The Men in Blue will now play in the classification matches before ending the campaign.

India lost the Men’s Hockey World Cup 2023 crossover game against New Zealand. The two teams were tied at 3-3 after the end of the regular time and the Black Sticks won the game in the penalty shootout that followed after some poor finishing from Graham Reid’s men. The loss not only dashed the Men in Blue’s hopes of making it to the quarter-finals and facing the defending champions Belgium, but it has also prolonged the wait for winning the World Cup for the hosts.

India has been hosting the World Cup for the past two editions without much success on the field. India will now take on Japan in the classification match. 

What went wrong in World Cup

India lost to New Zealand in the penalty shootouts in the crossovers and hence India is knocked out of the World Cup.

Graham Reid said, “The penalty corner conversion rate was a big miss. We had many circle penetrations but failed to convert them into goals and the defence needed to get tidy. We scored three goals today which could have been enough on another day to win. Overall PC was a concern but that wasn’t the only one as we gave away the majority of the balls we won today which led to our conceding the third goal.”

What’s next going forward

India will be playing a few classification matches after which the focus of Graham Reid’s men will shift towards the Men’s Pro League and then the Australian series

The head coach quipped, “Apart from the classification matches next the focus shifts to Rourkela next month where we have the pro league matches scheduled against Germany and Netherlands. After that, we have the Australia test series in India (not sure). Next up we will be taking on Japan in the classification matches.”

Was not handling pressure one of the major reason for the loss

India was leading (3-1) in the final quarter but conceded two goals to draw the match and take it to the shoot-out.

Graham Reid opined, “Pressure and expectations come into the mix. We made a few mistakes which we usually dont which might be the reason. Overall we have to analyze what went wrong and correct them.”

Did captaincy put pressure on Harmanpreet?

Harmanpreet Singh was given the responsibility of being the captain and was his maiden stint at the World Cup as the captain.

Harmanpreet Singh said, “As I have said before hockey is a team game and captaincy did not affect my game. I know many are talking about PC conversion which I am working on and will get better going forward.”

Where has India lacked overall 

Graham pointed out certain areas and said, “There are certain aspects like creating chances and converting them. We have been creating a good number of chances but have failed to execute them and like other teams, we have been training hard. Maybe going forward we will have a separate coach for mental training which can benefit the players.”

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