Olympic Women's Hockey: Fully focused on semi-final against Argentina, says Rani Rampaul
New Delhi, August 3, 2021
A cautious but determined Rani Rampaul-led Indian team will take on Argentina in the all-important semi-fnal encounter of the Olympic women's hockey competition in Tokyo on Wednesday.
No doubt, the Indian women will count on their recent experience of playing against the Argentinians during their tour of that country in January.
“We were extremely happy with our team's performance against Australia, who are a world class hockey team. However, there is not much time to look back, and our focus is fully on the semi-final against Argentina," Rani said on the eve of the match.
"At this stage of the competition, matches do not get any easier, and we are going to give everything we have on the field," she said.
Recalling her team's tour of Argentina in January this year, she said, “Both teams are relatively familiar with each other’s style of play as we faced each other in a few matches earlier in the year.
'Having said that, an Olympic semi-final is a completely different equation, and no tour game can recreate the same kind of intensity and atmosphere. This is surely the toughest test that our team will face. We are feeling confident about our games and have the necessary self-belief to put our best foot forward,” she said.
Coach Sjoerd Marijne was of the view that players should focus on the task and stay in the moment in their semi-final match.
"It will be a difficult match for us, I think Argentina is a good team. We played them in January and we know that Argentina is a hard team to beat. Their defence is very strong," he said.
"We have to convert our goal-scoring opportunities like we converted the penalty corner against Australia. It's all about focusing on the task and staying in the moment and being busy with what we have to do well ourselves. I have told all the girls again that it's about putting all the energy you have in the match," he added.
The Indian girls gave a superb display of skill and tenacity during their 1-0 victory over Australia in the quarter-final on Monday, and the coach was hopeful that they have it in them to repeat the showing against Argentina.