Harjeet: This team will give a lot more joy in future

Captain Harjeet added that it was a single aim and simple hockey that helped the team.

Indian captain Harjeet Singh (left) and Mandeep Singh seen with team coach, Harendra Singh.   -  Rajeev Bhatt

It isn't often that an entire team walks in for a press conference but winning the World Cup is a special occasion and calls for special celebrations. It was an emotional and teary coach Harendra Singh who walked in with his 18 players for the post-match interaction but refused to say anything, pushing his wards to the front instead and insisting they take the limelight.

He had been lifted high on the field, danced with abandon with anyone he saw and had proved himself. But, talking to the media, he held back. Manager Roelant Oltmans didn't. “The first half was very close to a perfect game. But in the second half we gave them a little bit too much initiative, to be honest. But not one second in this game I was worried. The boys did a fantastic job and all the credit to these 18 players,” Oltmans said.

Captain Harjeet added that it was a single aim and simple hockey that helped the team. “Everybody has put in a lot of hard work and discipline. We all had one aim and thankfully we managed to achieve that today. We all knew what we have to do in the field, everyone knew their duties. We just concentrated on that and played simple hockey. We played the final like a final.”

Asked what exactly was 'simple hockey' that has been the mantra for the team, he laughed. “Get the ball, pass the ball, move ahead. That's all. It's that simple, really,” he said.

Soon after winning the semifinal against Germany, Belgium coach Jeroen Baart had hoped to play India in the final of the Hockey Junior World Cup, mainly for the kind of electrifying atmosphere that has been the norm here every time the Indian team has stepped on the field.

He got his wish and, unfortunately for the European side, a lot more intimidating crowd that it had bargained for. “We have never played in such a fantastic atmosphere before, it will be a great experience for the boys,” Baart had claimed. His boys did get an experience all right, it just wasn't something they would have liked.

“The crowd made it impossible to communicate. The only thing we could understand was that every time the noise levels increased, we knew India was attacking. Other than that, we tried to communicate in sign language but there was nothing we could do in front of such a huge number of people,” a disappointed Belgian captain Victor Wegnez admitted after the game.

“India started really well. Our boys didn’t handle the crowd and the atmosphere well. They were pretty fast. It was not easy to play India in India in such a fantastic atmosphere. Today, we just weren’t good enough to beat them,” Baart added.

That crowd, however, propelled the Indian team to overwhelm the opposition. “We would like to thank every one who has come out here for all our games, they have helped us achieve this,” accepted Varun Kumar.

Gurjant, hero of the last two games, quipped that he had “saved his heroics for the last two important matches” while Harjeet promised this lot of players would give “a lot more joy many more times in the future”. Oltmans, cheif coach of the senior side, would be satisfied.

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