The team attacked well and scored three goals, but their defence let them down in the end. They will now look to get back to winning ways when they take on Germany in another double header on Saturday and Sunday at Kalinga Stadium.
It’s going to be a tough task though.
Germany are not only the higher-ranked team, they also beat India the last time they played at Tokyo Olympics. But a lot has changed since then and the Indian team is confident of bouncing back from the loss and beating the world No. 5.
“We made a few mistakes in the last match (against Spain) and we have worked on it over the two weeks. Also, since Germany are a strong defensive team, we practised different attacking tactics,” said captain Savita during a virtual press conference on Friday.
Hockey sticks low and spirit are high as always. Prepping up to bring out the A-game at Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswa… https://t.co/YqsQJylPLf
— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) 1646996628000
Vice-captain Deep Grace Ekka added, “Since Germany are a very skilful side, our focus will be on making one to one tackle.”
While India have left no stone unturned to prepare for the game, Germany, who lost to Belgium in both their matches in the Pro League in October, are not taking the Indian team lightly, even though they have lost only once in the last five encounters.
Speaking about the Indian team, Germany women’s team coach Akim Bouchouchi said, “The Indian team has improved a lot over the past few months. They played training matches with us in April last year which we won but then they did well at the Olympics and have now won three matches in the Pro League as well.”
“They have very aggressive defence and are strong on the counters,” added Pauline Heinz, who was also part of the German squad at Tokyo Olympics.
Keeping the performance of the Indian team aside, the Germans, who are visiting India for the first time, are also worried about the heat factor. As the coach said during the virtual presser, “It’s 4 degrees in Germany, while here it’s 30 degrees.”
But it’s not the first time that they will be playing in such conditions. Even during the Tokyo Olympics, where they lost to Argentina in the quarterfinals, the conditions were almost the same. To acclimatise to the conditions, the team has been sweating it out for the past few days in the Bhubaneswar heat. They are also using ‘cooling jackets‘ to make it easier for themselves.
Meanwhile, with both teams focussing on the upcoming World Cup, the two matches will see a lot of new faces. For India, Akshata Abaso Dhekale of Hockey Maharashtra and striker Deepika Jr of Hockey Haryana, are the two additions to the squad who will hope to put on an impressive show.