After the gritty 0-1 loss to Australia in the semi-finals, Rani Rampal and her team will look to beat England and clinch bronze at the Gold Coast Hockey Centre on Saturday.
England’s a familiar opponent. So, the Indian girls know what it takes to beat them and they have beaten them in the group stages. That was, however, an upset. Pulling off an upset twice, against the same team, with a medal at stake will be tough.
But Rani and the rest of the girls will be up for it. They created several opportunities that tested the impenetrable Australian defence, especially in the last 10 minutes of the match wherein Navneet Kaur and Rani came alarmingly close to scoring a dramatic equaliser for the women in blue.
Coach Harendra Singh, in hindsight, would’ve felt that his team could have started attacking earlier. For the most part of the first three quarters, India let Australia dictate the pace.
The Indian defenders, however, did a remarkable job, conceding just one goal in the five field goal opportunities that Australia created. All three of the Hockeyroos’ penalty corners, they foiled.
But that one goal from Grace Stewart’s stick was enough for Australia to enter the final.
“We are all very disappointed that we could not qualify for the gold medal match because it was our target for the Commonwealth Games,” said Rani after the game. “But my team can take the positives from their performance against a strong Australian side who were playing in front of their home crowd.”
“I felt we had our chances in the match, but we didn’t manage to convert them. However, we need to keep our chins up as we have an important match ahead of us against England. The bronze medal match gives us the opportunity to end our campaign on a good note and prepare for the future tournaments with confidence in ourselves,” she added.
But England, too, are nursing a heart-breaking semi-final defeat – they went down 1-2 to New Zealand in the shoot-outs. They, too, would want to return with a bronze.