All the news, results and features from India's campaign at the 2018 Women's Hockey World Cup in England.
India's World Cup run ends in shootout loss to Ireland
India's run to the quarterfinals of the World Cup ended in the lottery of a shootout, as Ireland beat them 3-1 in London on Thursday despite a brave attempt from Savita Punia in goal. After the match ended goalless in the regulation 60 minutes, India were foiled by a consistent performance in goal by Ayeisha McFerran in the shootout, denying Rani Rampal, Monika Malik and Navjot Kaur. Reena Khokar was the only Indian player to score in the shootout, while Savita effected two outstanding saves against Nicola Daly and Anna O'Flanagan off Ireland's first two attempts.
This was India's first entry into the knockout stage of the World Cup since the opening edition in 1974, while 16th-ranked Ireland have themselves gone through to a first semi-final against surprise semi-finalists Spain.
India beat Italy 3-0 to enter last eight
India produced their best performance of the women's World Cup in London on Tuesday, beating Italy 3-0 in their crossover match to book a place in the quarter-finals, where they will face Ireland on Thursday. This is the first time since 1978 that India are assured of a top-eight finish in the World Cup.
Lalremsiami put India ahead in the ninth minute against a lesser experienced Italian side, as India took advantage of some slack defending off a long corner to channel the ball through Navjot Kaur and Lilima Minz to Siami, who used the reverse stick to tuck the ball in at the near post of goalkeeper Martina Chirico.
India had a few more opportunities to increase their lead inside the first half, but only got their second in the third quarter - thanks to some quality work from captain Rani Rampal, who first trapped and spun inside the Italy circle to find a defender's foot to earn a penalty corner (PC). Neha Goyal took advantage of a goalmouth melee from the PC to poke the ball in for India's second goal.
India's third goal came off their seventh and final PC early in the fourth quarter. The ball was pushed through to Gurjit Kaur, who took a vicious drag flick, but angled it towards her left, from where Vandana Katariya read the line of the ball perfectly to lift it with a diagonal deflection into the roof of the net.
Rani Rampal earns crucial draw for India
Rani Rampal's goal in the third quarter helped India earn a valuable draw against the U.S. and keep their World Cup campaign alive in London on Sunday. India will face Italy in a playoff on Tuesday for a place in the quarterfinals.
Margaux Paolino put the U.S. ahead in the 11th minute even though India started as the dominant team. Rani then put India level in the third quarter through a brilliant finish off a penalty corner.
Toothless India suffer tame loss against Ireland
A goal conceded from the first penalty corner (PC) they faced ended up costing India the match, as Ireland rode on an Anna O'Flanagan deflection in the 12th minute to beat the 10th-ranked Indians 1-0 on Thursday. Ireland, at 16 the second-lowest ranked team in the 16-nation competition, are now assured of topping Pool B, while India must avoid defeat in their last pool game against U.S. on Sunday to assure themselves of a playoff to progress to the quarterfinals.
India began the brighter of the two teams, with strikers Lalremsiami, Udita and Navneet Kaur working well in tandem with captain Rani Rampal to press the Irish defenders deep in their own half, winning the first PC of the match in the fourth minute. However, Irish goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerrin was in top form, as India failed to convert from any of their seven PCs in the match. They tried variations, especially after Ireland started closing down drag-flick expert Gurjit Kaur by running straight at her forehand side, but the Irish defence did a good job of denying Rani and Deep Grace Ekka from those chances as well.
Ireland only won three PCs, all of them in the first half, and were clinical with the first itself. The goal was a result of a sharp deflection by O'Flanagan, running across the face of the Indian defence, thus blocking goalkeeper Savita Punia's vision completely. In the closing stages of the match, Savita was taken off and Grace put as kicking full-back, and India had their best chance to score in the 56th minute, with Rani able to latch on to a loose ball and run at the Irish goal through the right. With an unmarked Vandana Katariya to pass to as an option, she opted to go for goal, and was denied by McFerrin, who was simply too good for the Indian attack on the day.
Savita's saves, Neha's opportunism help India hold England
India's goalkeeper Savita Punia produced a series of stunning saves as India earned a hard-earned 1-1 draw against hosts England in their World Cup opener in London on Saturday. Neha Goyal scored India's only goal, while Lily Owsley scored a late equaliser for England.
India have now played England -- a majority of whose players were part of the Great Britain team that won the Olympic gold in 2016 -- three times this year and lost just one of those matches, winning one and drawing one.
England began the brighter of the two teams, effecting five penalty corner (PC) opportunities inside the first 22 minutes, but Savita was on top of her game, saving the fifth with a low dive when England tried a deflection through the left. In the 25th minute, India scored through Neha, as England paid the price for leaving her unmarked as Navjot Kaur played the ball into the area just ahead of goalkeeper Maddie Hinch.
The second half was almost all about England's attacking play, with their captain Alex Danson stepping up to take on the Indian defenders regularly. The likes of Lilima Minz, Sunita Lakra, Deepika Thakur and Deep Grace Ekka all chipped in with big contributions, while Savita denied Danson with a double save when she made her way through the defence to get one-on-one with the Indian goalkeeper.
India could actually have killed the contest off late in the fourth quarter, with a rare Indian counter producing a pass from the right for Lalremsiami who dived for the ball and got to it but failed to direct it over Hinch into goal. Hinch was immediately pulled off, with Giselle Ansley taking over as the kicking full-back, and in the 54th minute England won their ninth PC, and while India were able to deny the opposition off the first shot, a scuffed clearance allowed Owsley to deflect the ball into the net.