New Delhi: For a team expected to qualify for the World Cup directly, the performance of the Indian women's hockey team was far from satisfactory. The Indian team coach however blames their inability to qualify directly on poor umpiring. "It was the bad umpiring that hurt us for a direct qualifying. Because right from the first match to the fourth match, they posted a Russian umpire. I don't know why she was dead against us. She did not allow us a single penalty corner whereas in other half, we got so many of them," claimed A K Bansal, Chief Coach, Indian Women's Hockey Team. This is clearly demonstrated in the fact that the Russian umpire Irina Sivtsova gave fewer penalty corners from her half in all of India's matches, unlike the other umpires. Strangely enough, she officiated a total of five games in the tournament, of which India played in four matches. In the England game, India was given a penalty stroke, which was later overturned to a free hit by Sivtsova. India played seven matches in all, of which India won three, lost three and drew one, earning 10 points -- one point less than Ukraine which qualified with 11 points in group A. India now face the United States in a three match tie and India is confident of getting the better of the US. "They are playing a little bit long game and our main advantage is skill. In the recent World Cup qualifier, we dominated in skill. Secondly, this time our fitness was tremendous," maintained Bansal. The complaint has been lodged by the Indian hockey authorities, which will come up for discussion in the FIH meeting to be held in November where the dates and the venue for the India-US tie will also be decided.
Topics : Hockey