Birmingham: The Indian women’s hockey team would look to draw inspiration from its Tokyo Olympics success when it takes on mighty Australia in the second semifinal of the Commonwealth Games here on Friday.
India had stunned Australia 1-0 in the quarterfinals of the Tokyo Olympics last year. And come Friday, the Savita Punia-led side would look to do an encore here.
But it would be easier said than done as Australia are by far the dominant force in the CWG with four gold medals in six editions since hockey’s introduction at the Games in 1998.
The Hockeyroos are in sublime form here having topped their pool with four wins from as many games and that too without conceding a single goal.
India, on the other hand, finished second in Pool A behind hosts England with nine points. India’s only loss (1-3) came against the home team.
The Indians will have to play out of their skin and chief coach Janneke Schopman would be hoping that her side can produce a clinical performance in all aspects of the game.
The Indian defence, led by skipper Savita and which has the likes of Gurjit Kaur, Udita and Deep Grace Ekka, will have to be on its toes against the fast attacking Australians.
The defence crumbled when put under pressure which was evident in India’s 1-3 loss against England in their last pool match.
Neha Goyal has been a livewire in the link-up between midfield and the forward line but she needs more support.
The strike force too will have to be in its best and the likes of Sharmila Devi, Navneet Kaur and Lalremsiani can’t afford to waste scoring opportunities, especially against a strong Australia, who are yet to concede a goal in the tournament.
Having finished second to New Zealand in the last CWG at home, the Australians would be desperate to return to the top of podium.
In the first semifinal, hosts England will be up against reigning CWG champions New Zealand.