With the Women’s Hockey World Cup all in rage, it is time that we start considering India’s position in the finals. Yes we lost to Ireland in the last match, but that doesn’t mean the chances of entering the quarter finals are bleak. Remember, Ireland was on the second lowest rank and is now one of the first to qualify for the quarter finals. The team ran very fast and is pretty sharp with its trapping, interception and passes. What gave them an edge over Indian team was the hunger to save the day. Rani was pretty confident that they will be able to play in the Indian weather since the Mercury was touching 33 degrees Celsius. It was the ingenious PC routine that caught our team by surprise. Needless to say, McCay was brilliant in her game and her experience proved its worth to her team.
If you have seen the 2018 Women’s Hockey World Cup schedule, we have finally huffed and puffed our way to the next stage in this tournament. But if we have to enter the finals, we cannot afford to lose any more matches. And to accomplish this goal, the Rani Rampal & Co needs to perform an “Italian Job” and send the other team home. The Italian girls have already made their mark in last 42 years of the women’s hockey world cup. Skipper Chiara Tiddi won’t have believed that the team would finally reach the knockout stage. But that happened. The 1-1 draw against USA played in India’s favor granting it third position in Pool B and keeping it alive.
So far, India’s journey in the world cup has been that of a butterfly that is trying to flutter its way out of cocoon. It made an impressive beginning by defying England with a 1-1 draw but soon realized the reality when a giant underdog pushed it into the corner. Ireland left a bitter taste in Indians mouth, we are all still trying to get over it.
The prime similarity between Italy and India is that both have an upper hand when it comes to defense. The Italian chicks well surprised China and Korea with rapid turnovers, something that India needs to be prepared for. Our goalkeepers, Deepika, Sunita Lakra, and Savita will be crucial in this respect.
The Indian Women’s Hockey World Cup Team is a unique one and its prime strength comes to play when it scores early. But if a draw comes post conceding a goal like it did with USA, it will create an issue. There are a number of current players in the team who admit that we will easily defeat Italy if they are able to score early. Penalty corners will be key in this respect. Till now, India has scored just 1/13 that is quite embarrassing. Our only lone drag flicker, Gurjit Kaur, is still out of form and Rani had to work up against USA to get that all-crucial equalizer. Against USA, we played like the team that won all hearts during the Commonwealth. There was much more energy and a hunger to give purpose to India’s movement and play.
Just like all other tournaments, the history proves that rankings aren’t mark of any team’s weakness or strength. What matters is how we will be executing the plan on the final day. It is high time, that India learns to do that as well.