On Sunday India broke a 33 year old record of winning a medal in major international tournament by defeating Netherlands in penalty shootouts to win the bronze medal. Chief coach Roelant Oltmans said the achievement will be a “huge confidence booster” for his team ahead of next year’s Rio Olympics.
The Indian team was 0-2 in the first half and showed a lot of courage to defeat the World Champions and number 2 ranked team in the world by 3-2 in penalty shootouts after both teams was tied 5-5 after regulation time.
“This win showed what we can do well if we play the way we want to play. This should be a huge confidence booster for the team because we have not really done well in the medal round matches. It’s always special to win a medal round match,” an elated Oltmans said at the post-match press conference.
“These two (Sreejesh and Sardar) contributed a lot. But a lot of other individual players played really well. Most important thing was that we made progress in every match. If you look at every match we did something that was positive, that we can build on,” the coach said.
The coach also praised the efforts of Indian goalkeeper P Sreejesh who made numerous saves in the penalty shootouts.
“After 33 years it means a huge deal for all of us. We have been working on tiny details on the field and it showed today. But we will pick on the positive from this tournament. We will celebrate the medal and focus on the Olympics,” Sardar said.
“We will celebrate a bit. It’s a huge deal for us to win a medal after so many years. One way of looking at it is we are in that position is because goalkeeper concedes a goal and rest of the players, their shoulders drop,” said Sreejesh.
With the Olympics coming up the Indian team must work harder on their weakness. The Indian played with a lot of aggression and energy in yesterday’s match. Beating a top ranked team in the world will have given a lot of satisfaction to the team and coach.