India in tough Pool B along with England, New Zealand and China for Women's Hockey World Cup
New Delhi, February 21, 2022
India has been placed in tough Pool B along with England, New Zealand and China for the Women's Hockey World Cup to be played in Spain and the Netherlands from July 1.
World Champions Netherlands are grouped in Pool A with Germany, Ireland and Chile. Pool C consists of Spain , Argentina, Korea and Canada and Pool D comprises Australia, Belgium, Japan and South Africa.
India qualified for the World Cup after finishing third in the Asia Cup in Muscat.
"It is a tough pool with England (World No. 3) and New Zealand (World No. 8) who are ranked above us and China can always spring a surprise," said goalkeeper Savita.
"As a team, we have always believed we need to focus on ourselves and not what the opponent can do. But now that we know who we play in the pool stage, we can plan our preparations accordingly and we look forward to the challenge," she told Hockey India.
Savita, however, exuded confidence that the upcoming FIH Pro League matches will help them prepare well for the World Cup in July. "We play England at home in the Pro League matches in April and we have already played China. I believe playing other top teams like Belgium, Argentina etc will definitely benefit us in our preparations," she said.
India made it to the top eight for the first time in the previous edition of the World Cup when they drew 1-1 with England, lost 0-1 to Ireland and drew 1-1 against USA in the group stage.
"It was a very good tournament for us and it inculcated a great sense of self-belief. Draw against England in their home ground was quite significant for us in 2018 and we came very close to beating Ireland in the quarter-final but ended up losing in the shootout after a 0-0 draw.
"With the experience we have had over the past three-four years, particularly in big events like the Olympic Games in Tokyo, I feel we are better prepared mentally to do well this time at the World Cup," she added.