Indian women's hockey team will fancy its chances against Italy in World Cup
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 on 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 tomorrow' 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.
Having conceded a goal in the 11th minute against the USA, India's backs were against the wall and it took a valiant all-around effort and an inspiring goal from skipper Rani Rampal in the 31st minute to secure the all-important draw, a result which shut the doors on the Americans.
"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 quarter-final," said Rani whose goal against the USA enables India to finish third in Pool B.
Rani emphasized on the need to have a winning mentality to do well in big tournaments.
"We all knew a draw would be enough, but we wanted to go for the win. I think the hunger to win attitude helped us. We enter a match with the attitude that if we play a good match then the crowds will support us and that we must fight for the ball. I am proud of how the team played against the USA and now we need to once again do everything we can to win against Italy," she said.
Notwithstanding Italy's 12-1 drubbing against the Netherlands in their last match, the Indian skipper warned her side against complacency, saying the Italians are a serious contender.
The match starts at 10:30 PM IST.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)