On a roll with three consecutive wins, a assured Indian girls’s hockey workforce would look to protect towards complacency when it takes on lower-ranked Eire within the semifinal of the FIH Nations Cup right here on Friday.
The Savita Punia-led workforce has been unbeaten within the event up to now with wins over Chile (3-1), Japan (2-1) and South Africa (2-0) to high Pool B.
Regardless of that, the Janneke Schopman-coached workforce has been removed from convincing within the division of penalty nook conversion, which nonetheless remained its largest concern.
On the idea of world rating, quantity eight India will begin as favourites towards Eire (world no. 13) nevertheless it wouldn’t be that straightforward to beat the Europeans who had completed second in pool A.
The Indians have been spectacular within the midfield and forwardline with the likes of Salima Tete, Sonika, Navneet Kaur, Navjot Kaur, Vandana Katariya, younger Magnificence Dungdung residing as much as the expectations.
However, the defence has been cagey on events with Deep Grace Ekka and Gurjit Kaur searching of types when put below strain.
Skilled goalkeeper Savita got here to India’s rescue on quite a few events together with her good anticipations and reflexes to maintain the profitable run intact.
And are available Friday, the Indians should be at their greatest, proceed the profitable momentum and seal a spot within the last.
Penalty nook conversion has been India’s perennial downside and it was on full show within the event up to now.
Towards Japan in its penultimate pool match, India secured as many as 9 penalty corners however did not make use of even one. Within the first two pool matches, India’s all 5 targets got here from subject efforts however towards South Africa each their targets got here via penalty corners with vice-captain Deep Grace and Gurjit discovering the goal within the last minute of the primary and last quarters respectively.
This could come as welcome reduction for chief coach Schopman however she could be a little bit involved concerning the lack of initiative from her forwardline.
Within the different semifinal, hosts Spain will tackle Japan. The eight-team event is essential for India because it brings in a system of promotion-relegation, the place the champions can be promoted to the 2023-24 FIH Hockey Girls’s Professional League, a key occasion forward of subsequent yr’s Asian Video games and 2024 Paris Olympics.