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A fifth place finish would have been good: Brasa

Source: PTI
March 12, 2010 09:20 IST
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A fifth place in the ongoing hockey World Cup would have been a good performance for India but a seventh or eighth spot finish is not a lesser achievement for the home team, coach Jose Brasa said in New Delhi on Thursday.

Brasa said his boys have showed signs of improvement irrespective of their result in the tournament.

"A fifth spot should have been a good achievement but seventh is a standard, normal performance. It's not good, not excellent but normal," he said.

"For me the performance of the team is important and not results. We played very open, very attacking hockey. I think the team played very well.

"We changed only a few things before the tournament and considering that we have improved our performance," he said.

India will take on Argentina in the seventh-eighth classification match on Friday and the Indian coach said he is eyeing nothing more than a victory against the Pan American side.

"Argentina are similar to us. They scored as well as conceded a lot of goals. It would be a tough, difficult match like every other game," Brasa said.

"I will be very sad, disappointed if we lose tomorrow because we have beaten Argentina in the Champions Challenge in Salta. I feel we must beat them," he added.

Asked about the composition of the team for Friday's match, both Brasa and India captain Rajpal Singh hinted that experienced forward Deepak Thakur, who was totally out of form in the three matches he played so far, might get a place in the playing eleven.

"We had high hopes on Deepak but he could not give his 100 per cent. But if he plays tomorrow, I hope he will come up with a good performance," Rajpal said.

Brasa added, "He (Deepak) is quite fit but not 100 per cent after the surgery. He could be one of the players in the team tomorrow."

The India coach also said that he was astonished by Pakistan's loss against Canada in the 11th-12th place play-off match on Thursday, which saw them register their worst-ever finish in the World Cup.

"I was surprised. May be after losing the first match against us, Pakistan couldn't recover. It was clear that Pakistan played like waves in the tournament," Brasa said.

Hockey India and Pakistan Hockey Federation, in a joint statement, on Thursday said that the bilateral Test series between the two countries would be revived from this year and Brasa too seemed happy with the development.

"Playing Pakistan is always good for us, but what I feel is that we have to play matches at the right moments before any important international tournament," he said.

"Pakistan did not perform here that does not mean they are a bad side," Brasa added.

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