The Women in Blue began their campaign with a win in their previous game against Malaysia.

The Indian women’s hockey team will look to carry on the momentum, awaiting the challenge of Japan in their next Women’s Hockey Asia Cup 2022 fixture. Oman is playing host to the tournament, which involves the top eight women’s Asian hockey teams. 

India trounced Malaysia on the opening day of the competition at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex and seeks to maintain its performance against Japan in the following match. Japan is a difficult opponent, and hence the Indian squad must be aware of the threat they offer. The game offers to be quite exciting, with a lot to look forward to. Here’s what the sports enthusiast can expect from the game.

Team India

India made a fine start to their campaign at the Women’s Hockey Asia Cup with a strong 9-0 win against Malaysia. Goals from Vandana Katariya (8′, 34′), Deep Grace Ekka (10′), Navneet Kaur (15′, 27′), Lalremsiami (38′), Monika (40′), and Sharmila (46′, 59′) secured the victory for India. Moreover, with improved ball possession, India continued to control the proceedings and produced good goal opportunities in the game’s final minutes. , Sharmila, India’s lanky striker, added to the scoreboard with two superb field goals in the 46th and 59th minutes, bringing the match to a close with a 9-0 scoreline.

The match against Malaysia was highly interesting, with India winning 9-0. A poised Navneet outplayed the Malaysian defence, while Lalremsiami made the score 6-0 in the 38th minute with a goal. As a result, India is in terrific shape heading into the match against Japan. All eyes will be on Vandana once again, who converted the goal in the eighth minute with ease and remains critical to India’s success in the competition.

Team Japan

Japan, the previous winner in 2007 and 2013, defeated South Korea twice in a row to win the Women’s Hockey Asia Cup. Also, Japan finished as the fourth runner-up in the 2017 Women’s Asia Cup after losing to South Korea.

This time, Japan maintained its domination in the opening match by beating Singapore. They led by two goals at the half time, while Singapore failed to score. However, Japan scored four more goals in the second half, outscoring Singapore by a score of 6-0. Moreover, goals from Yu Assai (14′, 55’), Shihori Oikawa (18′, 31’, 55’), and Amiru Shimadu (33′), helped Japan secure the win against Singapore in their campaign opener. 

Key Players

Vandana Katariya (India)

Vandana Katariya
Katariya will be a key component of the Indian team against Japan (Courtesy: Hockey India)

India’s opening match against Malaysia at the Women’s Hockey Asia Cup 2022 saw Vandana Katariya earn her 250th international cap. Since her Senior India debut in 2009 at the age of 17, the 29-year-old forward has been a vital component of the Indian side. 

Vandana is an experienced attacking threat for the Indian team and has also been a part of numerous notable victories. Hence, Japan must be vigilant, as she continues to give her all and contribute to India’s wins.

Shihori Oikawa (Japan)

Japan is a tough adversary, thanks to the presence of Shihori Oikawa in its attack. She was the driving force behind the inaugural triumph of the Women’s Hockey Asia Cup. Shihori Oikawa is expected to be crucial if Japan is to pull off a shock and defeat India.

Shihori Oikawa was the only player to score three goals throughout the event. She started the first game against Singapore impressively with a hat-trick. Oikawa will undoubtedly be difficult to contain for any defence in the 2022 Women’s Hockey Asia Cup. 

Did you know?

  • Vandana was a crucial member of the India squad in 2013. She also helped her country to win the bronze medal in the 8th Women’s Hockey Asia Cup in Malaysia.
  • India won their second title in 2017 after defeating China in the final.
  • Japan has won the Women’s Hockey Asia Cup twice and finished as the second runner-up three times.

Squad

India

Savita Punia (GK), Rajani Etimarpu (GK), Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, Udita, Nisha, Sushila Chanu, Monika, Neha, Salima Tete, Jyoti, Navjot Kaur, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Vandana Katariya, Mariana Kujur, Sharmila Devi.

Japan

Erika Nakamura (GK), Akio Tanaka (GK), Shihoro Oikawa, Kimika Hoshi, Miki Kozuka, Yuu Asai, Kana Urata, Natsuha Matsumoto, Miyu Suzuki, Hazuki Nagai, Moeka Tsubouchi, Maho Sengawa, Sakurako Omoto, Amiru Shimada, Mai Toriyama, Yuri Nagai, Kaho Tanaka, Kanon Mori. 

Broadcast

The Women’s Asia Cup 2022 will be live-streamed on the watch.hockey website and also on the Watch Hockey app.

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