Indian Women’s Hockey team finished in a lowly ninth position at the FIH Women’s World Cup in Spain and Netherlands. Expectations were pretty high from the Savita Punia-led team after a fourth-place finish at the Tokyo Olympics last year. However, the Women in Blue could not convert their performance as they even failed to make it to the quarterfinals.
India’s low conversion rate in terms of scoring goals through penalty corners hurt them the most. Statistics show that India could only convert four out of the 43 opportunities they got over six games. Despite having a penalty corner expert in Gurjit Kaur and experimenting with players like Monika and Deep Grace Ekka, India struggled badly.
The worst was against group toppers New Zealand when India converted only one out of the 13 chances they got and then went down 3-4 suffering a big blow to their qualifying hopes. Talking about the same, coach Janneke Schopman has explained why did it happen and also asked the players to not repeat those mistakes at the Birmingham Games. Schopman pointed out that players failed to adapt to the relatively new conditions.
“Our performance in the World Cup was not good enough in terms of outcome. We created a lot of penalty corners which is good, but executing was not right,” the Dutchwoman said a day after the team’s arrival here. “There are many reasons for that. We struggled with our injections. It’s a different field than we typically train on. I don’t think we adapted that well. It has to do with perfecting your execution which we will look to focus on in the next couple of weeks.”
“As with every skill, it’s about a multitude of things. We did focus on these areas already, it’s about fine-tuning it individually.” “We’re on the right track”
Teams prefer to play more defensively now against us: Janneke Schopman
The Dutchwoman also pointed out the change in perspective of big teams toward India and said that teams prefer a defensive approach now against India. “You see a small transition happening when we play teams now that these teams prefer to play more defensively than in the past where we played more defensively, while other teams would attack,” said Schopman.
“If you see China, England, and Canada, These teams were happily just defending. As a team, we have to get used to it mentally that we have less space to attack. We have to learn how we can do more with the ball. Overall, the tournament has shown us that we are on the right path but now fine-tune our skills in relation to how other teams approach us,” she added.