India will have to wait longer for a 2014 World Cup ticket.
For, despite a valiant performance against defending champions South Korea, India lost 3-4 in the summit clash of Asia Cup in Ipoh on Sunday. Sardar Singh & Co thus failed to earn a direct berth to next year’s WC to be held at The Hague, Netherlands.
India are virtually assured of a place in next year’s showpiece event but they will now have to wait till the conclusion of the Oceania Cup in November, which either Australia or New Zealand are expected to win, for the official confirmation of their participation from the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
But in a highly unlikely scenario, if Australia or New Zealand fail to win the Oceania tournament, it might end India’s chances of qualifying.
Back to the match, and the Indians did all they could to snatch victory after being 0-2 down at half-time. Rupinderpal Singh (48th), Nikkin Thimmaiah (57th) and Mandeep Singh (64th) turned it around after the break but a controversial penalty conversion by the Koreans late in the 68th minute meant the Indians eventually fell short.
Asked about the penalty corner, India’s interim coach Roelant Oltmans said: “It’s better not to say anything about it.”
“It was a very good game. I was surprised to see our boys make a comeback from after being down 0-2. Let us not play the blame game. At the end, the boys played good hockey,” said former coach Vasudevan Baskaran put it.
with inputs from Joe Williams and Agencies