India women gear up for German challenge
Bhubaneswar, Mar 11 (UNI): After the two-leg contest against Spain, the India women’s hockey team will square off against Germany in the FIH Pro League matches scheduled to take place on March 12 and 13 at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium here in Odisha.
India last played against Germany at the Tokyo Olympics where they suffered a 0-2 defeat in the Pool A match. The two teams have faced off against each other five times since 2006, and India have won only once. “Since we have started playing against stronger teams, we have learned the importance of mental strength. It is a skill as important as your skills with a hockey stick. How we adapt to pressure situations can determine the results,” Savita said in the pre-match virtual press conference.
“We are happy to be given opportunities to face off against a strong team such as Germany and we hope we can showcase the strength that we have worked on in the training. We made a few mistakes in the second game against Spain and we have worked on it. Germany have a very strong defence, so we have planned to create attacking opportunities. Our strength has always been attacking hockey, so we worked a lot on taking penalty corners and defending penalty them,” she added.
Germany will be playing their first Pro League match since losing both their matches against Belgium last year in October. On being asked about the team’s preparation for games against India, Germany head coach Akim Bouchouchi said: “After the games against Belgium, we had a break. In Germany, we play indoor hockey. Most of our players played for their clubs in their own leagues. We had one camp in Valencia for preparation and now we are here for four-five days in India to acclimatize ourselves to warm weather. This has been our preparation and we are ready for the contest.”
Germany Captain Lisa Nolte said: “Indian girls are very fast and they have good skills. The weather is so hot and could be an advantage for the Indian girls. But we are optimistic we will handle the pressure and hopefully deliver a good performance.”