Hosts shuffle pack before big game

For the game against Poland today,coach CR Kumar moved the players away from their comfort zone and shuffled them around on the field

Written by Jonathan Selvaraj | New Delhi | Published:February 22, 2012 1:38 am

Making the most of the fact that they were playing the lowest-ranked team here in Poland a day before their toughest test in the tournament against South Africa,the Indian women tried out various combinations before easing to a 3-0 win. With 7 points from three games,India are now on the top of the table,ahead of South Africa on goal difference. With the two teams expected to make it to the final a win against the South Africans at the league stage would be a morale booster.

For the game against Poland today,coach CR Kumar moved the players away from their comfort zone and shuffled them around on the field. The reasoning,according to coach Kumar,was to keep the team’s future opponents guessing. So Jasjeet Handa who normally plays on the right wing was the center striker,Ritu Rani switched from right to left wing while Deepika moved from the mid field to play upfront.

The rejigged positioning paid off in the 18th minute of the game,when seizing a lose ball,Asunta Lakra,Poonam Rani and Ritu Rani tag teamed together from the midfield past to set up Rani who beat the Polish goalkeeper. The second goal came just after the break through the individual brilliance of Rani Rampal who dribbled past three defenders and then the goalkeeper to tap the ball in. Eight minutes from time,Deepika,who reveled as a forward,sent an accurate pass to Poonam Rani who latched on and put in the third.

India could have more goals but with players taking time to adjust to their new roles that victory final margin was 3-0.

The big worry for the coaching staff was the lack of penalty corners opportunities that the team created. Of the two chances they got,the players either waited for far too long to release the ball or failed to trap it cleanly. While the puzzle isn’t quite complete,what would give India hope would be South Africa’s performance against Italy earlier in the day. After trailing by a goal,the South Africans managed to draw level and scrape a couple of points.

Other results: Ukraine beat Canada 5-2,Italy held South Africa to a 1-1 draw.

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