Losing their first encounter against Brazil may have look disappointing on a rough glance at the 6-1 score, but the Indian women had put their grit and skills on display against a side who are sixth on the FIFA women’s rankings and coach did not dispute that.
“Definitely, we have a good feeling from the Brazil game, and we will take that forward into the game against Chile. The result will not affect the girls, because they played quite well against one of the best teams in the world,” Dennerby was quoted as saying by AIFF.
The first half especially saw one of the best performance by the Indians against some of the best players in the world of women’s football. After a lapse of concentration and kick-off nerves, they had conceded the first goal at the Arena da Amazonia. But the team came back strongly in all departments and soon after created history through winger Manisha Kalyan, who slotted in a perfect finish into the Brazilian net.
“The girls kept fighting until the very end, and have shown a good fighting spirit. We also created a lot of good chances against them, and maybe we should have scored two goals in the first half, if we had been a bit lucky. Maybe, if we had gone ahead 2-1 at that point, Brazil would have been under more pressure, and things may have been a bit different,” Dennerby added.
But Chile would not give the girls a breather. They will have the likes of Villareal’s Francisca Lara in midfield as well as Maria Jose Rojas in their attack.
Aditi Chauhan, who made some good saves towards the end of the first match, will need to be more cautious with her hold on the ball. Skipper Ashalata, who had the assistance of Sanju Pradhan and Pyari Xaxa in her backline, is bound to have a busy day and needs to be more consistent and forceful in defence.
“We conceded so many goals, not because we were bad defensively, but more because we had a few weak clearances. If we can improve on that, I think we will stand a better chance in the future,” said the Swedish coach.
With a list of strikers from the three-month camp in Jamshedpur at his disposal, Dennerby will hope for more Manisha-like wonder moments to inspire the team ahead of next year’s AFC Women’s Asian Cup in the offing.