Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: At the end it was a heart break as India crashed out of contention going down 0-1 to hosts Spain in their must-win crossover match at the Hockey Women’s World Cup at Terrassa on Sunday.
India conceded a crucial goal three minutes before the final whistle and that put paid to their hopes of making it to the quarter finals.
Marta Segu (57′) who scored the lone goal of the match for Spain which took them into the last eight stage.
In the quarter finals Spain will face mighty Australia, while in other matches for semi final slots it will be New Zealand vs Germany, Netherlands vs Belgium and Argentina vs England.
India will now play Canada for the 9-12 placing match
With a place in the Quarterfinals at stake, both teams got off to a tentative start. and took time to settle down .
India earned the first PC in the eighth minute through Neha, who skillfully tackled the Spanish defender inside the circle.
India, failed to convert the penalty corner as with the hosts defended very well. They further built on a speedy counter attack creating a brilliant shot on goal but Beatriz Perez was slightly off target.
The following minutes saw Spain being awarded back-to-back PC but they could not beat India’s PC defence.
In the second quarter both teams traded PCs but the respective goalkeepers were on top of their game. Savita made three brilliant saves off a PC which Spain won early in the second quarter. Even though their attackers picked up the rebound and took fierce shots on goal, Savita stood like a wall to maintain a clean slate for India.
The Spanish goalie Melanie Garcia also defended well when India won two PCs in this quarter. While Monika’s attempt was well-defended by their rushers, Gurjit Kaur’s dragflick which was on target was brilliantly padded away by Garcia.
The match continued to remain tense in the third quarter. While India showed the right intent, and dominated the ball possession, they were simply not able to break the deadlock. Spain, meanwhile came up with some good circle penetrations but their strikers were not on target.
The final quarter was action-packed with Spain getting off the mark with a good attack but Savita yet again defended well.
Indian forward line, worked a stupendous attack with Salima and Lalremsiami in the circle but missed the target by a whisker. With about seven minutes of play remaining, Spain Skipper Oliva Georgina led her team’s attack, taking some potential shots on goal but was not successful in beating rival defenders.
Just when it looked like the match would go into the shootout, Spain found a breakthrough in the 57th minute. It was Clara Ycart who drove into India’s circle and took a shot on goal, but Savita blocked it away. However, Marta Segu was perfectly positioned in front of the goal-mouth to pick up the rebound and put it into the goal (1-0).