Welcome to Sportstar’s live coverage of Indian women’s team’s third Tokyo 2020 Olympics hockey game against Great Britain. This is Dominic Richard taking you through the action as it unfurls at the Oi Hockey Stadium on Wednesday.
The team lineups are out!
COACH – Sjoerd Marijne.
GREAT BRITAIN XI:
COACH – Mark Hager.
Enduring a forgettable campaign, the bottom-placed Indian women’s hockey team can’t afford squandering any more chances if it fancies upsetting defending champion Great Britain at the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday.
After a 1-5 drubbing against world number one Netherlands, the Indian players lifted their game by leaps and bounds to give third-ranked Germany a run for its money before losing 0-2 in their next Pool A match. But two consecutive defeats have definitely pegged the side back.
India created a lot of scoring opportunities against Germany but finishing was lacking from the forward line. On one occasion, Vandana Katariya was denied by the goal post too. But not converting the penalty stroke was a huge miss.
However, the Rani Rampal-led side can take a lot of heart from its performance against the Germans given that it kept the intensity and fight intact till the final hooter.
With two defeats from as many games, the Indian women are currently lying at the bottom of the six-team Pool A, which is being headed by Netherlands, followed by Germany, Great Britain, Ireland and South Africa.
While Ireland has recorded a win in two games, both South Africa and India are winless but the Africans are ahead on goal difference.
But these are still early days with three matches remaining for all the teams. Top four sides from each pool of six will qualify for the quarterfinals.
India’s chief coach Sjoerd Marijne acknowledges the improvement but said the form needs to continue if his side wants to secure a quarterfinal berth.
“We played better yesterday (against Germany) than our previous match. The quality of the play has to improve with each match, and that’s what we are focusing on,” he noted.
“It was unfortunate that we missed our penalty stroke, but I’m happy we created many opportunities to score, which was a positive sign. We played with a lot of energy and were able to put pressure on Germany.”
Ranked 11th in the world, India stands a chance to make the quarterfinals but for that to happen they will have to outplay seventh-ranked Ireland and South Africa, who are placed 16th.
If they play to their potential and make use of the chances, the Indians can very well beat world number five Great Britain, which so far doesn’t look like the title holder. It has managed a win and a loss in two games.
Great Britain lost 1-2 against Germany before registering a 4-1 win over South Africa in its second match. India captain Rani Rampal too stressed on the need to keep improving in the competition.
“We created a lot of chances against a tough opponent like Germany and our defensive organisation was better than before. We know that we are on the right track and our time will come. We must show our strength and character as a team. This is a long competition,” she said.
“…but we want to focus on our good takeaways from our previous match and identify the areas where we still need to improve.”
India – Savita Punia, Deep Grace Ekka, Nikki Pradhan, Gurjit Kaur, Udita, Nisha, Neha Goyal, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Monika Malik, Navjot Kaur, Salima Tete, Rani Rampal, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Vandana Katariya, Sharmila Devi.
Great Britain – Giselle Ansley, Grace Balsdon, Fiona Crackles, Maddie Hinch, Sarah Jones, Hannah Martin, Shona McCallin, Lily Owsley, Hollie Pearne-Webb, Izzy Petter, Ellie Rayer, Sarah Robertson, Anna Toman, Susannah Townsend, Laura Unsworth, Leah Wilkinson.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs):
- At what time will the Indian women’s hockey team be in action?
The hockey game against Great Britain will start today at 6:30 AM IST (10 AM local time).
- Where to watch Indian events at Tokyo Olympics?
The Sony Sports Network will broadcast Tokyo Olympics live in India.
Sony TEN 3 HD/SD will telecast India’s events with Hindi commentary, while Sony TEN 1 HD/SD and Sony TEN 2 HD/SD will have English commentary.
Live streaming of the events will be available on the SonyLIV and JioTV apps.