Bhubaneswar: Ahead of the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers, Indian women's hockey captain Rani Rampal said they have improved a lot over the last two-three years and physically, they can compete with any team in the world.
"The improvement in the team in the last two-three years has been unbelievable. Fitness-wise our team is very fit and we do not feel that we lack in fitness when compared to other teams. I think we can compete with any team in the world physically," Rampal told reporter on Friday.
India women, who are world No 9, will compete against world No 13 USA in the qualifiers. Rampal said ranking does not matter for them and they will stick to their game plan.
"The rankings do not really matter much because hockey has changed a lot and any team can beat anyone. Especially, in the last Olympics as we have seen that England, who are ranked lower, won the Olympics," she said.
"Of course, they (USA) are ranked below us but these matches will not be easy because they are also coming trained. We just want to play according to our plan and our focus will be on ourselves. All that matters is what we are doing and not what the US is doing," Rampal added.
Rampal said that the crowd at the Kalinga Stadium has been very passionate about hockey and it will be an advantage for them.
"We are going to play at the Kalinga Stadium for the first time and we have seen many men's events here. We have seen that people here are very passionate about hockey. I think it will be an advantage for us and we will get energy from the crowd," she said.
India will take on the USA on 1 and 2 November at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
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Updated Date: Oct 18, 2019 23:04:49 IST