Olympic hockey: Stay focused, coach Marijne’s advice ahead of semis

Tokyo, Aug 3 (IANS) Taking things match by match has helped the Indian women’s team reach the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics hockey tournament, said chief coach Sjoerd Marijne who promised that his team will continue with the same attitude in the last-four clash with Argentina on Wednesday.
Marijne said the Indian team will be focussing on the task at hand and staying in the moment in their semifinal match.
“It will be a difficult match for us. I think Argentina is a good team. We played them in January and we know that Argentina is a hard team to beat. Their defence is very strong. We have to convert our goal-scoring opportunities like we converted the penalty corner against Australia. It’s all about focussing on the task and staying in the moment and being busy with what we have to do well ourselves. I have told all the girls again that it’s about putting all the energy you have in the match,” Marijne was quoted as saying by Hockey India in a release on Tuesday.
The team led by skipper Rani Rampal will count on its recent experience of playing against the Argentinians during their extensive tour of the country in January 2021.
Speaking ahead of the semifinal encounter, the Indian captain said:, “We were extremely happy with our team performance against Australia, who are a world class hockey team. However, there is not much time to look back, and our focus is fully on the semifinal against Argentina. At this stage of the competition, matches do not get any easier, and we are going to give everything we have on the field.”
Rani said the familiariaty gained on the recent tour of Argentina could play a role in the match.
“Both teams will be relatively familiar with each other’s style of play as we faced each other in a few matches earlier in the year. Having said that, an Olympic semifinal is a completely different equation, and no tour game can recreate the same kind of intensity and atmosphere. This is surely the toughest test that our team will face. We are feeling confident about our games and have the necessary self-belief to put our best foot forward.”
India are playing in the semifinals for the first time while Argentina have figured in semifinals in four editions of the Games from 2000 to 2012, reaching the final twice.
The South Americans had finished seventh in Rio de Janeiro while India ended 12th and last in the field.
Both the teams are on a resurgence since then and will be hoping to continue their campaign into the final.

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