Turkish Women's Cup 2024 Preview: India Eye Winning Start Against Estonia

India have never faced Estonia and Kosovo earlier, while they have an unbeaten record of eight wins and a draw against Hong Kong in nine previous meetings. They are set to kick off the Turkish Women's Cup 2024 against Estonia

(Photo: X|IndiaFootball)
All India Football Federation announced a 23-member squad for the Turkish Women's Cup 2024. (Photo: X|IndiaFootball)

The Indian women's football team would look to notch up its first win over an European side when it takes on lower-ranked Estonia in the opening match of the Turkish Women's Cup here on Wednesday. (Tournament Guide| More Football News)

Kosovo and Hong Kong are the other two teams in the four-nation tournament. India (65th) are the highest-ranked side but the matches are expected to be tight, especially considering the quality and physical toughness of the European teams.

India have never faced Estonia and Kosovo earlier, while they have an unbeaten record of eight wins and a draw against Hong Kong in nine previous meetings.

Wednesday's match against Estonia (ranked 98th) at the Gold City Sport Complex presents a chance to create history as India look to register their first-ever win over a UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) side in an official match.

Estonia, the record 11-time Women's Baltic Cup champions, contested the Turkish Women's Cup in 2023 as well, recording a 1-2 loss to Kosovo, followed by a 1-1 draw against North Macedonia.

Estonia's goal-scoring responsibilities will mostly be shouldered by 25-year-old Lisette Tammik, who netted six of her country's 11 goals in the 2023-24 UEFA Women's Nations League C. Estonia had beated Armenia and Kazakhstan in that tournament.

India are participating in the Turkish Women's Cup for the third time, after 2019 and 2021.

Captain Ashalata Devi said the players are prepared to begin their campaign.

"The ground, the weather, everything is perfect. Everyone is happy to be here. We have focused both on our defence and attack in the session today and we are going with a winning mentality tomorrow," she said ahead of the match.

Devi had said after arriving in Turkey on Monday that her team would work on defending as the players will be up against physically strong opponents.

"We have been concentrating on defending because we are playing against physically strong countries. Our girls are fit as we are in the middle of the IWL season. I have full confidence in my squad. We are getting a tour like this after a long gap and are very eager to play these three matches."

It will be head coach Langam Chaoba Devi's first game in charge of the national team and she admitted that Wednesday's match will not be an easy one.

"Estonia are a tough team, both physically and technically. However, we also have our strengths. While they may appear taller and stronger, we have qualities that can make a difference," she said.

"They (Estonia) will not take us lightly in any manner and we also won't make it easy for them, and we're prepared to give it our all," the coach said.

"The players are familiar with the atmosphere and weather conditions. Many of them have played here before, so they know what to expect from the ground."