After a spirited start to their campaign at the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup London 2018 where the Indian Women’s Hockey Team drew 1-1 with hosts and World No.2 England, Rani Rampal-led India find themselves in a do-or-die match against USA on Sunday. The Indians are in trouble after a disappointing 0-1 loss to Ireland in their second round robin match at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in London.
The team had failed to convert the numerous goal-scoring opportunities and that has dented the team’s prospect against Ireland. Now, they will have to ensure the mistakes are not repeated. “The team’s structure and planning is good which enabled us to create chances in the striking circle but not being able to convert these chances into goals cost us the match,” says Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne.
The coach further added that though the team is disappointed that they could not come up with a winning performance against Ireland, they take heart from the fact that they created more opportunities. “We made 27 circle entries against Ireland while had made just 10 against England. Though playing against these two teams is very different from each other, it is frustrating that we could not convert a single goal from these chances (15 shots on goal) against Ireland. But at the same time, I take this as a positive that we have the abilities to puncture any team’s defence to create potential opportunities. When we play USA, the emphasis would certainly be on scoring from these opportunities created. We have to execute better and the girls are working for that,” Marijne added.
While the forward-line needs to ensure they score from the opportunities, the team’s defence has held strong. While Ireland made just 10 circle entries, England made 34. “Our defence will be one of our advantages against USA. The loss against Ireland has not affected the confidence of the team because we know that if we have created enough chances against Ireland while our defence has held strong, we can do the same against USA too. ”
With one draw (1-1 against England), one loss (0-1) against Ireland, India are placed third in the Pool B points table. USA too have drawn once against England and lost 1-3 to Ireland. Both India and USA have one point each with India being ahead due to goal difference. To remain in contention for a quarterfinal berth, India need a win or a draw from Sunday’s game. “It is a must-win match for us on Sunday and there is no doubt that,” concluded Marijne.
On July 29, the Indian Women’s Hockey team will take on USA at 21.30 hours (IST). The match will be shown live on Star Sports 2, Star Sports HD 2 and Hotstar and DD Sports (Only India matches).