A day after the Indian women’s hockey team came up with a thrilling 2-1 win over the Netherlands, they wend down fighting 1-3 in the shootout of their second match against the World No 1 team in the FIH Pro League double-header at the Kalinga Stadium on Saturday. The tiebreaker was in order after both teams finished regulation time at 1-1.
Reflecting on the game, the Indian team coach Janneke Schopman said that despite putting pressure on the opponent, the team neglected to create more outcomes.
“I think we played well for most of the game. In the first three quarters, we put a lot of pressure on them, but we neglected to create more outcomes. We little bit rushed in the end phase, and unfortunately, we didn’t score PCs today. And, in the fourth quarter, we lacked a little bit composure and lost the ball towards them,” Janneke said after the match.
The Indian team captain Savita Punia added: “They played well as compared to last game. Both the teams got many chances. It was a tight game and I think we couldn’t convert our chances. And, in shootouts, it is always 50-50, but I think it’s a part of the learning process.”
The Indians were awarded six points due to the cancellation of the double-header against England, which was initially scheduled April 2-3. The English team had to cancel their travel plans due to a high number of Covid-19 cases and injuries affecting the team. With these six points and a point earned from the second match against the Netherlands, India have climbed to the top of the FIH Hockey Pro League 2021/22 table with 22 points.
Speaking about the home leg of their Pro League campaign, Schopman said, “We want to grow and I am not necessarily looking at other teams. I am looking at ourselves. And, if we look at the initial games we played against China in Oman and then here against Spain, I think we made a lot of steps. We did a lot of things better as compared to initial matches, but still lots to learn, lots to improve.”
“I am quite happy with how we’ve grown in managing the game, understanding and the awareness of what we need to do and when we want to do, so this was great for us to play these home games and learn from them,” she added.
With 82 days to go for the FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup 2022, Savita said that the Pro League experience is helping the team prepare for the marquee event.
“We’ve played our Pro League matches against quality teams, and it’s been great learning for us. It is really helping us prepare for the upcoming tournaments, especially the World Cup,” she added.