Hiroshima: Title contenders India will start as overwhelming favourites against lower-ranked Chile in the semifinals of the FIH Women's Series Finals hockey tournament here on Saturday. The ninth-ranked Indians are unbeaten so far in the tournament, having registered comfortable wins over Uruguay (4-1), Poland (5-0) and Fiji (11-0).
Going by their world rankings and current form, India are expected to win comfortably against World No 16 Chile. India are just one win away from securing their place in the final round of the Tokyo Olympics Qualifiers to be held later this year with two top spots up for grabs from here.
And achieving that goal shouldn't be much of a problem for the Indians. In all their pool matches, India created plenty of scoring opportunities but the conversion rate is an area which is of a little concern for chief coach Sjoerd Marijne. "We want to perform at the highest level possible and I believe there is still room for improvement," Marijne had said. "Our conversion rate can definitely be higher and if that happens it will be easier for us to win matches."
In the last match against World No 44 Fiji, Gurjit Kaur slammed four goals, including a hat-trick and the drag-flicker would look to carry her form in the remaining games of the tournament. Skipper Rani Rampal said they can't afford to take any team lightly.
"We are looking forward to the semifinal. We have to just focus on ourselves. We have to give our best," Rani had said. Chile, on the hand, finished second in their pool and had to go through the cross-overs to seal their place in the last-four round.
Chile defeated Mexico 7-0, hosts Japan 3-1 before being stunned by World No 25 Russia 2-5. But in the cross-overs, Chile edged past Uruguay 5-2 to set up a last-four encounter against India.
In the other semifinal, Russia will take on World No 14 Japan.
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Updated Date: Jun 21, 2019 17:22:23 IST