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Women's hockey world cup: India eye win against New Zealand for quarterfinals spot

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Amstelveen (Netherlands), July 6 (Ajit Weekly News) The Indian women’s hockey team put up a spirited fight in their second match of the FIH Women’s Hockey World Cup 2022 as they drew 1-1 against Asian rivals China at the packed Wagener Hockey Stadium here.

A goal from Vandana Katariya in the 45th minute of the match helped the Indian team in picking up a point after Jiali Zheng had opened the scoring for China in the 26th minute.

India will next face off against New Zealand in their third Pool B game on Thursday. It will be a must-win contest for the Indian Women’s Hockey Team to make it to the quarterfinals.

India and New Zealand will be meeting each other for the first time in five years. The two teams last faced off against each other in May 2017, when India had travelled to New Zealand for Test matches. In the five games played between the two teams in the tournament, India were unable to pick a win.

New Zealand are currently sitting on top of the Pool B table with four points in two games, having drawn 2-2 against China, and picking a 3-1 win over England.

Speaking on their upcoming match against New Zealand, Ekka said, “New Zealand have been in good form in this tournament so far. We will be watching videos to study the opposition and we hope to be prepared going into the contest. It will be a tough game, but we hope we can get a win in our corner to climb up in the pool table.”

Coach Janneke said that the New Zealand will be a tough opposition, and gave a glimpse on the team’s strategies going into the match.

“New Zealand will be a tough team to play again. They are very dangerous in their counterattack and we will have to be ready for that, on the ball we have to play to our strengths,” she concluded.

Reflecting on the performance against China, Indian Women’s Hockey Team Chief Coach Janneke Schopman said, “I thought we started well against a tight Chinese defense. We were unlucky to not score early on and one moment of not paying attention defensively resulted in us conceding a goal. After that we struggled for a bit but when we found the space, we were able to play some good combinations.”

“The PC goal was great but felt like we forgot to push through after that with China being more aggressive in the end phase. We are where we are but obviously, we would have liked to have more points. Our pool is incredibly tough and small things will make the difference,” she added.

Vice-Captain Deep Grace Ekka, who played a key role in the defence in the match on Tuesday, said, “We expected China to put up a strong fight, having played them a couple of times in the last few months. But I am glad that our team fought till the end, and managed to get a goal back to draw the match against a strong defensive unit. We need to convert more chances, but we are glad to get another important point from the match.”

–Ajit Weekly News

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