London, July 29: Under pressure Indian women's hockey team produced a spirited performance to come back from a goal down and hold higher-ranked USA to a 1-1 draw in their last Pool B match and progress to the knock-out stages of the World Cup here on Sunday (July 29).
The draw enabled India too keep their campaign afloat in the tournament and progress to the cross-overs while the Americans crashed out of the event. As per the rules of the tournament, the top teams from the four pools progress directly to the quarterfinals while the second and third placed teams will feature in the cross overs to decide the remaining four spots of the last eight round.
FT| The Indian Eves draw to fight another day as this 1-1 result against @USAFieldHockey seals their spot in the cross-over stage of the Vitality Hockey Women's World Cup London 2018 on 29th July 2018.#IndiaKaGame #INDvUSA #HWC2018 pic.twitter.com/kb3oemMwO8— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) July 29, 2018
Margaux Paolino (11th minute) broke the deadlock for World No 7 USA before skipper Rani Rampal equalised for 10th-ranked India in the 31st minute.
The Indians started brightly with good forays into the US citadel but the forwards failed to breach the rival defence. India secured their first penalty corner in the seventh minute but the Americans defended well.
And the Captain @imranirampal's brilliant knock from PC level things up for the Indian Eves in this thrilling #INDvUSA encounter.— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) July 29, 2018
ALBUM: https://t.co/lXXOkobHJW#IndiaKaGame #HWC2018 pic.twitter.com/M8htd0eSe3
As time passed by the Americans grew in confidence and started to attack the Indian goal quite frequently. From one such occasion, Margaux Paolino scored from a rebound in the 11th minute after her initial try was kicked away by Indian goalkeeper Savita.
Stung by the goal, the Indians continued to press forward and secured two penalty corners in the final minutes of the first quarter but dragflicker Gurjit Kaur failed on both occasion as USA ended the first quarter with a slender lead.
USA secured their first penalty corner three minutes into the second quarter but the Indians stood tall to thwart any danger. A minute later India got another penalty corner but this time skipper Rani Rampal's slap shot was well saved by American custodian Jackie Briggs.
The Americans then pressed hard and secured two more penalty corners in the second quarter but Indian goalie Savita was upto the mark. Trailing by a goal, the Indians came out all guns blazing after the change of ends and drew level a minute into the third quarter through a penalty corner conversion by skipper Rani Rampal.
Rejoice! India draws 1-1 with the USA, enters the playoff round. But without improvement in penalty corner conversion, the route to further progress looks pretty tough #INDvUSA— avijit ghosh (@cinemawaleghosh) July 29, 2018
The Indians showed great energy and attacked the American goal in numbers. In the process they earned their sixth penalty corner in the 47th minute but this time Gurjit's powerful grounded flick was brilliantly saved by Briggs. The Indians, thereafter, defended brilliantly to deny USA any breakthrough to secure the hard-earned win and prolong their stay in the tournament.
Rani Rampal was brilliant today and so was our team, We are through to Knockout #INDvUSA— Bilal 🇮🇳 (@Ahmadbilal111) July 29, 2018