India‘s hockey coach Harendra Singh has apologised after a 2-1 quarter-final defeat by the Netherlands ended their hopes of winning the World Cup on home soil.
“First of all, I like to tender my apology to the people in India for not giving the results what they deserve. But, I am not going to take it very easily,” Harendra told reporters at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Thursday.
The visitors benefited from a disputed penalty corner that resulted in the decisive goal being scored in the 50th minute.
India defender Amit Rohidas was given a 10-minute suspension in the fourth quarter and the Indian coach was critical of the officials.
“It was not 11 players against 11. It was 11 against 13,” Harendra said.
“If they (umpires) don’t want to improve, we will continue to face these type of results.”
India, who won six Olympic hockey golds in a row between 1928 and 1956, secured their lone World Cup triumph in 1975 in Kuala Lumpur.
Following their last Olympic gold in 1980, India‘s performances declined over the next three decades as the game moved from natural grass to synthetic surfaces.
The current squad produced glimpses of their glorious past during their run to the Champions Trophy final this year but their World Cup exit proves there is still plenty of work to be done.
Indian captain Manpreet Singh said there was little point in contesting umpiring decisions after the match
“What’s the use of appealing now? We have lost the World Cup anyway,” he said.
“We have to accept the defeat gracefully. The federation, players and coaches invest so much of time for a tournament. But you could ruin the 4-6 years’ hard work with one wrong decision.”