Rio dream still alive as Indian eves face Italy in play-offs
A day after being thrashed 0-7 by top-ranked The Netherlands, India are still nurturing the Olympic qualification dream as they brace for a play-off fixture against lowly Italy in the women’s Hockey World League Semifinals, here on Thursday.
For the Rio Olympic dream to sustain, India will have to come out victorious in on Thursday’s 5-8 position classification match against Italy, who showed their mettle in the quarterfinal encounter with Australia.
With the Olympic qualification berths likely to filter beyond the semifinalists, India <g data-gr-id="18">are</g> eager to put up an improved show in the <g data-gr-id="17">play-offs</g> for the fifth to eight spots. Reigniting the players’ self-belief would be the prime task for the team management following the 0-7 loss to reigning World and Olympic champions The Netherlands, who were a street ahead of the Indians in quality.
The Indian girls would be looking to plug gaps in their defence as they go into the game against the fast-improving Italian team, placed three spots behind India’s No. 13 world ranking.
The Italians will be inspired by their show against World Cup silver medalists Australia. Only two penalty corner conversions, one in each half, separated Australia from minnows Italy.