India take on higher-ranked China in Asiad women's hockey

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Incheon (South Korea), Sept 23: Opening their Asian Games campaign with a 3-0 win over Thailand, the much motivated Indian women's hockey team now readies to face China when the two teams clash here Wednesday.

Both India and China started the tournament with a win and now will be looking at continuing their run.

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"While the team is confident of continuing the form against China, the girls are also not forgetting their last outing against them. They are looking forward to playing the highest ranked Asian team in the tournament to see where they stand against a team sitting amongst the top-10 in the world," India chief coach Neil Hawgood said.

While India are ranked 13th, neighbours China are positioned eight places above.

"I am sure the challenges will have a good start and that we'll be able to break their patterns of play to our advantage in the critical areas. We have minutely worked on our penalty corner conversions and strategies to penetrate their D. The aim is to get them on the defensive from the start and we are banking on Rani, Poonam Rani and Vandana Katariya to stick to the plan."

Having met at 2010 Guangzhou as well as at 2006 Doha, India lost to China in a close combat on both occasions. In 2006, India lost 2-3 while in 2010 the difference was 1-2.

However, looking at their successful outing in the Malaysian tour and at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, India look prepared to take on China and avenge the defeats.

"Our practice sessions are working in our favour to generate positive results. Though winning the first match against Thailand helped in motivating the team, we are aware of China's capabilities as well and are working really hard to give them a tough time. Our focus is to secure and convert as many penalty corners as possible," India forward Vandana Kataria said.

IANS

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