We can fight 11 vs 11, not 13 vs 11: Coach Harendra slams umpiring for defeat

The India coach said poor umpiring ruined even their 2018 Asian Games campaign.

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India head coach Harendra Singh

India head coach Harendra Singh began his post-match press conference with an apology for the defeat. From the next sentence onwards, however, he turned a majority of it into an outburst against the umpires.

"We can fight 11 vs 11, not 13 vs 11. They (umpires) cannot rob this team of the World Cup," Harendra fumed.

His grudge against umpires Adam Kearns from Australia and New Zealand's David Tomlinson on Thursday revolved majorly around the differential treatment meted out to players from both teams for rough tackles, with Amit Rohidas being shown a yellow card in the final seven minutes of the game that reduced India to 10 men in the end.

"Can anyone define Amit Rohidas's 10-minute yellow card? What about this gentleman (pointing at captain Manpreet Singh), when he was pushed from behind?" Harendra said.

"You cannot do umpiring arrogantly. We want neutral umpiring. If for the same infringement you're showing my player a card, I expect the same for the other team too," he added.

The India coach said poor umpiring ruined even their 2018 Asian Games campaign.

"We have lost two major tournaments this year because of it. The first stroke in the Asian Games shootout (against Malaysia), my captain (goalkeeper PR Sreejesh) was called out for blocking, and later the TD (technical director) admitted that it wasn't blocking. If the umpires don't want to improve, we will continue to face these kind of results," he said.

India didn't protest about the decision after the Games, and asked if the team management will lodge an official protest with the International Hockey Federation this time, Harendra said: "The outcome of a protest has never been admitted in my career. Then what's the use?

"We accept this gracefully. But a wrong decision by one person ruins four years of preparation," he added,

There were some debatable umpiring decisions throughout the game, which had plenty of video referrals by the players. Harendra, however, said both the goals that Netherlands scored were fair.

India captain Manpreet Singh was equally agitated about the umpiring.

"They need to improve. Because of them we lost two major events. And then people ask us why is Indian hockey not improving," he said.

Stopwatch (Quarterfinals): Germany 1 (Dieter Linnekogel 14) lost to Belgium 2 (Alexander Hendrickx 18, Tom Boon 50); India 1 (Akashdeep Singh 12) lost to Netherlands 2 (Thierry Brinkman 15, Mink van der Weerden 50)

Semifinal Line-up (December 15)

England vs Belgium;  Australia vs Netherlands

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