With eyes firmly set on a podium finish, Indian women's hockey team would look to make a positive start against a lowly Canada in its opening pool match of the Commonwealth Games, in Glasgow on Wednesday.
Going by their present form, the Indian eves have a fair chance of progressing to the semifinals of the quadrennial event as apart from Canada they are placed alongside 2010 Delhi Games silver medallist New Zealand, Trinidad and Tobago and South Africa in Pool A.
Apart from New Zealand, who are ranked fourth in the world, South Africa (11th) is the other higher placed team in India's (13th) pool, but the gap between the Indians and the South Africans are minimal.
A winning start against Canada will act as a confidence booster for the Indian eves as they take on New Zealand in their next match on July 27, followed by games against Trinidad and Tobago (July 28) and South Africa (July 30).
Against the 22nd ranked Canada tomorrow, the Indians will definitely start as overwhelming favourites as in their last clash in 2012, it was the latter who came out victorious with 4-0 margin. Going by past records, the Indian girls enjoy a clear edge over Canada, having won both their duels in the history of CWG Games - in 2002 and 2010.
Coming into the Glasgow Games, the Indian eves could not have asked for a better preparation as they routed Malaysia 6-0 in an away Test series recently to gain confidence. With a well-balanced unit at his disposal, Indian women team's chief coach Neil Hawgood is confident that his young team will deliver their best result in the Games.
He, however, warned his wards against complacency against a young Canadian outfit who are desperate to prove a point at the world stage. "While the team is young but the kind of play they showed in the recent Malaysian Tour gives me reasons to be proud of them and confidence that we will deliver our best performance here," Hawgood said.