Terrassa (Spain), July 9 (IANS) India women’s hockey captain Savita has said that while the pool matches might not have gone in the side’s favour in the FIH Women’s Hockey World Cup, the fact that the team was still alive in the competition was all that mattered right now.
After finishing third in Pool B, the India team will take on hosts Spain in the crossover match on Sunday for a place in the quarterfinal.
On the eve of the do-or-die match, Savita said, “We knew the pool matches were going to be really tough. We fought hard and never gave up, but it’s just that the results haven’t been in our favour. However, we should quickly put it behind us, and focus on what’s next. We are still in contention and will give our everything to qualify for the quarterfinals.”
The India team played out two thrilling draws against England (1-1) and China (1-1) respectively, before suffering a 3-4 loss against New Zealand in the pool stage of the tournament.
India vice-captain Deep Grace Ekka stressed on the need to make further improvements.
“I think we could have played a lot better in the three matches we played. We created many chances in the pool stage, especially in the last game, but our (penalty corner) conversion was not up to the mark. So, we certainly have to improve on our conversion, we have to be more clinical. At the end, it’s all about converting those opportunities,” she stated.
The home side, Spain, registered two wins and a loss in the pool stage. They started their campaign with a 4-1 win against Canada but lost 1-4 to Argentina in their second match. However, they bounced back with a 4-1 victory over South Korea to finish second in Pool C.
The last time India and Spain faced each other was during the FIH Hockey Pro League 2021/22, where both teams shared the honours. India won the first match 2-1, while Spain responded with a 4-3 win in the second leg of the double-header held in Bhubaneswar, Odisha earlier this year.
“Spain are a very good team and they are playing at their home so it will be a challenging match,” said Savita.
“However, we have played against them in the Pro League this year, so we are quite familiar with how they have been playing in recent times. But, the focus tomorrow will be on ourselves, on how we execute our plans. We will have to play our A-game against them for sure,” added Savita.
Ekka said the team will go into the game without putting too much pressure and their focus will be on playing good hockey.
“We have got a great opportunity to qualify for the quarterfinals and carry forward the momentum from there. However, we will go into the game without putting too much pressure. We just need to play to our strengths and just focus on playing good hockey because eventually, that will help us get the desired results,” said Ekka.