FIH Women's Hockey World Cup: India To Open Campaign vs England On July 3
FIH Women's Hockey World Cup: Placed in Pool B, India will open their campaign against England on July 3.
India will open its campaign in this year's FIH Women's Hockey World Cup against England on July 3, two days after the marquee tournament opens in Spain and the Netherlands. The schedule was announced by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Tuesday. Placed in Pool B, India will next face China on July 5 and New Zealand on July 7. India will play all their pool matches at the Wagener Hockey Stadium in Amstelveen, Netherlands in the event to be held from July 1 to 17.
Soon after the schedule was made public, India women's team halfback Sushila Chanu said the team won't be intimidated by any opposition.
"It does not matter against which opponents we start our campaign. We are not afraid as our mentality and our mindset is to take each game as it comes and try and win every match," Chanu said in a virtual press conference.
"We have faced China recently in Muscat, Oman, in the Women's Hockey Asia Cup 2022, and in the FIH Hockey Pro League 2021/22. And so it will be an advantage for us," she asserted.
"We will be playing the FIH Hockey Pro League 2021/22 matches against England next month. We had last played New Zealand in 2020. So we know these teams quite well and we know how we have to prepare for the upcoming challenges." India played Spain in the double-leg FIH Pro League at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar over the past weekend, where they won the first match 2-1 before losing 3-4 in the next game.
India forward Navneet Kaur said the team has gained confidence in the past couple of years because of constantly facing higher-ranked opponents.
"Around 2-3 years ago, there used to be a concern in the team before facing stronger opponents. But now, there is no fear in our team and we feel we are ready to face every challenge.
"Even if an opponent scores the first goal, we know we have the capability and skills to get things back in our favour," Navneet said.
"Our team has developed a fighting spirit over the past couple of years. This has worked really well for us," she added.
In the FIH Pro League, India will next play Germany on March 12 and 13.
"We have faced off against Germany last year. So, we will definitely take a look back at videos of those matches to recognise what are our stronger areas, and what areas we have to improve upon when we face them again," Navneet said.