Tokyo: After a fantastic display of skill and tenacity during 1-0 win over mighty Australia, the Indian women’s hockey team now firmly set its sights on the all-important semifinal encounter against Argentina on Wednesday. Much like the Indian team, Argentina has also gone from strength to strength in the competition, securing a semifinal berth after a convincing 3-0 victory against Germany in the quarterfinal on Monday.
Led by Rani Rampal, the Indian team will count on their recent experience of playing against the Argentinians during their extensive tour of Argentina in January this year.
Speaking ahead of the encounter, the Indian captain Rani said, “We were extremely happy with our team performance against Australia, who are a world class hockey team. However, there is not much time to look back, and our focus is fully on the semifinal against Argentina. At this stage of the competition, matches do not get any easier, and we are going to give everything we have on the field.”
Rani alluded to the Indian Women’s Hockey Team’s recent tour of Argentina as one of the factors that could play a role heading into the match. She said, “Both teams will be relatively familiar with each other’s style of play as we faced each other in a few matches earlier in the year.
“Having said that, an Olympic semifinal is a completely different equation, and no tour game can recreate the same kind of intensity and atmosphere. This is surely the toughest test that our team will face. We are feeling confident about our games and have the necessary self-belief to put our best foot forward.”
Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne expressed that the Indian team will be focussing on the task and staying in the moment in their semifinal match.
“Argentina is a hard team to beat. Their defence is very strong. We have to convert our goal-scoring opportunities like we converted the penalty corner against Australia. I have told all the girls again that it’s about putting all the energy you have in the match,” he said.