FIH Women’s Olympic Qualifiers: I couldn’t ask more from the girls, says India coach Schopman after defeat against Germany

India was trailing by one goal when Ishika Chaudhary brought the team back into the game with a strike in the 59th minute to make it 2-2 at the full time.

Published : Jan 18, 2024 23:03 IST , RANCHI - 2 MINS READ

Indian women’s hockey team head coach Janneke Schopman.
Indian women’s hockey team head coach Janneke Schopman. | Photo Credit: PTI

Indian women’s hockey team head coach Janneke Schopman. | Photo Credit: PTI

After the loss to Germany in a penalty shootout in the semifinals of the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers here, India will have one final chance of qualifying for the Paris Olympics when it takes on Japan in the bronze medal-match on Friday.

India faced Japan three times last year. After the 2-1 win in the Asian Games bronze medal-match in Hangzhou, India also defeated Jude Menezes’ team in the group stage (2-1) as well as the final (4-0) of the Asian Champions Trophy at the Marang Gomke Jaipal Singh AstroTurf Stadium, the same venue where the Olympic qualifiers are being held. However, Indian coach Janneke Schopman admitted that those results did not matter going into Friday’s contest. “You can look at it (the recent results) in 100 million ways. For me, it’s just a separate game. What happened in the past happened in the past. Japan is here. We’re here,” said Schopman after the defeat against Germany.

“We know Japan well. We’ll go back to the drawing boards to make a plan for the Japan game, making sure that we can execute our press and move the ball. Today we struggled a little bit at times and got ourselves back at the end of the fourth quarter,” she added.

Match report | India loses to Germany in penalty shootout, to face Japan for Paris 2024 quota

Against Germany, India took the lead after Deepika converted a Penalty Corner in the 15th minute. Charlotte Stapenhorst scored twice (27th and 57th minute) to put Germany ahead but Ishika Chaudhary brought India back with a strike in the 59th minute. India and Germany were level at 3-3 in the shootout before Sonika failed to score in sudden death and Lisa Nolte put the ball through Savita Punia’s legs to win the match for her team.

Schopman felt India gave its best. “The game went as well as it could have. We could have done some things better, maybe score an extra goal. Everyone always complains about the penalty corners and today, it was two out of three. I couldn’t ask more from the girls. We fought the fight, and, in the end, we were just unlucky,” said Schopman.

“We still have a chance. Of course, we wanted to qualify today. We tried our best. If you concede a goal against Germany three minutes before the end of the game, everyone thinks it’s game over, but this is India for you. We kept fighting and rightfully scored the equaliser,” added the 46-year-old.

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