In a nerve-racking finish to the crossover match against New Zealand, the Indian team lost in a sudden-death shootout to bow out of the title race. The result took the sheen off the tournament as early as the crossovers and the hosts were left to fight for 9th-16th place playoffs.
India found some scoring form on Thursday in the second half of their first placement match against Japan, hammering the Asian Games champions 8-0 in front of a capacity crowd in excess of 21,000 fans at the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium. But it didn’t end the round of tough questions thrown at coach Reid.
“It’s been a tough three days to be honest,” said Reid after the win over Japan. “There has been a mixture of feelings of disappointment and frustration, that we’ve let the people down…But what I am proud of is that we tried to keep focus on (by beating Japan)…So it’s only half the job done at the moment.”
India will take on South Africa in their last match of the World Cup on Saturday, which will decide whether they finish in the top 10 among the 16 teams that have featured in the tournament.
Reid’s reply to a question around his contract as the team’s coach suggested that he is expecting some tough days ahead.
“I have signed through to Paris (Olympics), but we’ll be reviewing, I assume, at the end of this (World Cup). But as I said, the next game is South Africa for me. That is what I’m focusing on.”