FIH Women’s Pro League: USA test for confident India

The Indians, led by Savita Punia, will look to utilise their last FIH Pro League double-header tie against USA to address its weak areas ahead of the World Cup.

Savita Punia has defended with alacrity in the FIH Women's Pro League. She says the build-up for the World Cup has been great. - HOCKEY INDIA

The Indian women’s hockey team will look to utilise its last FIH Pro League double-header tie against USA to address its weak areas ahead of the World Cup beginning on July 1.

India plays USA on Tuesday and Wednesday in Rotterdam.

The team produced a remarkable performance in its debut FIH Pro League season, occupying the third spot with 24 points from 14 games, behind Netherlands (32 points from 14 matches) and Argentina, which has already clinched the title with 42 points from 16 games. Belgium is close on the heels of India with 22 points from 14 matches and India, led by Savita Punia, will be hoping to sign off with two wins to finish third.

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“For us, the most important thing is that we could execute our plans and put up an improved performance over the weekend against Argentina. However, we could have done better, but I feel these matches are a confidence booster for us ahead of the World Cup,” Savita said.

“There is still room for improvement for us and we look forward to plugging the loopholes in the matches against the USA. We've gained good momentum and hopefully, we will finish our debut Pro League campaign with good results,” she added.

‘Confident of positive results’

Savita said the team is shaping up well for the quadrennial tournament.

“We are glad that we have got a good opportunity of playing in Europe just a few days ahead of the World Cup, so the build-up towards the big event has been really great. The team is shaping up really well for the World Cup.”

India vice-captain Deep Grace Ekka said the team was confident of outclassing USA, which lies at the bottom of the FIH Pro League standings with just five points from 12 games. “The matches were really tough against Argentina, but we are glad that we stuck to the plans and did really well against a strong team. We are looking forward to the last set of matches of our memorable Pro League campaign. We are confident of getting positive results against the USA,” she said.

In the World Cup, the Indian women's hockey team is placed in Pool B along with England, China and New Zealand. India will kick off its campaign against England on July 3 in Amstelveen, Netherlands.

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