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India Vs USA, FIH Women's Hockey Olympic Qualifiers 2024: IND Didn't Play To Their Strengths, Says Coach Janneke Schopman

India wasted seven penalty corners and many chances from open field play before losing 0-1 to USA in their opening match of the FIH Women's Hockey Olympic Qualifiers 2024. This is the hosts' only shot at the Paris Games

Action from the India vs USA match at the FIH Women's Hockey Olympic Qualifiers in Ranchi.
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India did not have the best of starts in the FIH Women's Olympic Qualifier, losing 0-1 to USA in their opener in Ranchi on Saturday, and the team's chief coach Janneke Schopman admitted that her side didn't play to their strength. (More Hockey News)

Having missed the opportunity to book Paris Olympics ticket through last year's Asian Games, it is world no. 6 India's only chance to qualify for the quadrennial extravaganza. 

India wasted chances galore, including as many as seven penalty corners and some from open field play, to start their campaign on a disappointing note here.

And Schopman said her wards were guilty of straying away from their style of play. 

"I know we are a good team, we weren't the lesser team even though we lost. We were outsmarted. We created chances but did not have composure and confidence on the ball that I am used to see in training and in matches previously," Schopman said after the match.

"We rushed a little bit, we were forcing and may be that's because we were 0-1 down. We have to play according to our principles, we can't lose every 50-50 ball. We knew it's going to be a tough game. We have some players who didn't have a great game but they kept fighting. I am  proud of that," she said.

"We have to be better. I don't think we lost to ourselves, USA put up a good fight but I feel that we didn't play to our strength and what typically works for us. We need to revisit that and look at what works for us."

The Dutch coach emphasised the point that India's strength is attacking hockey build around short passes. 

"We have to be a little bit smarter and understand what the game needs, where is the space and what is our strength. Our strength is not to hit long balls into the circle and we did that too often. I was just trying to tell them play short because we have the skill," Schopman said.

"We tried really hard to play well, we didn't have the flow. It's a different style of play and we are getting used to the physical style."

Penalty corner conversion rate continued to be India's bane of late and it was no different on Saturday. 

"Look, I also would have like to score (from penalty corners). I think we really played two really good PCs but for some reason we did not execute it right," the coach said. 

Schopman took the blame on herself for missing a few penalty corners on Saturday.

"It's a game where everyone fights and everyone is talking about which team is good. New Zealand also found it difficult against Italy in the beginning. In the last quarter, they were able to convert their penalty corners. That is the difference. 

"I will say that is the problem because at one point we didn't have people on the pitch for PCs and that is subbing mistake, that is my mistake," she said.

India will take on New Zealand in their next Pool B match on Sunday, a side against whom they don't have a very good head-to-head record. 

"It's all or nothing tomorrow, we have to show up, we need to be ready and we have to do everything we can," Schopman said.

"I am not a quitter, I never give up. After this game, tonight we need to flip the switch. We have to be ready for New Zealand tomorrow."

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