As the much awaited FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Final 2015 is all set to commence from tomorrow, 20 June 2015 in Antwerp, Belgium, all the 10-participating teams are entirely geared-up to exhibit their finest skills and put-up their best show on the field during the tournament to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
On the inaugural day of the tournament, FIH Rank #13 India will lock horns with the FIH Rank #12 Belgium in the Pool B match. Before the tournament, India lost to Italy and Japan by 1-2 and 0-2 respectively in practice matches.
In the recent times, India Women team faced Belgium twice during the 2014 FIH Champions Challenge 1 in Glasgow, where they lost both the matches against the European team. However, the Indian eves will be looking forward to breaking their jinx of losing against the host nation Belgium and will be aiming at starting the tournament on a winning note.
Indian players will vie to continue their good form in the prestigious tournament by utilising the experience they gained from their practice matches and will be seen emphasising more on converting maximum number of goals through penalty corners. On the other hand, Belgian eves are working hard to continue their winning streak against India.
Both the teams are maintaining their momentum and are ready to display their best show at the League ahead.
Speaking ahead of their first clash against Belgium, India Women Team Chief Coach Mathias Ahrens stated, “The team’s aim is a berth in the 2016 Olympic Games. The team has been preparing itself from the Hawke’s Bay Cup 2015, keeping this upcoming FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Final 2015 in mind and the players have improved their skills as well as strategies according to the competition level here. Tomorrow will be a test for the entire team as it will give us a real time analysis of where do we stand and how immediately to plan for the next clashes. The team is confident and are aware that they have to stick to the strategy and keep it simple. The idea will be to not allow pressure to seep in and which gives an edge of reacting in minimal time.”
Commenting on the upcoming tournament, India Women Team Captain Ritu Rani said, “Tomorrow’s clash is very important as a win will boost the confidence level. The focus will only be possession and to not lose control of the ball easily. If we do this I think we create pressure and have our chances to score the crucial goals”
Speaking after a practice session in Belgium, Women Team custodian Savita said, “The penalty corner is a very crucial moment of a match and it is also a tense moment for every player. All the pressure come on the goalkeeper as his or her quick thinking can save a match or lose it. Under the new Chief Coach Mathias Ahrens, we are running the extra-mile to improve our skills in penalty corners. We come before the practice sessions and work extra-hours to strengthen abilities. We have made good progress and getting positive results. If everything goes as per our strategies, we can defend ourselves in penalty corners and concede fewer goals. We are looking forward to the tournament and expect a good start.”
Speaking on the upcoming tournament, Vandana Kataria said “Everyone’s responsibility is defined and we have to stand up to it now. We have to ensure we do not lose possession on the ball easily and if this happens we are aware of our positions while even ensuring we create opportunities for each other for the crucial quick passes. The idea is just not adding to the number of circle penetrations but to see that we hit the target and score the goals”.
Speaking on the most looked after challenge, Lilima said “I think it will be Australia as we had given them a tough time during Hawke’s Bay Cup. We had few clear chances to convert against them, but we were unable to do so. This time around we will aim to turn things in our favour and not leave any chance of capitalising”.
The FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Final 2015 is scheduled from 20th June to 05th July 2015. India will face the host nation Belgium in their opening match of the tournament at 07:30 pm IST on the 20th June 2015. The matches will be telecasted LIVE on Star Sports.
Schedule of Indian Women Hockey Team (Full Schedule):
|20 June 2015||19:30 IST||India||V/S||Belgium|
|23 June 2015||17:30 IST||India||V/S||New Zealand|
|24 June 2015||19:30 IST||India||V/S||Poland|
|27 June 2015||21:30 IST||India||V/S||Australia|