Bhubaneswar, December 14: India's coach Harendra Singh has blamed referees for some of their poor decisions after the hosts crashed out of the FIH Men's Hockey World Cup quarterfinals following their 1-2 defeat to the Netherlands at the Kalinga Stadium.
India, who were eyeing their first World Cup semifinal since 1975 took a 1-0 lead only to fritter away the advantage as they saw the Dutch drawing level and then going to beat them.
Asked for the reasons for the loss in the post-match press conference, Harendra lashed out at the officials.
"My warrior team can only fight 11 vs 11. But not 13 vs 11," said Harendra, after initially apologising to the home fans.
"I would like to tender my apologies. We haven't given what we had to. I am not going to stop today. If they don't want to improve, we will continue to face these type of results," Harendra added.
The coach was livid with the referee's decision to hand cards for two of his players - Hardik Singh and Amit Rohidas - for fouls, while Dutch defenders were not punished for similar offence.
"Can anyone define Amit Rohidas's 10-min yellow card? What about this gentleman (Manpreet Singh), when he was pushed from behind? Why not a yellow card there? We have lost two major tournaments (Asian Games) this year because of umpiring.
"Two times we got a card when we hadn't done anything. But when it happened against us, they (umpires]) said nothing. They need to improve. We have lost two major tournaments," he added.
Packed India press conference sees coach Harendra Singh lambasting the umpires and referral decisions as key factor in defeat. pic.twitter.com/goBuHAl1vw— The Hockey Paper (@TheHockeyPaper) December 13, 2018
Harendra, however, ruled out lodging any complaint saying that the outcome of a protest "has never been good in my career."
"99.8 per cent the referral goes in favour of players. The outcome of a protest has never been good in my career. We accept this gracefully. We want neutral umpiring. I except both teams to be treated equally. One wrong decision can ruin your preparation of 4-6 years," Harendra said.
India captain Manpreet too was disappointed with the outcome and said there is no point in lodging a protest now.
"What is the use? We lost. We are out of the tournament," he said.
"The team had put in all the effort, but it didn't happen. I am happy that all boys gave their 100 per cent and were not short on confidence," Manpreet added.
(With inputs from Agencies)