The Indian women's hockey team is all set to play the opening hockey match of the women's category at the 2021 Olympics. They take on world champions The Netherlands, which might prove to be a one-sided affair for the Oranje women.
Let's take a look at both the teams' past performances, form guides, the players to watch out for, and our predictions for the match.
Their winning mentality and their zeal to never give up makes Netherlands a stand-out team in women's hockey. They were the winners of the 2018 Women’s Hockey World Cup and are by far the most difficult team to beat at Tokyo 2020.
They are coached by the legendary Australian, Alyson Annan, who has instilled a fearless attitude in the team. A two-time Olympic gold medallist and FIH Player of the Year herself, Annan will be looking to replicate the same form that they have been showing for the last few years.
Form Guide: W,W,W,W,W
Netherlands have played their last five matches in the Euro Hockey Championship 2021. Being the champions of the tournament, they remained unbeaten throughout.
No team was even able to come close to beating the Oranje. They won the final 2-0 against Germany which showed their resilience. Spain was the only team to score a goal against them, in which the Dutch girls won 7-1.
After a heart-breaking shoot-out defeat to Great Britain denied them a hat-trick of gold in Rio, the Dutch women are determined to win the Olympic crown in Tokyo.
Checkout: Tokyo Olympic Hockey Schedule
Player to watch out for: Eva de Goede
After losing the 2016 Rio games, Eva de Goede has some unfinished business for Tokyo. The 32-year old midfielder’s ball running, tackling and visionary passes are a joy to behold. She was also part of the team that won gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. The Indian eves will have to be wary of her.
Goalkeeper: Josine Koning
Defenders: Caia van Maasakker, Ireen van den Assem, Pien Sanders, Lauren Stam, Margot van Geffen, Sanne Koolen (Ap Athlete)
Midfielders: Malou Pheninckx, Laurien Leurink, Xan de Waard, Marloes Keetels, Laura Nunnink, Eva de Goede (Captain), Felice Albers, Stella van Gils (Travelling Reserve)
Forwards: Maria Verschoor, Lidewij Welten, Frédérique Matla, Freeke Moes (Ap Athlete), Kyra Fortuin (Traveling Reserve)
The Indian eves have improved over the years but are still one of the underdogs in the tournament. Playing against Netherlands will be a tough challenge for them.
Coached by Dutchman Sjoerd Marijne, the women in blue will be playing their third Olympics. Let's take a look at India’s performance in the last few matches and what can be expected from them.
Form Guide: D,L,L,L,L
Indian Eves lost all four matches on their recent tour to Germany. They scored only one goal in the tournament while conceding 10. Their performance against the Germans wasn’t very inspiring.
India are currently ranked ninth in the world but showed some resilience when they drew with Argentina 1-1 in their last tour match in January. It remains to be seen what the Dutch coach can pull out of his hat while playing against his own nation.
Player to watch out for: Savita Punia
India’s wall over the last decade, Savita has a huge task in front of her. She has been in good form of late and would want to replicate the same in Tokyo as well.
Goalkeeper: Savita Punia
Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, Nikki Pradhan, Gurjit Kaur, Udita, Reena Khokhar (Ap Athlete)
Midfielders: Nisha, Neha, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Monika, Navjot Kaur, Salima Tete, Namita Toppo (Ap Athlete)
Forwards: Rani (Captain), Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Vandana Katariya, Sharmila Devi
Our Prediction for India vs Netherlands:
Looking at Netherlands' past performance, we don’t expect an upset in the very first match of the women’s category. India should only try to narrow out the margin against the women in Oranje. We predict the scoreline to be 4-0 in the Netherlands' favor.
Checkout: Tokyo Olympic 2021 Schedule