SHARED UPDATED: JULY 20, 2018 21:29 IST
The team hopes to carry CWG momentum into its opener
An upbeat Indian team is set to take on hosts England in its opening match of the Women’s Hockey World Cup here on Saturday.
Grouped in Pool B, India will take on World No. 16 Ireland on July 26 followed by World No. 7 USA on July 29, apart from facing the Olympic champions in their home ground on the opening day of the prestigious tournament.
“The pressure will be on England and not on us,” said India team skipper Rani on the eve of the match.
“Yes they will have the home ground advantage but we are not new to playing in front of big crowds. We have done well against England before and we will carry the confidence of doing well in our recent tournaments including the CWG where we had tasted victory against England in the Group Stage in Gold Coast,” she added.
India’s previous appearance at the FIH World Cup was in 2010 when the event was held in Argentina. Rani then was the cynosure of India’s ninth-place performance as she had scored seven goals for the team during the course of the tournament.
While there will be a lot riding on Rani during this edition too, she has a unit that has dished out confidence-inspiring performance over the past two years where India even climbed to a career-best ranking of World No. 10.
“The team, especially the forward-line, does not depend on Rani alone any more. We have young strikers including the experience of Vandana Katariya with 200 plus international caps,” chief coach Sjoerd Marijne said.
After having arrived in London a week prior to the start of the tournament, the Indian team has had good training sessions at the event venue Lee Valley Hockey and tennis stadium, including two practice matches against Australia and Belgium.