Indian eves gear up to face Australia in HWL Semi-Final

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Antwerp, June 26 (IANS) Having already secured a quarterfinal berth from pool B, India are gearing up for a tough contest against world No.2 Australia in the women’s Hockey World League (HWL) Semi-Final at the Brasschaat Municipal Park here on Saturday.

Mathias Ahrens-coached world No.13 India lost the first two matches against Belgium (0-1) and New Zealand (0-5). However they registered a 3-1 win over world No.23 Poland on Wednesday to boost their chances of qualifying for the quarter-finals.

The Polish girls, being beaten in all the four matches, have already crashed out of the competition, paving the way for India’s entry into the quarter-finals in the 10-nation tournament.

Now, India are up against a side that has performed admirably. World Cup 2014 runners-up Australia hammered Poland 9-0 before registering convincing wins over hosts Belgium and world No.4 New Zealand with 2-0 margins.

“We are happy that we won our last match against Poland. Our performance was up to the mark. And now we know that we have to focus on taking crucial passes as this enables keeping possession on the ball and moving further towards the opponents defence wall,” India skipper Ritu Rani said in a release on Friday.

“We are geared up as a team and hope to give a tough fight to Australia in tomorrow’s match.”

The two teams met earlier during the Hawke’s Bay Cup 2015 in New Zealand where India proved their mettle and held Australia to a goalless draw.

Striker Rani Rampal, who scored a brace in 3-1 triumph over Poland, will be the key player for the 2014 Asian Games bronze medallist.

“The girls performed really well in the match against Poland. We aim for a better penalty corner conversion rate and make our attack even stronger in the next match against Australia,” ohief coach Ahrens said.

We have been working on our passes and tackles and we are confident of a good match tomorrow.”


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