Hiroshima: After remaining unbeaten in the Pool stages, the Indian Women’s Hockey Team will look to secure their berth in the FIH Olympic Qualifiers 2019 as they face Chile in the Semi-Final on Saturday.
The World No. 9 Indian team are the top-ranked team taking part in the tournament, and secured their place in the Semi-Finals through convincing victories in their Pool A matches against Uruguay (4-1), Poland (5-0) and Fiji (10-0).
The Indian team was struck by the news of the demise of Forward Lalremsiami’s father on Friday morning. Captain Rani said that the team is behind the young Forward, and is determined to win the tournament.
“It is obviously the toughest moment for Lalremsiami, but all of us in the team are doing our best to support her. It is difficult, but we have to deal with this as a team and as a family. The team and support staff are there to support her in this difficult moment,” said Rani.
“Our aim has always been to be on the path to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics 2020. But this news makes us more determined to win the match tomorrow, and win the tournament for her and her father,” added the 24-year-old skipper.
Speaking on their opponents Chile, who are ranked No. 16 in the FIH World Rankings, Rani said that the South American outfit has been tested more in the tournament so India will need to start well in the match.
“We are well aware of the threat that Chile carry. They have been tested more in this tournament so far, and we need to make sure that we are on the top of our game from the start of the match. We have had three days’ rest and we have utilized the time to have some hard training sessions to stay in the rhythm of playing. We cannot underestimate our opponents, and will make sure that we produce a performance worthy of victory,” said Rani.
Chile, who were placed in Pool B, made their way to the Semi-Final with a 5-2 victory in their Cross-over match against Uruguay. The team from South America finished second in their Pool with a tally of six points, behind leaders Russia only on goal difference. The World No. 16 team started the tournament with an impressive 7-0 victory against Mexico in their opening match, and then went on to defeat Japan 3-1 in their second match. However, a 2-5 loss to Russia in their last Pool match saw Chile finish second in the Pool Standings.
On the other hand, the Indian team has impressed both in front of goal and in defense in this tournament, as they have scored a total of 19 goals in their three matches, and have only conceded once. Meanwhile, Chile have also managed to score 17 goals in their four matches, but have also conceded six goals.
In the four previous meetings between the two sides, India hold the advantage with three victories to their name and one match being a draw. The last of India’s three wins came in a 1-0 win at the FIH World League Semi-Final (Women) in July 2017.
The Indian Women’s Hockey team will take on Chile in their Semi-Final match on Saturday, 22nd June 2019 at 12.15 hours IST. All matches from the competition will be streamed on FIH.live.