Captain Savita promises better showing against England in India's opening match in World Cup
New Delhi, July 2, 2022
Ace goalkeeper and captain Savita on Saturday promised a better showing by the Indian Women team against England in their first pool B match at the FIH Women's Hockey World Cup at Amstelveen in the Netherlands on Sunday.
Talking to Hockey India at Amstelveen, Savita said, "Even though as a team, we would be focused on our own performance, England and India have faced off in some very close encounters and undoubtedly a rivalry has developed over the past three-four years in particular."
"Some of our players want to challenge their goalkeeper Maddie Hinge, who has been quite exceptional at the goalpost. And they also have some very experienced players like Laura Unsworth, Giselle Ansley, their Captain Hollie Pearne-Webb and Lily Owsley who will bring their 'A' game against us," Savita said
The two teams have shared an exciting rivalry with encounters going down to the wire on most occasions.
Though at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, it was Great Britain that India lost a bronze medal to by a narrow 4-3 margin, many players from that GB squad will take on India as they represent England on Sunday.
At the previous edition of the World Cup held in London in 2018, India matched the performance of England with a 1-1 draw in the round robin league match. Earlier that year, India had beaten England 2-1 in the group stage at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia but had lost to them in the bronze medal match.
These two teams have gone neck-and -neck in the 2006 World Cup where they drew 1-1 as well as the 2002 Champions Challenge 3-3. India had lost 0-1 in the 1998 Women's World Cup group match.
The teams were scheduled to play a double-header game in FIH Hockey Pro League earlier this year which would have given insights into their game, but the match was cancelled.
However, Savita was optimistic about their chances at the prestigious World Cup. "Yes, a match against them would have been ideal in the lead up to the World Cup but we can't be too bothered about what has happened in the past. "
"The only aim for us right now is to get on to a good start in the tournament and the team is 100 per cent ready," she said
Savita urged the Indian fans to back them in their campaign for a maiden World Cup medal. "There is a big Indian community in the Netherlands and we are expecting many of them will turn up for the matches. We saw many of them come support us in Rotterdam during the Pro League matches and definitely fans' support will motivate us even more," she added.
In their second match they will play China on July 5 followed by a match against New Zealand on July 7 in Amstelveen.