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PC woes, Shootout heartbreak- 5 Talking points from India's Hockey WC elimination

Here are the five talking points from the India's shocking elimination from the Hockey World Cup 2023.

PC woes, Shootout heartbreak- 5 Talking points from Indias Hockey WC elimination

India lost the plot after third quarter in crossovers against New Zealand. (source: Hockey India)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 2023-01-23T10:48:10+05:30

New Zealand had the 15,000 fans in the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneshwar silenced when Leon Hayward saved the last shot of penalty shootout from Sukhjeet Singh.

The hosts were knocked out by the black sticks in match which felt like roller coaster ride in Universal Studios, Singapore.

Despite leading 3-1 for the majority of the match, India gave up in the last quarter and allowed New Zealand to come back in the match.

Here are the majority talking points from the shock exit of India:

Penalty Corner Woes

The biggest chink in India's armor in this World Cup was penalty corner conversion. Despite having one of the best drag flickers in form of Harmanpreet Singh, India faltered in the penalty corners again.

India just converted one penalty corner scored by Varun and wasted nine. With a ten percent conversion rate, India's penalty corner conversion horrific to say the least.

India tried multiple variations and multiple takers to overcome this but it just didn't work for India. Harmanpreet Singh was just not there.

Last quarter implosion issues

The way India plays hockey, they are always intense in first three quarters and some how the intensity drops in the final quarter.

This is what precisely happened in the game against New Zealand. India were leading and dominating till the third quarter with a lead of 3-2 but in the final quarter India allowed New Zealand to comeback.

New Zealand almost had won it but Krishan Pathak saved three shots to take it to the penalty shootout. Indian team looked clueless in the final quarter.

When World Cup started, the Indian coach claimed that team is not overdependent on Harmanpreet but as it looked it, India was clueless in terms of penalty corner conversion.

Losing Defensive Shape

India's defense was doing well but the moments of brain fade led to New Zealand making a comeback. Amit Rohidas and Harmanpreet Singh were constantly cutting the New Zealand attacks.

But in the final quarter, India started losing the ball in defensive areas which gave New Zealand the advantage. New Zealand made full use of India's lapse and they almost had the winner.

PR Sreejesh saves again

The penalty shootout started well for India with Harmanpreet Singh and Raj Kumar Pal scoring the first two shots. Abhishek and Shamsher missed the next two.

India needed two saves from their veteran goalkeeper to stay alive and he delivered it.

Like he has done always, PR Sreejesh saved the last two shots and got himself injured during the process. Krishan Pathak came on pitch to replace him as he watched India crashing from the sidelines.

Penalty Shootout Horror

India's penalty shootout was a horror show to say the least. Both the teams took nine shot at the goals with New Zealand scoring 5 and India scored 4.

Apart from Raj Kumar Pal's two goals, none of the Indians looked confident.

Harmanpreet's shot from distance in the penalty shootout is going to haunt every Indian hockey team in their dream. Leon Hayward was called for shootout and he delivered by dumping India out of the World Cup.

India will face Japan in next crossover match to determine the final position and the best finish India will have is ninth place.

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