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Hockey World Cup: Navneet scores brace as India end campaign with win over Japan

Navneet Kaur celebrates after scoring against Japan. WORLDSPORTPICS COPYRIGHT RODRIGO JARAMILLO

Navneet Kaur scored a brace as the Indian women's hockey team ended their World Cup campaign with a 3-1 victory victory over Japan at Estadi Olímpic de Terrassa, Spain on Wednesday. They finished joint ninth in the tournament, alongside China.

Navneet (30th, 45th minutes) scored two field goals, while Deep Grace Ekka (38th) converted from a penalty corner in the 9-12th classification match. Japan's lone goal came from the sticks of Yu Asai in the 20th minute.

It was close contest in the first five minutes of the opening quarter, but both the teams failed to score goals. Soon India got a massive chance to take the lead but Vandana Katariya's effort from close range was saved by Japan goalkeeper Eika Nakamura.

India made a good start in the second quarter and got a couple of chances within a span of two minutes but goals eluded the Savita-led side.

Japan took the lead in the 20th minute through Yu Asai who converted a penalty corner.

India soon earned their first penalty corner but wasted the opportunity. They lifted their game in the final minutes of the second quarter with relentless attacks but Japan defended well.

India drew parity at the stroke of the half time when Navneet found the board from a field effort. India started the second half on the front foot and earned their sixth penalty corner of the match but, as has been the case the entire tournament, they failed to take their chances.

However, India won another penalty corner and this time Ekka scored to hand her side the lead eight minutes into the second half. They mounted attack after attack and on one occasion Vandana came close but her effort was saved by the Japanese goalkeeper.

The play was mostly surrounded inside the Japanese half after the change of ends as India attacked in numbers relentlessly. They came close to taking a two-goal lead in the third quarter but Sharmila Devi's goal was disallowed as the ball hit her body.

The third quarter completely belonged to India as they raised their game to trouble the Japanese defence which resulted in Navneet's second goal towards the end. They continued in the same vein in the fourth and final quarter with Vandana being denied again by the Japanese goalkeeper.