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Olympic Qualifiers: India need a big win against Italy to secure semis spot

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RANCHI, Jan 15: Having salvaged their campaign with a convincing 3-1 win against New Zealand, the Indian women’s hockey team will be eyeing a place in the semifinals with a thumping victory over win-less Italy in their last Pool B clash in the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers here on Tuesday.
The Indian team had made a poor start to their campaign, putting up a disjointed and error-strewn performance in the 0-1 defeat to the United States, failing to play to their potential and strength.The team came back strongly in their second match. After spending Monday’s rest day with a practice session for the goalkeepers and rest for others, the Indian team needs to beat Italy by a big margin so that they have a high goal difference in case of a tie with between more than three teams that is likely to happen in case New Zealand gets the better of United States in the previous match on Tuesday.
Going into the rest day, the United States were leading the Pool B standings with six points from two wins and a goal difference of +3. New Zealand are on three points, the same as India. Both have one win each and a goal difference of +1. The Black Sticks are placed second as they have scored more goals, 4 as compared to three by India.
In case both the games end in draws, the USA will go through with five points from three matches while India and New Zealand will tie on four points with goal difference coming into the picture.
The group stares at the possibility of a three-way tie in case New Zealand and India win their respective matches. In that situation, New Zealand and India will join the United States at six points each, with two wins each. The rules state that if more than two teams are in a tie on points, then a ranking based on the results of the matches among them shall determine their respective position.If there remains equality, then the teams involved shall be ranked according to their respective goal difference. In case of further equality between the two teams, the goals scored by both teams will come into force. If it is still equal, then the result between the two teams will resolve the position.
Thus winning big would be the only thing that would help them and thus India would be in a better position as they play the weakest of the teams involved.
Italy have lost both their matches so far, 3-0 to New Zealand and 2-0 to the US. If they play like they did against the Black Sticks, Janneke Schopman’s girls should win by a big margin and improve their chances in case goal difference comes into effect.
The hosts will clinch the second spot by beating Italy in case the USA hold New Zealand to a draw or win their clash.Coach Schopman felt the team was perfect against New Zealand because it knew it couldn’t afford to lose another match. (IANS)

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