Asian Games 2018: Women's Hockey Final, India vs Japan preview, telecast, date, start time and where to watch online
Women's hockey was introduced in the ninth edition of the Asian Games at Delhi and the Indian girls beat South Korea in the final to win gold. Following the Delhi edition, the Koreans made rapid strides in the game, and both the men and the women reigned supreme at Seoul in 1986 while the Indians had to settle for bronze.
The Chinese and Japanese girls also took up the game in a big way in the late 1980s and the Indians were unable to keep up and failed to reach the final again until 1998 when they lost to South Korea to win silver.
The Indian girls have never made the final since but won a bronze in Doha by beating the Koreans in 2006.
Four years back at Incheon, the Indian eves beat Japan in the bronze-medal match and will hope to repeat the feat at Jakarta - this time, in the finals though.
Over the last couple of years, the Golden Girls have risen to be the most dominant side in the continent, while the Japanese have fallen behind. The Indians won the Asian Champions in 2016 and the Asia Cup last year.
Currently, the Indians are the highest-ranked team in the Asian Games and are perched at the ninth position as per the FIH rankings while the Japanese are ranked fourteenth.
Rani Rampal and co. have a golden chance to create history and coach Sjoerd Marijne told Sportskeeda that the girls need to remain patient and begin well.
"We have to start like we ended (the semifinal) and keep the defensive structure; this, and patience will help us to get a good result in the final."
Just over a year back, the Indians lost to Japan in the HWL Semifinal by a 0-2 margin but registered a facile 4-1 win against Anthony Farry's side, en route to a silver in this year's Asian Champions Trophy.
In last month's World Cup, the Japanese had close matches against Australia and New Zealand, losing 2-3 to the Hockeyroos, but beating the Women Black Sticks 2-1. Japan lost tamely against the Belgians, however, going down 3-6, and failed to reach the crossovers or the quarterfinals at London.
The Indians, however, did reach the crossovers of the World Cup and very nearly upset the hosts and Olympic champions England who managed to score a late equalizer and snatch a draw in the opener. In the Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast, earlier this year, the Indians beat England and lost narrowly to Australia in the semifinal.
Like the Indians, the Japanese have been unbeaten thus far at Jakarta, and experienced Olympians, like Mayumi Ono in defence, Yukari Mano in midfield, and Minami Shimizu and Motomi Kawamura, up front, have been the key to their side's fortunes for quite a while now.
For the Golden Girls, Gurjit Kaur has been spectacular with her drag flicks, while captain Rani Rampal, Vandana Kataria, and young Lalremsiami have wreaked havoc in the opposition circle. The Indians have conceded just one goal in the tournament which came off a controversial penalty stroke and the defence has been outstanding.
A great contest is on the cards but following an encouraging show at the Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast and the World Cup in London, the Indians do have the edge.
The teams are as follows:
Goalkeepers: Kageyama Megumi, Akio Tanaka
Defenders: Hoshi Kimika, Naito Natsuki, Oikawa Shihori, Ono Mayumi, Ota Akiko
Midfielders: Yui Ishibashi, Mano Yukari, Nishikori Emi
Forwards: Karino Mami, Kato Akiko, Kawamura Motomi (Captain), Nagai Yuri, Segawa Maho, Shimizu Minami, Aki Yamada.
Goalkeepers: Savita (vice-capt), Rajani Etimarpu
Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, Sunita Lakra, Deepika, Gurjit Kaur, Reena Khokhar
Midfielders: Namita Toppo, Lilima Minz, Monika, Udita, Nikki Pradhan, Neha Goyal
Forwards: Rani Rampal (capt), Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Navneet Kaur, Navjot Kaur.
Here is how you can catch all the action:
Event: Asian Games 2018
Venue: Jakarta, Indonesia
Date: 31 August 2018
Time: 6:30 pm Indian Standard Time (IST)
Telecast: Sony ESPN, Sony Ten 2, Ten 2 HD, Sony ESPN HD
Live Streaming: Sony Liv