~ India will play two matches against Spain on February 26 and 27 at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium ~
Bhubaneswar, 24 February 2022: The India Women’s Hockey Team is set to face off against Spain at the FIH Hockey Pro League 2021/22 matches scheduled to take place on 26 February (Saturday) and 27 February (Sunday). The two-legged affair between the two teams will take place at the iconic Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Speaking at the pre-match virtual press conference, India Women’s Team Captain Savita said that while Spain are a strong opponent, her team will keep a focus on their own targets.
“Spain are a good team. They have improved a lot in the past few years, and so have we. We have confidence in our team, and we will focus on ourselves. We will follow the plans and structure laid down by our Chief Coach Janneke Schopman,” Savita said.
The Indian goalkeeper also spoke about the hard training sessions the team is currently having in Bhubaneswar ahead of the two-legged tie against Spain.
“We are having hard sessions at the camp in Bhubaneswar. The conditions are very humid in this city and we have our sessions in the afternoon. But everyone trains with full energy, and we are getting used to the conditions. Everyone is excited to play at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium again. We feel we are improving each day,” Savita said.
Team India started their FIH Hockey Pro League 2021/22 campaign on a high, winning both their games against China in Muscat, Oman. India Vice-Captain Deep Grace Ekka said the team will look to continue the same momentum in Bhubaneswar.
“We picked up a big 7-1 win over China in the first match, but we had to work really hard to come away with a 2-1 win in the second match. But we are proud of the hard work we showed to get that win and now against Spain, we will look to improve upon those performances and continue the momentum,” Ekka said.
Spain, who are also competing at the FIH Hockey Pro League for the first time, played their opening two games against The Netherlands. While they suffered a 0-1 loss in their first game, they managed to push the second game to a shoot-out, with a 2-2 draw, getting one point in the process.
Spanish Coach Adrian Lock, addressing the media at the virtual pre-match conference, said that while he was relatively happy with the performance against the Dutch, his team will not be taking India lightly.
“We have changed our team and are looking at a new structure. So, we are still learning. When we play India, we would be looking to improve,” Lock said.
“It would be dangerous to consider India as less dangerous than the Netherlands because of the amazing skills, the technical and individual talent that is spread throughout the country. I think India will really put our defence to a test, maybe even more so than the Dutch. We hope we can compete to the best of our abilities in the two games,” Lock added.
This will be the first meeting between India since the four-match series in Spain in January 2019. Spain Captain Georgina Oliva echoed her Coach’s sentiments and said that her team has to keep a tight defence to get a positive result against India.
“We expect India to be really strong. They have already had an excellent tournament so far. They have been really improving over the years. We have to really focus on defensive strategies. It’s going to be a really exciting match,” Oliva said.
The Spanish Head Coach also went on to express his delight regarding playing at the iconic Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar. “To be able to come to India in Bhubaneswar to experience hockey is a fantastic opportunity. To travel, and to be together and see such a beautiful country and to play against a fantastic team such as India in this great Kalinga Stadium will be a memorable experience,” he said.
The double-header between India and Spain will be played on Saturday and Sunday at 17:00 hrs IST.
Matches will be telecast live on Star Sports Select 2, Star Sports Select 2 HD, and Hotstar.
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