the KHC Dragons Stadium here today. The defeat meant Sardar's team lost a chance of featuring on the podium ahead of the World League Finals that India will be hosting later this year.
Four top teams from both World League Semifinals will qualify for the tournament, to be played from November 28 to December 6 in Raipur, Chattisgarh. "We need to organise our game better and the defensive structure is a crucial part of it," said Sardar, dejected to have let in five goals against Britian.
This was the first time Britain had scored five times in one game against India. The previous biggest win was 3-0 during the Seoul Olympics of 1988. In 2012 at the London, Britain had managed to score four goals against India but India retorted with two goals of their own.
The Indian defensive structure today fell apart as they were frequently caught off-guard by counter-attacks, but the defenders also faltered on penalty corners twice. Goals from Alastair Brogdon (11th minute), Chris Griffiths (27th), Ashley Jackson (37th), Adam Dixon (42nd) and captain Barry Middleton (44th) gave Britain a five-goal lead before India pulled one back through Rupinder Pal Singh's penalty corner conversion in the 59th minute.
"The break down of our defensive structure was a let down for the team that aspired to put up a good show," said Sardar. The captain said India's strikers also need to be quick in taking chances when they come their way.
"We need more enhanced skills, but quick finishing is also essential," he said.
"You can't show any laziness and hope to do well in international sport," said Sardar.
Coach Paul van Ass said the pace of the game against Britain today proved too much for the Indian team. "The difference today was that the Indian players are not used to this pace of the game," said van Ass.
"We are still two steps behind the top teams. When the pace goes up, we fall apart," he said asserting that the team needs to work on its structure and also play more matches against the top teams to be able to improve to the next level.
"These players are not playing any real internationals at the highest level," he said. Van Ass said the juniors would benefit a lot from this tournament as they are going back after making the World League Finals as a right, and not just as hosts.
The right to play in the World League Final has been earned by the top four teams from both Semifinals tournaments - in Antwerp and Velencia.