Chief coach Terry Walsh said physical fitness was the major difference between India and Australia as the hosts surrendered meekly after making a bright start to their quarter-final match of the Hockey World League Finals on Wednesday.
India, after taking two-goal lead, were hammered 2-7 by world champions Australia as they crashed out of the semi-final race at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here. (India vs Australia, as it happened)
Walsh said after the early domination India "ran into a wall" as far physiology was concerned.
"It was a very positive start. Australia were disintegrated in the first 20 minutes but physiologically we ran into a wall. Australia were much more stronger and powerful than us. Australia are physically much more superior than us," Walsh said at the post-match press conference.
"It was will take time, probably 9-10 months, to get to that position. You can't expect to match Australia physically overnight."
Walsh said despite the eventual result he was happy with his team's performance in the match.
"I am happy with the way we cut through their midfield. But our skill level deteriorated as the match progressed. We did run out of steam and our defensive organisation lost its shape," he said.
"The positive things to come out of this game are that we were able to take on the world number 2 side, challenge them and score a few goals."
Insisting that the 2-7 scoreline was not a reflection of the gap between the two sides, Walsh praised Australia for their fighting spirit to register the come-from-behind win.
"The scoreline reflects their ability to finish. We had a few other chances in the match that we couldn't put through.
"Australia's skill level didn't deteriorate from the first to the last minute. You must give them credit," he said.
Australia' coach Ric Charlesworth said he was never worried after India took a 2-0 lead in the first 11 minutes of the game.
"I have seen everything in hockey. I have seen teams dominating the entire match and then lose. We are a team that like to score goals and manufacture goals. I think our team is the best in the world and it would be hard for India to play against us," Charlesworth said.
"When we took control of the game, India struggled," he added.
Charlesworth, however, had words of appreciation for India for their impressive performance against his side.
"You have to give credit to the other team. We were a bit loose early on. India has a young and inexperienced side compared to other teams and they will take time," he said.