India and Australia in action during the Hockey World Cup 2014
India coach Terry Walsh accepted that India were confronted by self-doubt in the face of intense pressure exerted by defending champions Australia in their World Cup league encounter at the Kyocera Stadium on Monday.
Australia raced to a four-goal lead in the initial 22 minutes, leaving the Indians stunned by the intensity of the Australian game. But the Indian team regrouped itself and denied any more goals to the title holders.
"Australia started quickly and they always do that. It shattered out confidence and the Indian team faced some self-doubt," said Walsh, a former Australian Olympian who took over as India coach six months ago.
Walsh said there was an element of "careless play" in the manner India conceded the first goal, when the ball was snatched from an Indian defenders on top of the circle and Kieran Govers opened the scoring with a field goal.
"We paid the penalty for being careless at the start," said Walsh.
It was followed by three penalty corner strikes -- two by Chris Ciriello and one by Jeremy Hayward -- before India managed to get their act together.
"We were outplayed in the first half, but were more competitive in the second half. We even managed to create a few chances and should have made use of them."
Indian captain Sardar Singh said the team was aware the Australians would come hard from the start.
"We knew Australia would be pressing, and we made some silly mistakes," he said.
Sardar said India were a young side and several players were playing in their first World Cup.
Walsh said the young side had some way to go. "These boys are not battle-hardened. Most are playing their first major tournament," the coach said.