Take a look at these stats.
Germany had 32 circle penetrations with five goals. India had 27 with two goals; that’s five penetrations less. Now that is the story, either untold or for some reason not wholly explained.
For moments in the first and largely in the second half, India did make forays but couldn’t tap that important goal in. Shivendra Singh, Baljit Singh Chandi, Uthappa, Sunil, all had chances and a few goals would have not only helped with morale but also ensured that the Germans were under pressure.
Tactical changes were happening. For the first time in three matches, you could see the Indian forwards trapping and playing onto the legs of the German forwards; if that was happening against Holland, we would either have tied that match 3-3 or won it changing the entire complexion of the Olympic campaign.
It’s good not to expect much from the Indian team that has only two players to have played the Olympics earlier – Sandeep Singh and Ignace Tirkey. But what are the other experienced players doing? Do they really need a coach at this stage to tell them how to trap a ball or understand the simple formula of how to pass a ball?
How come Sardar plays with such commitment and not the others? Sardar doesn’t give up a ball and is willing to roam the turf, passing, defending and even taking a pot shot at goal. Does he seriously need a coach to show commitment on the field?
On the hockey field, in an Olympics, your courage, commitment and wanting to win comes across. There have been instances where Dharamvir has been robbed off the ball and he stands there and lets the player run away with it. There are forwards who after getting beaten are seen appealing to the umpire but not running after the opposition to get the ball back. For God’s sake, this is not a Nehru Cup, this is the Olympics.
No coach in the world can come here and shoot the flicks for you. Sandeep Singh, basking in the devalued glory of the qualifiers, suddenly is face to face with reality – Two flicks that seemed like Geet Sethi’s shots on a billiards table. And in the mixed zone, India’s top flicker refused to speak to a journalist after the match. Attitude is standing there and showing courage after a defeat. Not running away from reality.
There are many questions and at this stage not many answers.