HWL Finals: Argentina complains of scheduling, India coach Marijne brushes it off as circumstantial

After Friday's 1-0 win over India, Argentina coach Carlos Retegui protested against the scheduling system of the Hockey World League Finals, while Indian coach Sjoerd Marijne brushed it off as circumstantial.

Indian and Argentinian players greet each other after the latter's 1-0 win in the semifinal of the Hockey World league final on Friday.   -  PTI

Argentina coach Carlos Retegui is perhaps the most expressive coach in world hockey. His changing emotions on the sidelines can be as fascinating as his team's performance on the
field. Minutes after winning the Hockey World League Finals semifinal here against India on Friday, Retegui was equally impassioned in his media interaction.

“Indian had a day’s rest and were in better condition than us as we played yesterday. We got to know of playing today at 10 o'clock last night. Australia have played four matches in nine days and we have played the same in six days. It’s not fair,” he said, through an interpreter, almost rising from his chair trying to gesticulate.

READ: India goes down 1-0 to Argentina in semifinal

Adding that the team would take up the scheduling issue with the FIH but not lodge a protest, he also protested against the format but added, in the same breath, that his team was completely prepared to play on Friday. “We were ready and wanted to play today (but) we don’t know why the two semifinals are not played on the same day. That's what normally happens in all tournaments,” he insisted.

Reminded that his team would also have the advantage going into the final since the other semifinal would be played on Saturday, Retegui simply reiterated his complaints against Australia's supposed advantage.

His Indian counterpart Sjoerd Marijne stayed clear of commenting on Retegui's complaints. “Both teams could not play their best game. I don’t know the conditioning state of Argentina. Things that I can’t have influence on, I am not busy with that. It was how it was, we have to deal with the circumstances,” he brushed it off.

But the Dutchman, while disappointed with the result, refused to dwell on it. “I would really like to play Argentina in normal circumstances and see if we are good enough to beat them. Then I would really know where the team is. In these circumstances, they were better (but)
today's match I am not going to watch again as I do always,” he declared.

Admitting that experience did play a part in the game, Marijne nevertheless was satisfied. Argentina has the most experienced side in the tournament with an average age of 28.92 years and nine players over 30 against none for India, the youngest side at 23.53.

“They were a little bit more calm. Slowly we adjusted with what we wanted. Yes, they are an experienced team and that’s why they are number one. It’s a learning process for our seven young players,” he explained.

Asked about recovering for the third place playoff on Sunday, Marijne continued to place his trust in his players. “It’s (accepting defeats) also something that has to come from the team. We have to deal with disappointments like this, how long it will be in your head? We will talk, recover, focus and go from there,” he said.

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