Indian women's hockey team goalkeeper Savita Punia on Thursday said the side's aim is to ‘make it to the next level’ in this year's 2022 FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup after finishing in the last eight stage four years ago. The event will be jointly hosted by the Netherlands and Spain in July. (More Hockey News)
In the 2018 edition of the showpiece in London, India lost 1-3 to Ireland in penalty shoot-out to crash out of the competition. But this time around, Savita said India are well prepared to make the medal rounds.
“With more players getting international exposure, and having gained confidence to play top teams in big-match scenarios, we are heading in the right direction of building a strong team for the World Cup,” the senior player said.
“We made it to the quarterfinals last time in London, and the aim this time is definitely to make it to the next level.” The 2022 FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup will be played from July 1 to 17 but before that the Indians will gain valuable exposure in the FIH Pro League matches in Belgium, where they will take on the hosts on June 11 and 12.
The two matches will be followed by weekend games in the Netherlands, where India will play Argentina on June 18 and 19 and the United States on June 21 and 22. The Indian women are placed in Pool B in the 2022 FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup alongside England, China and New Zealand.
They will open their campaign against England on July 3 in Amstelveen. Savita said healthy competition for places among the junior and senior players augurs well for India.
“With new players coming into the group by virtue of good performances in the Pro League and Junior World Cup, there is healthy competition within the group and this is helping in bringing out the best in each one of us.”