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Indian women's hockey team

Asian Games 2018: Indian women's hockey team thrashes Indonesia 8-0 in opener
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Asian Games 2018: Indian women’s hockey team thrashes Indonesia 8-0 in opener

Jakarta, Aug 19: Drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur scored a hat-trick as the Indian women’s hockey team thrashed lowly Indonesia 8-0 to begin its Asian Games campaign on a rousing note here today.

The Indian side, ranked highest in the competition at ninth, completely dominated the Pool B match against the home team who does not even feature in the FIH rankings chart.

Gurjit found the target in the 16th, 22nd and 57th minutes while Vandana Katariya (13th and 27th) struck twice. Udita (6th), Lalremsiami (24th) and Navneet Kaur (50th) were the other Indian scorers.

India had as many as 31 shots at Indonesian goal while the hosts did not have any in the whole 60 minutes of four equal quarters.

The Indians got as many as 19 penalty corners but could convert only three, all through Gurjit.

The Indians were on an attacking mode from the start and got a penalty corner in the fifth minute but it was wasted.

The next minute, India took the lead with Udita scoring a fine field goal as she lobbed the ball into the net from close range off a rebound from Namita Toppo’s shot.

In the 13th minute, Vandana made it 2-0 for India with a superb goal after a slick interchange of passes.

Just a minute into the second quarter, India took 3-0 lead with Gurjit finding the target with her drag-flick off a penalty corner. Four minutes later, Gurjit’s another penalty corner was stopped by the Indonesian goalkeeper.

But in the 22nd minute, Gurjit’s lethal drag-flick could not be denied as it sounded the boards to make it 4-0 for India.

The goal spree continued with Lalremsiami making it 5-0 two minutes later and in the 27th minute, India were 6-0 up as Vandana scored her second goal of the match through a penalty corner variation.

The Indians led 6-0 at half time but they could score only two goals in the last two quarters.

In the 42nd minute, an Indian attempt from a penalty corner was saved by the Indonesian goalkeeper who stretched herself to stop two rebounds that resulted from the shot.

From another penalty corner in the 49th minute, the ball was cleared from the goal-line by the Indonesian goalkeeper.

The Indians scored in the 50th minute with Navneet tapping in the ball from close range. Three minutes from the final hooter, Gurjit completed his hat-trick with a powerful flighted shot from a penalty corner which gave the Indonesian goalkeeper no chance.

India, who won a bronze in the 2014 Asian Games, will take on Kazakhstan in their next match.

Revenge, semis spot on India's mind in quarterfinal clash against Ireland in WC

Revenge, semis spot on India’s mind in quarterfinal clash against Ireland in WC

London, Aug 1: Their erratic campaign back on track, the Indian women’s hockey team would now be aiming to secure its first World Cup semifinal spot in 44 years by extracting revenge from giant-killers Ireland in the last-eight stage here tomorrow.

India registered their first win of the tournament by sailing past Italy in a quarterfinal play-off last night and if If they manage to beat Ireland, it would ensure them only their second appearance in the World Cup last-four.

The only time India had managed to enter the semi-finals of the show-piece event was back in 1974 in Mandelieu, France where they eventually finished fourth.

In the last edition of the tournament in Rosario, Argentina India had finished a disappointing eighth.

Having come second best in their last two meetings, it would be quite a task for the Indians to beat Ireland. The Irish have been in ominous form having topped Pool B ahead of higher-ranked USA and India.

World No.16 Ireland have already scripted history of sorts by outclassing USA 3-1 and India 1-0 before slumping to a 0-1 defeat against hosts England. But they still managed to secure their maiden World Cup quarterfinal berth.

India, on the other hand, had to slog it out to make it to the quarterfinals, having drawn 1-1 against England and USA respectively and losing 0-1 to Ireland.

The Indians would take heart from the 3-0 win over lower-ranked Italy in the cross-over match.

The Rani Rampal-led side re-discovered its scoring prowess to finally end Italy’s World Cup adventure through a field strike from Lalremsiami (20th minute) and two penalty corner goals from Neha Goyal (45th) and Vandana Katariya (55th) to register an emphatic win.

The Indians were brilliant with their first touch control and finishing last night and come tomorrow the side would look for an encore to outwit the gutsy Irish.

But it won’t be easy as it is the same Irish side which beat them in the last two meetings — 2-1 in the Hockey World League Semi-finals in Johannesburg last year and then here in the pool stages.

The Irish would definitely come out as a confident unit but India would be banking on their new-found confidence.

The Indian defence led by talismanic Savita under the bar has produced a stellar performance throughout the tournament.

It was the forward-line which was lacking the sting but last night’s performance would do a world of good for the strikers’ confidence.

Skipper Rani feels India have gained confidence as the tournament has progressed and they would look to carry that forward going into the business-end of the event.

“Early in the tournament we didn’t do the one thing we needed to do score goals. But we have found the net now and we can definitely push on with our journey. We do not see that journey ending tomorrow,” she said.

It promises to be an exciting encounter as Ireland have already proved that they are no pushovers and the outcome of the match will eventually depend on controlling the nerves at crucial stages.

Meanwhile, in the other quarterfinal of the day, the mighty Netherlands will take on hosts England.

India ease past Italy 3-0 to set up quarterfinal date with Ireland in women's hockey WC

India ease past Italy 3-0 to set up quarterfinal date with Ireland in women’s hockey WC

London, Aug 1: Indian women’s hockey team produced a stellar performance to ease past lower-ranked Italy 3-0 in the cross-over match and progress to the quarterfinals of the World Cup here.

India discovered scoring ways to finally end Italy’s World Cup adventure through a field strike from Lalremsiami (20th minute) and two penalty corner goals from Neha Goyal (45th) and Vandana Katariya (55th) to register the emphatic win.

The difference between world ranked 10th India and 17th ranked Italy was the first touch control and the ability to finish an attacking move successfully.

India won the first penalty corner of the game and although it was charged down by Ivanna Pessina, the subsequent ball in from India proved too clever for the Azzurre to deal with.

Lalremsiami was on hand to lift the ball past Martina Chirico in the Italian goal after the ball was quickly switched across the circle by Vandana.

The lead was nearly extended at the start of the second quarter as Lalremsiami was found in plenty of space but was unable to control the ball well enough to beat the rapidly advancing Italian goalie Chircio.

The second half saw Italy come out hard and play more attacking hockey.

Jasbeer Singh and Lara Oviedo were both instrumental in creating chances, although when they managed to get the ball to the high-playing Valentina Braconi, she was dealt with by the impressive Lilima Minz in Indian defence.

Indians were unfortunate not to extend their lead when a quick counter attack saw the ball skim past Chirico’s goal following Deepika’s shot.

Still India piled on the pressure and good work by Monika down the Indian right-hand side was rewarded by a penalty corner in the final minute of the third quarter, which was converted by Neha Goyal after a goal mouth scramble to double India’s lead.

India had a bright chance to make it three as Navjot Kaur was left with just Chirico to beat but the Italian keeper showed her class as she stood up to the shot.

The game was finally put beyond Italy’s reach when Vandana was rewarded with a goal in the 55th minute.

The result means India will now face Ireland in the quarterfinal tomorrow, an encounter that Indian skipper Rani is anticipating with relish.

“We have gained confidence throughout this tournament,” she said.

“Early in the tournament we didn’t do the one thing we needed to do score goals. But we have found the net now and we can definitely push on with our journey. We do not see that journey ending tomorrow,” Rani added.

Tomorrow’s match will also give the Indians a chance to avenge upon their 0-1 loss to Ireland in the pool stages.

Meanwhile in the second crossover match of the day, hosts England beat Korea 2-0 to set up a quarterfinal date with mighty Netherlands.

Pumped up India face Italy in women's hockey WC knock-outs

Pumped up India face Italy in women’s hockey WC knock-outs

London, Jul 30: Bolstered by the campaign-saving draw against a mighty USA, the Indian women’s hockey team will fancy its chances against lower-ranked Italy in the cross-over World Cup match, here tomorrow.

Ranked 10th, India will start as overwhelming favourites against 17th ranked Italy in the crucial knock-out match, where a win will pit them against Ireland in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

While India had to fight their way into the knock-out round from Pool B after registering two draws against England and USA and a loss to Ireland, Italy easily scrapped past China (3-0) and Korea (1-0) before slumping to a heavy 1-12 loss to Netherlands in their last match to finish second in Pool A.

But going into tomorrow’ game the momentum surely would be on India’s side and it would also be difficult for Italy to bounce back from the morale-shattering loss against the Dutch.

Under pressure, the Indians, on the other hand, produced a spirited performance against USA to come out of a difficult situation and salvage their World Cup campaign.

Having conceded a goal in the 11th minute against USA, India’s backs were against the wall and it took a valiant all-round effort and an inspiring goal from skipper Rani Rampal in the 31st minute to secure the all-important draw, a result which shut the doors on the Americans.

The match would come as an added motivation for the Indians as a win tomorrow would provide them an opportunity to avenge their 0-1 loss to Ireland in the pool stages.

Experienced India captain Rani knows what it takes to win such crucial matches and said they need to go full throttle.

“We need to just focus on ourselves, build on our strength and ensure we use our positive points in the match against Italy. There is no doubt we need to go all-out in this crucial crossover match if we want to see ourselves in the quarter-final,” said Rani whose goal against USA enables India to finish third in Pool B.

Rani emphasised on the need to have a winning mentality to do well in big tournaments.

“We all knew a draw would be enough, but we wanted to go for the win. I think the hunger to win attitude helped us. We enter a match with the attitude that if we play a good match then the crowds will support us and that we must fight for the ball. I am proud of how the team played against USA and now we need to once again do everything we can to win against Italy,” she said.

Notwithstanding Italy’s 12-1 drubbing against Netherlands in their last match, the Indian skipper warned her side against complacency, saying the Italians are a serious contender.

The Indians would also draw inspiration from their shoot-out victory against the Italians at the 2015 Hockey World League Semi-final.

“Italy is a good team and they have enjoyed good wins in this tournament too. But we need to go into the match with the self-belief that we can beat them,” Rani said.

Women's WC Hockey: Sloppy India face US test in ' do-or-die' game

Women’s WC Hockey: Sloppy India face US test in ‘ do-or-die’ game

London, Jul 28: Stung by a lower-ranked Ireland, Indian women’s hockey team will need at least a draw against USA in tomorrow’s pool B match to keep their hopes of reaching the knockout stage of the World Cup alive.

After settling for a draw against world no 2 England in the opening match despite grabbing an early lead, Rani Rampal-led India suffered a disappointing 0-1 loss to Ireland in their second round robin match to squander the chance of making a direct entry to the quarterfinals.

Only the top teams from the four pools directly qualify for the quarterfinals, while the remaining four slots would be filled from the cross-over stage.

The sides finishing second and third in their respective pools would clash with each other in the cross-over stage with the four group toppers making it to the quarterfinals.

With one draw (1-1 against England), one loss (0-1) against Ireland, India are placed third in the Pool B points table.

USA too have drawn once against England and lost 1-3 to Ireland. Though both the teams have one point each, India is ahead due to goal difference.

To remain in contention for a quarterfinal berth, India need a win or a draw from Sunday’s game.

“It is a must-win match for us on Sunday and there is no doubt that, chief coach Sjoerd Marijne said.

India didn’t get any penalty corners against England but seven opportunities came their way against Ireland but the team could not convert the goal-scoring chances.

However, Rani and Co cannot repeat the same mistake in the high-stake game tomorrow.

“The team’s structure and planning is good which enabled us to create chances in the striking circle but not being able to convert these chances into goals cost us the match,” Marijne said.

“We made 27 circle entries against Ireland while it was only 10 against England. Though playing against these two teams is very different from each other, it is frustrating that we could not convert a single goal from these chances (15 shots on goal) against Ireland.

“But at the same time I take this as a positive that we have the ability to puncture any team’s defence and create potential opportunities. When we play USA, the emphasis would certainly be on scoring from these opportunities created. We have to execute better and the girls are working for that,” he added.

While the forward-line and mid-field lacked energy and pace, India’s defence has held strong. While Ireland made just 10 circle entries, England made 34.

“Our defence will be one of our advantages against USA. The loss against Ireland has not affected the confidence of the team because we know that if we have created enough chances against Ireland while our defence has held strong, we can do the same against USA too,” Marijne said.

India play Ireland in pursuit of first win in women's hockey WC

India play Ireland in pursuit of first win in women’s hockey WC

London, Jul 25: A golden opportunity to claim an upset win lost, the Indian women’s hockey team would be aiming to make amends when it takes on a lower-ranked Ireland in its second game of the World Cup, here tomorrow.

India had a bright chance to score an upset win against world no.2 England in their Pool B opener on June 21 but settled for a 1-1 draw.

The Indians only had themselves to blame as despite leading the English girls for 54 minutes, they conceded a late goal to share the points.

World n0. 10 India will fancy their chances against world no. 16 Ireland, but it would be a serious mistake by the Sjoerd Marijne-coached side if they take the Irish lightly.

By virtue of their stunning 3-1 stunning over world no. 7 USA, the lowest ranked side in the group, Ireland are currently leading Pool B just ahead of England and India.

And a win tomorrow would secure Ireland’s place in the knock-out stage of the tournament.

The Indians, on the other hand, would be desperate to score their first win in the tournament tomorrow.

But it would be easier said than done as they will be up against an Irish side which has the capability of springing surprises.

India lost 1-2 to Ireland in the HWL Semifinals in Johannesburg last year and revenge would be high on the Rani Rampal-led side’s agenda when it takes the turf tomorrow.

The Indian coaching staff and senior players like goalkeeper Savita feel that defeat was history and they have the firepower to beat Ireland.

“We have done well against Ireland in practice matches in the past,” she said.

“In the match last year, we were leading and should have won for sure but conceding two penalty corners one after another proved costly. We have a strong defence and play an attacking brand of hockey — this is a potent combination and makes us strong as a side,” she asserted.

But the Indians will have to lift their game by few notches for that to happen. Against England, they failed to earn a single penalty corner, leaving dragflicker Gurjit Kaur frustrated.

However, goalkeeper Savita was brilliant under the bar to deny England on numerous occasion.

The Indians did create more chances from open play against England and that counted as a positive for chief coach Marijne going into tomorrow’s game.

A win tomorrow will take India to the top of the pool and brighten its knock-out chances ahead of its last fixture against USA on July 29.

In the other match of the day, Spain will take on South Africa in Pool C.

Indian eves register win in fifth hockey match of Spain tour

Madrid, June 19:  The Indian womens team ended their Spain tour on a bright note as they defeated the hosts 4-1 in the fifth and final match at the Consejo Superior de Deportes Hockey Stadium here.

India, on Monday, dominated the match in terms of possession and chances created, and were efficient enough as Rani (33rd, 37th minute) scored a brace to give her team a two-goal cushion.

India’s skipper was backed by two well converted penalty corners by defender Gurjit Kaur (44′, 50′) towards the closing stages of the match. Spain’s Lola Riera (58′) scored the consolation goal for the hosts.

The visitors maintained the upper-hand in the tie from the start as they dominated possession and put the hosts under pressure in the opening few minutes.

The second minute saw Indian forward Vandana Katariya get a sight on the Spanish goal but the 26-year-old’s effort was saved by Spain’s goalkeeper Maria Ruiz.

India’s swift start saw them win two consecutive penalty corners in the first five minutes, but Ruiz was called into action again, and she was up to the task.

The second quarter saw a similar story as India maintained pressure on the hosts and did not give away possession easily.

The World No. 10 team showed quality in the midfield and had an attempt by young forward Lalremsiami saved by Maria Ruiz. Spain could not manage to get a grip on the match but did well to deny any clear goal-scoring opportunities to the visitors.

It was the third quarter which saw India utilise their possession to good effect as Rani was found in the striking circle with an accurate pass by midfielder Namita Toppo and India’s captain stroked home a delightful finish to give her team the lead in the 33rd minute.

Four minutes later, India’s ace striker Rani was again presented with an opportunity to score at the end of a team move, and the 23-year-old found the back of the net to increase India’s lead to two goals.

Gurjit Kaur also registered her name on the score-sheet as she converted a penalty corner in the 44th minute to make the score 3-0 in India’s favour.

India dominated in the last quarter as well, winning two penalty corners in the opening five minutes. The first was saved by a Spanish defender and the second was stroked into the back of the net by Gurjit Kaur as she scored her second goal of the match.

At 4-0, India looked comfortable in possession and made sure that they were not allowing the hosts to find space inside their half.

However, in the 58th minute, the World No. 11 team hit India on the counter and won themselves a penalty corner, which was converted by Lola Riera, as the match ended 4-1 in India’s favour.

Matchpreview: Women’s hockey; India begin 5-match series against Spain

Madrid, June 11: The Indian women’s hockey team will start its five-match bilateral series against Spain on Tuesday at the Consejo Superior de Deportes Hockey Stadium.

The World No. 10 team will be led by Rani Rampal, who has returned to the team after having been rested for the recently concluded 5th Women’s Asian Champions Trophy held in South Korea. The visitors have picked a full-strength squad as they look to build momentum ahead of the World Cup in London.

The Indian team had finished with a silver medal at the Asian Champions Trophy after having lost the final match to the hosts 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.

However, new chief coach Sjoerd Marijne wants his team 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 in a release.

“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 Dutch coach believes the team will face a tough test from the home team who are currently ranked number 11 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,” he said.

“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.”

Indians aim for bright start at Women’s Asian Champions Trophy

Donghae City (South Korea), May 12: Dutch coach Sjoerd Marijne will hope to start his second stint with the Indian women’s hockey team on a positive note when the defending champions open their campaign against a tough Japanese side at the 5th Women’s Asian Champions Trophy here on Sunday.

Marijne started his stint with Indian hockey when he took charge of the women’s team in 2016. He was then shifted to the men’s squad last year for a period of eight months before going back to the women’s team earlier this month.

The reason for his removal as men’s team coach was the failure to bag a medal at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games last month.

Currently placed 12th in the world rankings, Japan have proven to be given India a hard fight in the past, often challenging them with a structured defence making scoring a Herculean task.

In the 2013 Asian Champions Trophy Final, Japan had beaten India in the final to win the trophy.

In the 2016 edition where India eventually won the title for the first time, Japan had held India to a 2-2 draw and had beaten finalists China in the pool stage.

India had lost 0-2 to Japan in last year’s Hockey World League Round Three in July but avenged that loss in the Asia Cup where they defeated Japan, who were the defending champions and hosts.

“We have always had tough competition against Japan. They are a quality team and breaking their defence early in the match will be crucial for us,” India captain Sunita Lakra said.

India can take heart from their 6-0 win against Malaysia in the warm-up match on Friday. The team, according to Sunita is high on confidence after doing well against higher ranked teams at the recent XXI Commonwealth Games.

“We want to make a good start to the tournament and the team is confident of it. We no longer go into tournaments as the underdogs. We have a winning mentality now and want to take it match-by-match here. We had a good warm-up match against Malaysia. It was for three quarters and the team played to structure. We hope to carry the same consistency into our first game on Sunday,” Sunita asserted.

Indian hockey teams in finals of Youth Olympic Games Qualifiers

Bangkok, April 28:The junior Indian mens and womens hockey teams continued their fine form at the Youth Olympic Games Qualifiers as they on Saturday advanced to the finals here.

While the boys crushed Bangladesh 9-2 in their semi-final encounter, the girls came out 4-2 winners overs Malaysia 4-2 in the five-a-side contests.

The men’s semi-final saw Shivam Anand (fifth, eighth, 15th and 24th minutes) scored four goals. India’s other goal-scorers in the match included Rahul Kumar Rajbhar (22nd and 23rd), Maninder Singh (22nd), skipper Vivek Sagar Prasad (24th) and Mohammad Alishan (26th).

Bangladesh only managed to score twice, getting their goals through Sobuj Shohanur (23rd and 29th).

The women’s semif-final was a close encounter. Chetna gave India the lead in the 6th minute. Malaysia got their equaliser three minutes later through Nor Isahhidun.

However, India pulled up their socks in the second period and scored two goals through Ishika Chaudhary (14th) and Salima Tete (20th) to regain control of the match.

Another goal for India towards the start of the third period meant that the team took a 4-1 lead. The fourth goal for India was scored by Sangita Kumari in the 23rd minute and assured India of a place in the final match as Malaysia could only score once in the final seven minutes, the goal coming from Siti Hussain in the 27th minute.

The women’s team will now face a strong China team in the final on Sunday.

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