India eves to meet Ireland in must-win WC game

By Agency Published on Jul 26, 2018 05:07 PM IST

London: After a valiant start to its women’s hockey World Cup campaign, Rani Rampal-led India will take on Ireland in a must-win second Pool B match here on Thursday.

India had enjoyed an excellent start to its campaign, holding World No. 2 England to a 1-1 draw on Saturday. The Indians could have stunned the Olympic Champion as they had taken the lead in the second quarter. They maintained the lead for most of the second half before the host scored a late equaliser.

Though India settled for a draw, skipper Rani is happy with her team’s performance as it held its own in front of a packed stadium cheering for the home team.

"I think it was a great match, a good start for us. There are so many positives that we can draw from that match which will help us in the upcoming matches in the tournament. I don’t think we are surprised with our performance because we have done well against England in the past and this time we went for a win," Rani said.

Rani further added that the team watched the videos from its opening match and is better prepared for the next challenge against Ireland.

"The entire team including support staff sat down for a meeting after the match to discuss our performance. We also discussed the goal we conceded and how we could have averted it. Our team feels we can do better than what we played against England and the aim is to improve match by match."

The Indians - who are placed 10th in the world rankings - will need to produce a similar performance against Ireland as a defeat or a draw will complicate things for them. In such a scenario, the Indians will have to beat the US by a healthy margin and hope for a favourable result from the clash between England and Ireland.