Bhubaneswar: India’s High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans today held his defenders responsible for their second consecutive defeat in the Hero Champions Trophy stating that the hosts’ backline just crumbled under Argentina’s counter-attacks encounter in the final 15 minutes of the game here.
India squandered a goal lead twice to go down 2-4 against World Cup bronze medallist Argentina in their second Pool B match in front of a packed 7,000 capacity Kalinga Stadium.
India’s perennial problem, their fragile backline came to hurt them badly as the defenders were found wanting by Argentina’s brisk counter-attacks.
“We were playing World Cup bronze medallist, so it was never going to be easy but we played well and dominated for 45 minutes,” Oltmans told reporters after the match.
“But in the last quarter the boys got too excited. They wanted to win very badly and went for the third goal which left huge gaps in the defence.
“We know Argentina plays on counter attack. They sit deep in the defence and go on fast counters. We should have controlled that. There was no structure in our defence, we lost control,” the legendary Dutchman said.
Oltmans, however, questioned Argentina’s second equalising goal. An unmarked Juan Lopez hooked a high ball into the Indian net after it landed near him, courtesy a deflection from Indian defender Rupinder Pal Singh’s stick.
“I have doubts about their second goal. I think the ball was high,” he said.
India captain Sardar Singh said the Indian players got too excited by the crowd support and thet led to gaps in the defence, which the Argentines exploited with precision.
“The boys came under crowd pressure and failed to control Argentina’s counter-attacks. We need to be more consistent,” he said.