London: Bolstered by the campaign-saving draw against a mighty USA, the Indian women’s hockey team will fancy its chances against lower-ranked Italy in the cross-over World Cup match here, Tuesday.
Ranked 10th, India will start as overwhelming favourites against 17th ranked Italy in the crucial knock-out match, where a win will pit them against Ireland in the quarterfinals, Thursday.
While India had to fight their way into the knock-out round from Pool B after registering two draws against England and USA and a loss to Ireland, Italy easily scrapped past China (3-0) and Korea (1-0) before slumping to a heavy 1-12 loss to Netherlands in their last match to finish second in Pool A.
But going into the game the momentum surely would be on India’s side and it would also be difficult for Italy to bounce back from the morale-shattering loss against the Dutch.
Italy are a good team and they have enjoyed good wins in this tournament too. But we need to go into the match with the self-belief that we can beat them
Under pressure, the Indians, on the other hand, produced a spirited performance against USA to come out of a difficult situation and salvage their World Cup campaign. The match would come as an added motivation for the Indians as a win would provide them an opportunity to avenge their 0-1 loss to Ireland in the pool stages.
Experienced India captain Rani knows what it takes to win such crucial matches and said they need to go full throttle. “We need to just focus on ourselves, build on our strength and ensure we use our positive points in the match against Italy. There is no doubt we need to go all-out in this crucial crossover match if we want to see ourselves in the quarterfinal,” said Rani whose goal against USA enables India to finish third in Pool B.