Ipoh (Malaysia): The 4-2 win over world champions Australia in the Azlan Shah Cup here was India's new chief coach Paul van Ass' first big win since taking over the charge a month back and he said Saturday's result showed the world that the Sardar Singh-led side "can play hockey".
Van Ass was in no mood to get overboard with this win but said what he liked about his wards performance was their fighting spirit.
"Let's not make big analysis out of this win. The energy was good and I liked that. We can play hockey we showed that," the Dutchman told PTI when asked whether he consider this win as his best result with the team.
"Yeah, of course at last it was a complete performance. We had a win against the No.1 side in the world which is always nice. So, it is a big compliment for the boys. They fought from first minute till the 60th minute. I liked it, I liked the intensity," a visibly relieved Van Ass said after snapping defending champion Australia's winning run in the tournament.
We just played a good game. We controlled the game well, we scored goals what more can you want."
Young striker Nikkin Thimmaiah scored a hat-trick as India produced a spirited performance, their best in the tournament, to stun Australia and secure their place in tomorrow's third-fourth place play-off match.
India scored a goal each in all the four quarters through V R Raghunath (1st minute), Nikkin (23rd, 32nd, 60th), while Australia's goals came from the sticks of Daniel Beale (14th) and Matt Gohdes (53rd).
By virtue of this win, India, who were already out of the title race coming into the match, finished their league engagements with seven points from five games and will now face Korea in the third-fourth place classification match.
"I still do think the first two matches we played really well. The only poor game was against Malaysia, especially the first two quarters. There we lost it," Van Ass said, analysing India's performance so far in this tournament.
"I think we should have got more points from our first two matches.