Hockey World Cup 2018: 'It was 13 men versus 11,' coach Harendra Singh slams umpires after Netherlands knock India out

Bhubaneswar: India coach Harendra Singh came out all guns blazing against the umpires on Thursday after Netherlands handed a 2-1 loss to the hosts, bringing their World Cup campaign to a grinding halt at the quarter-final stage.

India opened the scoring in the 12th minute, when Harmanpreet Singh's drag-flick was slotted in by Akashdeep Singh on the rebound. The Netherlands came back strongly and got an equaliser three minutes later, and went on to dominate possession for the better part of the match.

 Hockey World Cup 2018: It was 13 men versus 11, coach Harendra Singh slams umpires after Netherlands knock India out

Indian captain Manpreet Singh also blamed the umpires for the 2-1 loss. Image: Hockey India

The coach, though, was miffed with the yellow card being shown to Amit Rohidas in the 53rd minute of the game.

"I am not going to stop today. If they (umpires) don't want to improve, this is the type of result we will face. It was 13 players versus 11 today," he fumed.

The high-voltage game saw two cards being awarded to both teams. Hardik Singh and Rohidas were shown a green and a yellow card respectively, while Dutchmen Bob Voogd (green card) and Mirco Pruijser (yellow card) were at the receiving end of umpires' calls from the rival camp.

"Can anyone define Amit Rohidas' yellow card? What about Manpreet, when he was pushed from behind? Why no yellow card there? We have lost two major tournaments this year — this, and the Asian Games — because of umpiring. I don't agree with one of the penalty corners they got," the coach added.

Harendra, however, denied that he would lodge an official protest with the FIH. "The outcome of any protest has never been good in my career. We will accept this gracefully. We respect the winning team, but we want neutral umpiring. I expect both teams to be treated equally. One wrong decision can ruin your preparations of 4-6 years," Harendra said.

Manpreet Singh was also unhappy with the umpiring."What's the point of lodging a complain? We have already lost the tournament. The questions will be posed to us, not to anyone else," a visibly distraught captain said.

By contrast, the Netherlands coach and captain didn't have any complaints with the umpiring. "The team with most chances, most penetrations, and most goals won the game," Dutch coach Maximiliano Caldas said.

"In the end, the umpires didn't play the game, the players did. We never discuss umpires because they just don't count. We review our games, not the umpires," he said.

Caladas also reminded the press of a contentious umpiring call that went against The Netherlands during the Champions Trophy game against India earlier this year. India drew the match, and by virtue of that result, qualified for the final against Australia.

"'You might have', 'You should have', 'You could have' do not exist. It happened at the Champions Trophy when the umpiring call went against us and we had a draw against India. Umpires do their job. It's a very fast-paced game," he said.

Winning captain Billy Bakker too believed that the standards of refereeing were good in the tense match.

"Sometimes in sports, things don't go the way you want. That's something you have to deal with. In my opinion, we are a really good team, and we also adapt to those situations. Of course, it is difficult; we also have those moments sometimes. But, I think the referees did a good job," Bakker said.

The Netherlands will next play two-time defending champions Australia in the semi-final on 15 December. England and Belgium complete the top four.

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Updated Date: Dec 13, 2018 23:18:38 IST