Incheon, Sep 20: Bruised and battered by South Korea in their last match, Indian women’s football team will have to regroup themselves quickly before they take on higher-ranked Thailand in their crucial final Group A encounter of the 17th Asian Games, here tomorrow. After thrashing minnows Maldives 15-0, Indian eves were taught a footballing lesson by title favourites South Korea as they lost 0-10 to the hosts in their next game.
But despite the big loss, India have qualified for the quarter-final of the 11-team competition. As per the rule of the competition, top two teams from each of the three groups plus the two best third-placed sides will advance to the quarter-finals.
But it won’t be an easy outing against the Thai girls tomorrow as they are ranked 29th in the world and sixth in Asia as against India’s 50th position in FIFA rankings and 11th in Asia.
Thailand would definitely start as favourites tomorrow against a demoralised Indian outfit, who would be missing their skipper Bembem Devi after she picked two yellow cards against South Korea. India’s coach Tarun Roy too admitted that the defeat against South Korea was demoralising and his defensive tactics came a cropper.
“We were blown up by our own bomb. It was 5-4-1 system, the girls were new to it, and it was done keeping in mind Korea’s all out attacking style. I wanted our team to break on the counter. But the house came down within 10 minutes. Maldives were accommodating, and I admit it was an easier outing. But nevertheless scoring 15 goals is not a matter of joke and does not happen every day. Taking it up from there, the manner of defeat (against Korea) was all the more disappointing,” Roy said ahead of tomorrow’s all-important clash.
“They (the girls) know they have been dismal. We failed to stitch a concrete move. But that is life and you have to keep the past behind,” Roy added.
With the 5-4-1 strategy failing big time, India are expected to go back to their tried and tested 4-2-3-1 system against Thailand with Ashalata Devi filling up the place of suspended Bembem’s place in the midfield and Radharani Devi partnering Romi Devi in central defence. Just like India, Thailand too have three points like from two games — 10-0 win over Maldives and 0-5 defeat at the hands of group leaders South Korea.
“This will be a make or break game for us,” said India coach Roy.
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