Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: India’s hopes of regaining the bronze went up in smoke as they lost to England 0-3 in penalty shootout after the third place match ended in 2-2 draw at the FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup at Potchefstroom (South Africa),on Tuesday.
In the process England took revenge of their loss to India at the same stage in the 2013 edition.
In the 2013 Junior World Cup in Monchengladbach in Germany, India had secured its maiden bronze medal by defeating England in the shoot-out.
England held their nerves to snatch a victory and the Bronze medal though the Salima Tete-led team showed grit and determination in the regulation time which ended in 2-2 but they failed to sustain the pressure of a shootout, as Katie Curtis, Claudia Swain and Maddie Axword scored for England in the shootout while their goalkeeper Evie Wood was brilliant in her efforts to stop the Indian attackers Olympian Sharmila Devi, skipper Salima Tete and Sangita Kumari from scoring a single goal.
Earlier in the match, England took the lead when Millie Giglio scored an unconventional goal in the 18th minute, tapping the ball that didn’t quite connect too well. It was an assist from Emily Guckian which Millie picked up to push it past India’s Bichu Devi, who has been a strong pillar at India’s post through a tournament.
The lead lasted barely few minutes as India drew parity back when Akshata Dekhale created an opening for Mumtaz Khan who pumped the ball into the post with great aplomb levelling the score 1-1 at 21st minute.
The goal lifted the spirit of the Indian outfit who pushed England with solid attack
The third quarter turned out to be a drab affair as teams dished out listless and cagey hockey for the most part of the next 15 minutes.
11 minutes into the fourth quarter, England won a penalty corner but Bichu Devi made an excellent save.
The Indians continued to dominate in the final quarter, earning a couple of penalty corners but they failed in final execution.
India made it 2-1 in the 47th minute, again through Mumtaz, who coolly lifted over the English goalkeeper following a goal-mouth melee.
Trailing by a goal, a desperate England pulled off their goalkeeper for an extra player six minutes from the final hooter, and mounted numerous raids on the Indian citadel, which resulted in two penalty corners but the Indian defence stood firm till then.
But two minutes from full time, the Indian defence finally wilted under pressure when Swain scored the equaliser with a slap shot past Bichu Devi after receiving a pass from the right flank.