Int'l Friendly: Indians ready for Dutch
The doggedness of the Indian Women against The Netherlands in the first of the two International Friendlies has made each and every member of the side believe that they can actually outwit their mighty opponents who are placed many rungs above them.
"We were the better team against the Dutch. Results matter, but they don't always reflect the true picture. We played really well in the last game and that gave us a he bosst. You can see that in the body language of the players," Coach Anadi Barua quipped on the sidelines of the team's practice session on the eve of their second meeting with the Dutch, at Father Agnel Sports Complex on Saturday.
"See I am a firm believer in goals. It is goals that win you football matches. We could not find the back of the net, so we lost. We bungled on a couple of occasions. That is a little upsetting but overall I am pleased with my team's performance. Against a side of such high billing they were the better side. What more can I want? Now my expectations are higher," added the former Indian footballer.
The eves rehearsed for one and half hours under the scorching sun. The artificial turf at the Father Agnel Sports Complex in Navi Mumbai, who also happens to be the base for the first AIFF Regional Academy, may aid the Dutch but the humid conditions can again go against them according to Barua.
"The heat will be a problem for the Dutch again. Moreover the artificial turf gets warm faster. But at the same time they are habituated to playing in artificial turfs. My girls are not. I am afraid they'll strain their calf muscles as in artificial turf the feet get heavy very quickly for those who are not used to it. But no excuses the confidence level stays high, and with that we can conquer any territory.
Supriya Routray - nursing an injury picked up in the last match - is set to miss the tie. She will be replaced by U-19 recruit D.Grace in the midfield. Indians were particularly good in the middle of the park in the first Friendly, so Routray missing the bus is obviously a big blow.
"Supriya will be missed. She is a very good schemer and has good vision for passes. But I am lucky to find a good replacement of hers in young D.Grace. She was impressive coming off the bench in the second half in the last match. She is fast and can dribble past defenders well," Barua assured.
Match starts 3:45 pm.