Our boys gave away the match to Koreans, says India coach Greg Clark
New Delhi: India on Tuesday crashed out of the Junior Men`s Hockey World Cup after being held to a 3-3 draw by Korea in their last pool match and a disappointed chief coach Greg Clark rued that his wards "gave away" the match.
India were leading 3-1 at one stage but allowed the Koreans to come back into the match at the floodlit Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here.
The draw means both India and Korea finished their pool engagement with four points apiece but it was not enough for the home team to qualify for the quarterfinals as they needed a win today.
The draw, however, was more than enough for the Koreans to progress to the knock-out stage as they have a better goal difference than the Indians.
Korea finished second while Netherlands topped the pool with three wins from as many games. The Dutch thrashed lowly Canada 7-0 in their last league encounter earlier in the day.
"Definitely, we gave it away when you are 3-1 up. I don`t think Korea played that well. We gave them lot of soft turnovers. We could have controlled the game a bit more," a visibly disappointed Clark said.
"We turned the ball over too cheaply. We did not take our chances when they came and we paid the price for it."
The Indians were also guilty of wasting too many scoring opportunities and Clark conceded that a lot of work needs to be done in the forward line.
"Yeah, together with the technical skill of finishing there also comes the mental ability to keep your mind clear and calm. So that`s certainly an area we need to work on," he said.
"I think we made a lot of interceptions in the first half. But I think we rushed the ball on quite a few occasions."
India faced a must-win situation against Korea today in order to progress to the knockout stage and Clark said pressure played a factor.
"Whenever the Indian national team plays anywhere around the world there is pressure and yes the boys would have definitely felt the pressure tonight.
"May be that was the reason but despite all the pressure the guys went out there and played a good game. We came back from a tough situation being 1-0 down and came to a winning position," the South African said.
With a podium finish out of sight, Clark said his next task would be to rejuvenate his wards for the 9-12 place classification matches.
"The guys are very disappointed. It was a home tournament and they were desperate to do well. I really feel for them. They had been training and focusing on this tournament for a long time.
"I will give them time and space today and tomorrow. It is really important for us now to win our nest two matches so that we can finish as high as possible," he said.
Asked why he did not use third specialist drag-flicker in Sukhmanjit Singh today, Clark said, "Having analysed Korea we felt we had the right option to take penalty corners. Credit to them for denying us in th first two corners when Gurjinder was not in the field. The way Koreans run does not give us the option to try Sukhmanjit."
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