2010: We failed to build on the momentum

A first person account of the 2010 hockey World Cup.

Published : Nov 23, 2018 19:19 IST

The Aussies do a lap of honour after emerging victorious in 2010.
The Aussies do a lap of honour after emerging victorious in 2010.

The Aussies do a lap of honour after emerging victorious in 2010.

Australia displayed its high skill level and pace, while Germany laid emphasis on defence, apart from sharp marking and passing. These two sides deserved to be the finalists. 

Beating Pakistan in the first match 4-1 was a good start for us, but we were not able to build on the momentum. My best performance of the tournament came in that victory. Looking at the match videos later, I felt happy doing precisely what the coaches expected from me.

We lost two games by big margins in the group stage — to Australia and Spain (both 2-5) — and that proved costly. Argentina defeated us 4-2 in the match for seventh place. It was a closely fought tie and could have gone either way.

Bengaluru Karnataka 15/08/2017 Former Hockey Player representing Bharath Petroleum Tushar Khandekar warming up , (Pic to go with SPORTSTAR Report ) in Bengaluru on Tuesday. Photo: Sampath Kumar G P

The efforts of the World Cup preparation and competition bore fruit at the Commonwealth Games 2010 (second behind Australia).Ours was a team in transition at the World Cup, a group training under a foreign coach (Spain’s Jose Brasa) for the first time.

Brasa joined as chief coach in 2009 and Harendra Singh was the assistant coach. We were introduced to zonal marking and rolling substitutions. 

Though man-to-man marking was not new, we were taught when and how to mark. We were substituted after five minutes of playing. While we wondered how one could prove his worth in such a short time, we later realised that each one giving 100 per cent in the allotted minutes can make a difference.

Every player was getting time to play, and as Brasa pointed out, hockey had become faster. The tactics were new then, but it is followed by everyone now. The World Cup was a good start for the coach, though the team ranking (eighth out of 12 participants) does not reflect this. It was India’s best result since the 1994 World Cup (fifth position).

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