Friday, August 19, 2022

Commonwealth Games Hockey: Wales look for India upset after opening loss

Birmingham — Wales women will look to evoke the memories of Gold Coast past when they attempt to overturn India for the second time in successive Commonwealth Games on Saturday night.

Wales were soundly beaten by Canada on Friday 4-0, leaving their semi-final hopes hinging on a win over the Indian Eves, the team they beat 3-2 in 2018 for the best win in their history.

They had started brightly, too, before a missed penalty stroke and a lack of discipline saw Canada to an opening Pool win, courtesy of Brienne Stairs’ penalty corner double and strikes from Hannah Haughn and captain Sara McManus.

“We want to ask India questions,” said Wales coach Kevin Johnson. “We don’t fear anyone. Four years ago we did the unthinkable and why not on Saturday night. Our attitude is positive.

“Every time we beat a higher-ranked side, we look at those games and how we went about it. There is a no fear attitude and to hurt our opponent.”

Wales had the majority of possession in the first quarter but couldn’t open a gap to exploit the world No 15 Canadians. As the game then slipped away from the Welsh, Leah Wilkinson and Sarah Jones were handed yellow cards.

“We played really well in the first-half. We took the game to them and pressed them pretty hard,” added Johnson. “We had a couple of penalty corners and a stroke which we didn’t put  away and we then picked up a few cards and couldn’t maintain the rhythm.

“It was a surprise. It wasn’t that sort of game and the only thing was that we lost our flow a bit. We need to have 11 on to impact that sort of game.

“The fact that we are annoyed at coming off losing is a real move forward for us. This is a side which went to the World Cup and tournament hardened. It is a good indicator for us and probably what our aspirations are. We always want to be better tomorrow.”


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