India play Dutch in Women’s Hockey WC
Rosario: Ranked lowest among the 12 participating teams, India would look to score some upset victories and show that they are no pushovers in the Women’s Hockey World Cup as they start their campaign against mighty Netherlands here on Monday.
India, who finished 11th out of 12 countries in the last edition in Spain in 2006, are coming into the tournament with their confidence high after beating China for the bronze medal in the Asian Champions Trophy in Busan, South Korea last month.
India had beaten world number three and Olympic silver medallist China 2-1 in Busan despite playing that tournament in the backdrop of a sex scandal involving their former coach M K Kaushik.
The Surinder Kaur-led side, ranked 13th in the FIH chart, are coming into the World Cup without a head coach after the sacking of Kaushik and they are placed in a tough Group A.
India have nothing to lose tomorrow against defending champions the Netherlands as the Dutch are the overwhelming favourites to win.
They would be happy if they snatch a draw tomorrow.
But for that to happen, experienced captain Surinder Kaur, veteran players Saba Anjum and Subhadra Pradhan will have to click.
India also possess some exciting youngsters including 15-year-old Rani Rampal, who has already collected over 45 senior international caps in her fledgling career.
World number one and Olympic champions the Netherlands are the favourites to defend the title that they had won in Madrid four years ago though they finished second behind Argentina at the recent Champions Trophy in Nottingham, England.
Led by the experienced Janneke Schopman, the Dutch have some of the superstars of the world game, including penalty corner queen Maartje Paumen and midfielder Naomi van As, who is the current World Hockey Player of the Year.
For India, the build up to the tournament has been marred by a sex scandal involving Kaushik.
The scandal led to the resignation of Kaushik following which four coaches -- Sandeep Somesh, Khalid Modi, Sandeep Kaur and Pritam Siwach -- have been appointed to guide the team in Argentina.
Hockey India said that it was not expecting any miracle from the team in Argentina as it is participating the tournament without a chief coach.
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