Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
India's 4-Nations Invitational tour to New Zealand has resulted in mixed feelings. Japan and New Zealand played the 3rd/4th play-off match in both legs, while India played two finals against Belgium. India has proven once again that they are capable of beating the best and they lived up to that reputation. At the same time, they lack the consistency to challenge the world's top five: Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Netherlands, and Germany. That was on display over the last two weeks 'they beat Belgium only one out of four times. The New Indian Express today read, 'It was also not that great a surprise that they ended up failing to win in both ' they lost in the first leg before going down in a shootout in the second. It was also not that much of a surprise to see them beat the Red Lions 5-4 in one of the group games.' Let's not go on the downside alone. So, here are a few positives: the number of goal scoring opportunities, goals scored (they scored three or more in six of the eight matches) and the convincing manner in which they beat both Japan and New Zealand (possible opponents at the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games respectively) in four games. One of the main reasons why Sjoerd Marijne's men took the opportunity to travel this early in the year was to develop their play in the opposition 'D' and the coach is quietly pleased with what he saw. Marijne told The Indian Express, 'We came here to develop our offensive and defensive play around our circle. We can still improve there but I saw some good steps.' FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS Another significant development that might help Marijne, in the long run, was the performance of some of the younger players. Dilpreet Singh and Vivek Sagar Prasad were touring for the very first time but they did not get bogged down, instead, they used it to remind the Dutchman what the next batch of youngsters is capable of. The 43-year-old was mindful of that but had a warning for the next generation. Marijne told the daily, 'A lot of players experienced what it is like to play at the international level. It will help them to grow. Potential is one thing but at this level, it's about the mental side. It's a process and if they did well here, it doesn't mean they will be successful in the future. It's in their hands and they have to show it over and over again.' He was also quite disappointed with not winning the second final. India took the lead four times but the world No. 3 came back to level on all four occasions. Marijne said to the Indian Express, 'I think we had to win that match. In the end, we have to get smarter to win it. (Overall) happy with the performance against one of the best teams but we must be critical of ourselves because that will improve us.' INDIA RESULTS First leg: Round robin: vs Japan 6-0, vs Belgium 0-2, vs New Zealand 3-1. Final: vs Belgium 1-2. Second leg: Round robin: vs New Zealand 3-2, vs Belgium 5-4, vs Japan 4-2. Final: vs Belgium 4-4 (lost 0-3 in a shootout).