Sonika believes in India's performance in the game against Argentina The FIH Pro Hockey League
The Indian Women's Hockey Team lost 5-1 to the host Belgium during the 2nd game of the FIH Hockey Pro League 2021/22 match in the Sportcentrum Wilrijkse Plein in Antwerp on Saturday. Barbara Nelen (2'), Charlotte Englebert (4'), Abi Raye (19'), Stephanie Vanden Borre (23') and Ambre Ballenghein (36') scored a goal each for Belgium. Belgiun.
The game began in the same way as it did yesterday's the match, starting with Belgian's Barbara Nelen giving the hosts an early advantage in the second minute. India was caught off-guard during the counterattack and left the right flank entirely open to Barbara who slid into the the net from the opposite post. A minute later the hosts increased their lead thanks to Charlotte Englebert.
Belgium almost scored their 3rd goal within the 7th minute but the decision was reversed after India's review, because the Belgian foot-slide was discovered prior to the goal was scored. Belgium continued to heap pressure on India by attacking the Indians but the Indians were Savita who stood her ground and made sure the score was two at the end of the first half.
The hosts capitalized on the momentum and started the second half with an aggressive attitude and held the majority of possession for the first few minutes. A young Indian guardian Bichu Devi who was brought on as a substitute during this period and was called to action from the beginning of the quarter.
During Belgium's offensive and attack, she managed to make several rebound saves, however Abi Raye succeeded in converting the third effort giving her side a 3-0 advantage at the end of 19th minutes. Belgium added another goal through Stephanie Vanden Borre, who was able to convert the penalty Corner at the end of 23 minutes.
The hosts were dominant throughout the game. hosts were awarded a penalty Corner within the 26th minute, however Bichu Devi pulled off a fantastic save to prevent the hosts the chance to score. In the final moments, India earned their first Penalty Corner in the game but they missed the opportunity to convert the opportunity, leaving them 4-0 down at the close of the first period.
India began the third quarter with caution and made a few moves inside the half of their opponents However, Belgium swiftly responded and extended their lead with an incredible strike from Amre Ballenghienin, who scored in the 37th minute. A minute later, India did find the goal through Navneet however, this goal wasn't allowed because Sharmila did not start the game in the correct position after winning the ball after an offence.
An unplanned attack saw India receiving two penalty Corners in the closing seconds of third quarter however, they failed to making their chance count. The first attempt of Gurjit was blocked from the Belgium goalkeeper, and the second attempt made by Monika was off the mark.
The home team was awarded the Penalty Corner in the first minutes of the last quarter However, Monika was able to save the ball in the right corner. The second half of the final period saw the teams battle it out in which both teams attempted to break into each other's attacking circle, showing the ability to attack and defend. India even won an Extra penalty Corner during the final minute of the match. However, Deep Grace Ekka's slap shot was wide and was not able to score which resulted in the score of 0-5.
In the lead-up to the two-legged game against host Belgium, Indian Men's Hockey Team Captain Amit Rohidas said "We've had a successful home leg, and I must say we have gone from strength to strength in the season so far. This will be the most important phase of the FIH Hockey Pro League. We will be facing two strong teams at their home, so it will be challenging. We also got a good amount of time at the National Camp in SAI, Bengaluru to introspect on our performances. From structure to finishing, we've worked on all the aspects of the game. The plan will be to simply repeat what we've done in the training."
In addition, Vice-Captain Harmanpreet declared, "It's been a great season so far. Many young players got a chance to play against top teams and they've grown with each match. We are in a good position, and our focus will be to carry forward the momentum we have gained from the home leg." The last time that both teams played each other was in their Tokyo Olympics 2020 Semi-Final where India was defeated 2-5. Belgium was able to take home gold. Olympic Gold medal.
"Look it was in the past, and this is a different stage. Of course, our aim will be to win both the matches and put ourselves in a strong position in the points table, but for that, we will have to play good hockey. Our focus will be on executing our skills," Amit stated. Belgium remains tied with India on the same points (27 points from 12 matches) however is third in the table of pool players due to having a lower goal difference to India.
"The points table is getting intense, and we've got only four matches left that too against teams like Belgium and Netherlands. This is the challenge we were waiting for. We will go all out against them," said Harmanpreet and is the most prolific goalscorer in the league.
"Obviously, we are excited for this trip as we have been given a great opportunity in the form of FIH Hockey Pro League games to play against some of the top teams in Europe," Captain Savita stated before leaving the club.
"Playing against these teams that are ranked among the top can aid us in preparing to compete in the FIH International Hockey Women's Cup which will be held in July of this year. It's a great way to review our performance and address our weak points," Savita added.
Indian Women's Hockey Team is currently at the third position on the FIH Women's Hockey Pro League table 2021/22 with 22 points from eight games. They are only a few points behind the table's top two teams Argentina (38 points) and the Netherlands (second place 26 points). But they Indian team has played fewer matches in comparison to Argentina or the Netherlands and could have a chance to rise up the ladder if they can beat all of their remaining matches.
Its Indian men's hockey team headed by Amit Rohidas, will play a double-header match against Belgium between June 11 and 12. India is currently sitting in the second position on the FIH Men's Hockey Pro League table. They are only three points ahead of the leaders, Netherlands.
"We are delighted to play against some of the top teams in the world on their home soil," Rohidas expressed the team's excitement for their journey.
"We are very excited to put up a good show against Belgium and the Netherlands. We're not looking too far ahead at the moment; we just want to focus on one game at a time, and showcase our best performance to retake the top spot in the FIH Hockey Pro League table," He added.
A minute after that, Abharan Sudev scored to increase India's lead to 11-0. Dipsan Tirkey added his third in the 58th minute to make India's advantage 11-0. Tirkey added his hat-trick in the 54th minute with an penalty corner. Sudev scored a second strike in the 54th minutes.
One minute after, Tirkey finally scored the decisive goal for India while sabotaging Pakistan's chance of qualifying by scoring a 16th time.
India took the win with a massive margin to earn a place in India's place in the World Cup. After this win over Indonesia, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia are now eligible for FIH World Cup 2023, which will be hosted by India and will leave Pakistan excluded from the tournament.