India close in on semis, eye win over Fiji
Hiroshima (Japan) (PTI): Tackling a lower-ranked Fiji should not be problem for the Indian hockey team at the FIH Women's Series Finals but chief coach Sjoerd Marijne says the job will get easier if his side could improve its "conversion rate".
At number nine, India is top ranked side in the tournament and has conceded just one goal in two matches played so far. It beat Uruguay 4-1 before blanking Poland 5-0.
A victory against World No. 44 Fiji in their last Pool A match will ensure a semifinal place for the Rani Rampal-led Indian side on Tuesday. "There is no doubt that the team has played well in the first couple of matches, but we want to be performing at the highest level possible, and I believe that there is still room for improvement. Our conversion rate can definitely be higher and if that happens, it will be easier for us to win the matches," said Marijne.
"What has impressed me in the first two matches has been the fact that we have created good field opportunities, and have also been able to earn more penalty corners. The team is enjoying themselves on the pitch, and that is good to see as a coach that your players are enjoying each other's company," he added.
The 45-year-old Dutchman said his team is now gelling well. "The most important aspect for me, is to see how the players enjoy playing together, and how they combine on and off the field. When you keep trying to combine on the field, it results in everybody getting an opportunity to play and perform as well," he said.
The chief coach said the team is focused on winning all the matches and won't take any opponent lightly.