Asian Games 2018: 'PC goals against Indonesia will be good for Gurjit's confidence' says coach Sjoerd Marijne
The opening match often sets the tone for the entire tournament, and the Golden Girls ensured that they got through theirs with very few stutters. At Jakarta's Bung Karno Sports Arena, Sjoerd Marijne's team ran amok in the Indonesian half and entered the striking circle pretty much at will.
The Indian eves pumped in half a dozen goals in the first half but seemed to lose a bit of steam in the third quarter, before scoring a couple more towards the end.
Coach Sjoerd Marijne spoke to Sportskeeda after the match and said he felt the Indians could have scored more goals considering the amount of possession they had, but an 8-0 scoreline was encouraging all the same.
"Difficult to say whether I was happy with the performance because we won 8-0, but we could have scored many more."
Rani Rampal and her teammates were confronted by a side which chose to defend with pretty much every player lodged grittily in their own territory. The Indonesians were totally unmindful of the number of goals they were trailing by and displayed no real intention of reducing the margin.
What they did was aplomb, however, was to steadfastly guard their citadel and did not hesitate to put their bodies on the line when required. Marijne reckoned that the Indian girls need more cohesion and should also pass the ball a lot more.
When asked what improvements he wanted, the Dutchman was emphatic that he wanted better coordination, but was happy with the win. "Some nice attacks with good give-and-go play, but it was difficult to score with 11 players from Indonesia in the circle. We won and that is also important.''
A brand new pitch at London played spoilsport at the World Cup as the ball refused to move as well as the players would have wanted it to. Penalty corner conversions, in particular, suffered as a result of the pitch, and India's very own Gurjit Kaur had a disappointing run.
It was therefore important for the PC specialist to find her rhythm early and she did just that with some lethal strikes to score a hattrick in the opening match. The Indian coach has witnessed Gurjit's journey for quite a while now and was pleased with her performance.
It was Marijne who had requested fellow Dutchman Toon Siepman to hone Gurjit's skills in Holland last year and felt that she deserved the goals because of the amount of work she puts in. "Every time Gurjit scores, it will be good for her. It is important for her confidence and she also trains a lot for it."
Although Gurjit did get going, the Indian girls earned a mammoth number of PCs - nineteen in total, but Marijne was firm that he did not wish to use up too many variations at such an early stage. The Dutchman, however, admitted that the girls could have converted a few more.
"We chose not to give away variations because we may need them for another moment. That’s why the (conversion) rate is low."
The Indians will be up against Kazakhstan on Tuesday and need to continue scoring as many as they can in case the number of goals becomes a determining factor for classification at a later stage.
The Indian coach was brief but succinct when asked what he wanted his team to do in the later matches. "Score more goals, play faster, and score more PCs," said Marijne before signing off.