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Hockey: India stun Germany to reach Junior World Cup quarter-final

India celebrate their win over Germany at the Junior World Cup Hockey India

The Indian women's hockey team stunned Germany 2-1 to seal their quarterfinal berth with a second straight win at the FIH Junior World Cup in Potchefstroom on Sunday.

India, who beat Wales 5-1 in its opening Pool D match on Saturday, scored through two penalty corner conversions by Lalremsiami (2nd minute) and Mumtaz Khan (25th). Germany's lone goal was scored by Jule Bleuel in the 57th minute.

The Indians are currently atop Pool D with two wins from as many games ahead of second-placed Germany. Two teams each from pools will qualify for the knock-out rounds. India will play their last pool game against Malaysia on April 5 before the quarterfinal round which starts on April 8.

India took the lead as early as the second minute when Lalremsiami scored from a rebound after Deepika's dragflick from a penalty corner was saved by German goalkeeper Mali Wichmann. Germany then earned a handful of penalty corners by putting relentless pressure on the Indian defence, which stood firm.

India goalkeeper Bichu Devi Karibam had an excellent match as she not only denied the Germans from penalty corners on number of occasions but also pulled off a brilliant save to keep out a penalty stroke by Jette Fleschutz in the second quarter. The Indians mostly relied on counter attacks and from one such move secured back-to-back penalty corners, the second of which was deflected in by Mumtaz in the 25th minute.

The Germans were the attacking side for major part of the first half but were wasteful in converting penalty corners as they squandered as many as six set pieces. The Indians, on other hand, scored from two of the three penalty corners they managed in the first two quarters.

Down by two goals, the Germans continued to attack after the change of ends but as has been the case they failed to find the back of the Indian net despite creating numerous chances. The Indians also upped their game a bit in the fourth and final quarter, making inroads into the German circle on quite a few occasions but to no avail.

Germany livened up the game three minutes from the final hooter through a reverse hit field goal by Bleuel. But the Indian defence did enough in the remaining minutes of the game to pocket full points from the game.

The quadrennial tournament, which was originally scheduled for last December, was postponed due to the threat posed by the omicron variant of COVID-19 in South Africa. India, who have appeared in four editions of the junior global event, claimed their best finish in 2013 with a bronze. The team did not qualify for the previous edition.