Madrid: Indian women’s hockey team will need to focus on the defensive structure when it locks horns with hosts Spain in the opening game of the five-match series here tomorrow, said chief coach Sjoerd Marijne.
The Indian team had finished with a silver medal at the 5th Asian Champions Trophy after having lost the final match to hosts Korea 0-1.
India’s attackers were in fine form at the tournament as Navneet Kaur and Vandana Katariya finished as the joint top goal-scorers of the tournament with three goals apiece.
Marijne said India need to focus on keeping a tight structure in order to stop the opposition from scoring.
“We played very fluent hockey in South Korea and the forwards did a great job. However, these five matches against the Spanish team will help us in organising ourselves better when we don’t have possession of the ball,” he said.
“We will look at our defensive structure, and make sure that we don’t concede easy goals against the opposition. If we can manage to defend well, then it will increase our chances of winning the match.”
The World No. 10 side will be led by captain Rani Rampal, who has returned to the team after having been rested for the Asian Champions Trophy held in South Korea.
The visitors have picked a full-strength squad as they look to build momentum ahead of the Vitality Hockey World Cup London to be held from July 21 to August 5.
The Dutch coach believes India will face a tough test from the home team who are currently ranked number 11th in the world.
“Our opponents are playing at home and are very well equipped in all parts of the pitch. They have been performing well recently and have made improvements in their game,” said Marijne.
“It will be a tough test for our team but I am sure that the girls will give their everything to achieve the goal of winning.